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Lehigh U. Journalism Professor ‘Crowdsources’ His Teaching Philosophy

Jeremy Littau embraces social-networking tools like Twitter and crowdsourcing in the journalism classes he teaches at Lehigh University. So when the assistant professor began to prepare materials for his two-year professional review, he put a call out on Twitter for former students to give their take on his teaching philosophy—in 140 characters or less.

“I talk about the value of crowds, so why not tap into that?” he asks.

Mr. Littau says he was looking to see whether student perception of his teaching philosophy matched his own.

It did, for the most part, but he says he was surprised that many of the students focused on his use of innovation in the classroom.

In the classes he teaches, such as multimedia reporting, media literacy, and new media and social change, he uses tools like Twitter in his teaching—encouraging students to post questions during class via the social-networking site. But he didn’t see his use of new technology as core to his teaching philosophy. Thanks to his students, he does now.

Mr. Littau included the responses in the teaching philosophy he submitted for the review, a move that he describes as unconventional. “It’s considered a pretty personal document,” he says.

The review process is still continuing, but Mr. Littau says his quirky method has already met with approval from some of his peers. “I’ve been told by several educators that they wish they’d thought of it first,” he says.

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