According to Cliff Atkinson in The Backchannel Book, a backchannel is:
“…a line of communication created by people in an audience to connect with others inside or outside the room, with or without the knowledge of the speaker at the front of the room. Usually facilitated by Internet technologies, it is spontaneous, self-directed, and limited in time to the duration of a live event.”
I’ve been exploring the use of backchannels, particularly via Twitter, in the classroom and at conferences. Below you’ll find a collection of posts and other resources on this topic.
- Encouraging a Conference Backchannel on Twitter – I wrote this February 2011 guest post for ProfHacker, summarizing steps I took at the 2010 POD Network and Lilly conferences to encourage healthy backchannel conversations. See also the “Twitter 101 for Conference Backchannels” video embedded below and these two related documents: Instructions to the Twitter Team and Twitter 101 Email to Listserv.
- Conference Backchannel Summaries – As head of Twitter teams at various conferences, I’ve posted summaries of several conference backchannels, including the 2011 CIRTL Network Forum, the 2011 POD Network / HBCUFDN joint conference, the 2010 Lilly Conference, and the 2010 POD Network conference.
- Conference Backchannel Highlights – After attending a conference, I’ll sometimes blog highlights from the conference, drawing on tweets from the backchannel to remind me of interesting examples, ideas, or questions raised during the conference. Here’s an example from the 2011 NAIRTL conference: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3.
- Building a Better Backchannel – Here’s a post from November 2011 with a suggestion for self-categorizing conference backchannels. Please let me know if you see anything like this implemented at a conference.
- A Social Network Can Be a Learning Network – This is an essay I wrote for the Chronicle of Higher Education‘s 2011 online learning issue. In the essay, I describe classroom backchannels through the lens of “social pedagogies.”
- Backchannel in Education: Nine Uses – This January 2010 post provides a draft taxonomy of ways to use backchannel in and out of the classroom.
- Monica Rankin’s Use of Twitter in the Classroom – In this June 2009 post, I describe and comment on Professor’s Rankin backchannel approach in her large history course. Here’s a video summary produced by Rankin’s graduate assistant:
- Gardner Campbell’s Use of Twitter in the Classroom – In this January 2010 post, I describe and comment on Gardner’s use of a Twitter backchannel to enhance class discussion and include someone not physically present (a librarian in this case) in that discussion.
- The Backchannel Book by Cliff Atkinson – In a series of blog posts, I applied ideas from Atkinson’s book on conference backchannels to their use in teaching: Book Review, Chapter 1, Chapter 2, Chapter 3 (the “nine uses” post mentioned above), Chapter 4.