Collaboration and Canvas – Twitter hashtags

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Continuing with the series, Collaboration and Canvas, here we’re looking at Twitter hashtags.

To display a hashtag Twitter stream in Canvas, you’ll need to install the Twitter application into your Canvas course so that it is available in the content editing toolbar. Once that’s installed, you can add the Twitter stream to any content area: a page, an announcement, an event, an assignment, a discussion, a syllabus page…

  1. Go to the settings for your course and click the “Apps” tab
  2. Locate the Twitter app and install it
  3. Choose the content area you intend to display the Twitter stream and click “Edit”
  4. Click the “More external tools” tool, which is a downward pointing arrow, or a V, and choose Twitter
  5. Enter the hashtag you want to display, and choose the number of posts to display, click “Preview” and then click “Embed”

The Twitter stream will now be visible in your Canvas course, and will automatically display recent Twitter posts that use the hashtag. NB. There is a variable delay between the time when someone posts to Twitter and when that posts appears on the embedded stream.

What are hashtags and how might I use them?

Hashtags are keywords. By using the hash symbol before the word (#) we can create keywords in our posts that hyperlink to othe rpeople’s posts that use that same hashtag. In this way we can collaborate (cooperate) in activities such as research, commentary, discussion, image sharing, many things.

Typically we hear of public campaigns using hashtags, inviting wide participation. ABC TVs QandA was a relatively early example of a TV talk back program integrating #QandA from Twitter. More recently, RMIT executives used the #ShapeRMIT in an attempt to garnish public contribution to their strategic plans.

You can also use unique keywords if you’d prefer a more private collaboration, focused within small groups. For example, the RMIT code for a program could be used: #BP220 or a course code #COMM2653. These tags are not likely to be used by the broader public who use Twitter, so you could designate that hashtag and be reasonably sure that most people posting to it are only going to be students or people directly interested in that program or that course.

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