A Web site and application called Hotseat, which was developed at the West Lafayette, Ind., university, allows the sharing of 140-character messages in the classroom to engage students in the lecture material using technology they're fond of and familiar with.
Students can share their messages with students and the professor via a Web site, a Twitter hashtag, a Facebook application, or by a mobile Web site.
In a traditional classroom, there may be limited opportunity for students to provide immediate feedback on how they're relating to the material.
Hotseat seems to solve that problem, allowing students to become immediately involved in the discussion. They can ask questions, vote up questions they'd like to see answered, or leave replies for previously answered questions.
"It's just an easy way to answer questions in class without embarrassing yourself or raising your hand in a big lecture hall," one Purdue student said.
While not required for class, Purdue said they've seen a 73 percent adoption in the two pilot classes where it's being used.