Thursday, August 19, 2010

Duke Prez: Some thoughts require more than a Tweet

Duke University President Richard Brodhead dropped by the N&O Wednesday to chat with reporters and editors about the institution and its expereience in austerity and other matters. You can read reporter Eric Ferrari's account of that session here. One thing that Brodhead talked about was the impact of technology on the student body, and he recalled that when he came to Duke in 2004, Facebook was new and the incoming freshman class was already aware of their classmates because they had gotten together via Facebook.

Someone asked whether Brodhead used Twitter to communicate with his students. Brodhead smiled and observed, "I believe some thoughts require more words" (than a Tweet -- maximum characters 140, though I have read the optimal length is 110).

He also ventured that the various social media and proliferation of information sources available on some electronic gizmos was having another effect on the college experience. "Nowaday, you have to teach people to pay attention" for longer periods of time than they're used to. That must be tough enough in a one-hour class. How about some of those once-a-week three-hour classes? If I'd had a longer attention span in my college days, I might have had more than a passing acquaintance with an A.

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