Giancarlo Lombardi Profile picture from his Twitter account @gianclm

While some teachers might forbid social media in their classrooms, one professor at The City University of New York (CUNY) embraces the digital tool.  Not only does Dr. Giancarlo Lombardi appreciate the use of applications like Twitter, he has made “tweeting” a mandatory activity in his Television Without Borders graduate seminar.

The seminar requires students to watch an entire season of a television drama outside of class and Tweet about the show as they watch it, at least five times a week. Dr. Lombardi is extremely pleased with the level of engagement as well as the insightful observations students are making on Twitter.

Dr. Lombardi's Twitter posts for his course

“The students are actually quite sophisticated in their analysis of these shows.  Twitter lends itself to a very economic form of writing. Every word weighs a ton because you only have so many characters to write a strong, solid, reaction piece. That’s what my students have been able to do,” said Dr. Lombardi who teaches the course at The CUNY Graduate Center.

Using the hashtag “#tvwithoutborders,” students have not only been engaging with each other, but also with the actual actors on the series. Dr. Lombardi noted that two actors were involved in a discussion on Twitter with students, “creating a much larger audience for this intellectual conversation. This also creates a strong sense of community outside of the class, which only meets once a week,” noted the professor, adding that the 20 enrolled students are tweeting well beyond the requirements of the course.

Dr. Lombardi, Executive Officer of the PhD Program in Comparative Literature at The Graduate Center and also a professor at the College of Staten Island since 1999, said this is his first time using Twitter and first time using it in the classroom.  He intends to continue using the tool in future courses as he finds it “a very productive use of social media.”

To check out the television drama online conversation go to #tvwithoutborders on Twitter.