Insights from the Field: Twitter, Instagram, Blogs and Cake


Jennifer Rafferty

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The Online Learning Consortium (OLC) is reaching out to our global community of thought leaders, faculty, innovators and practitioners to bring you insights from the field of online, blended and digital learning.  This week, I have the distinct pleasure of introducing Dr. Pilar Munday, Associate Professor of Spanish at Sacred Heart University and OLC Institute faculty for the workshop, Exploring Hashtags for Learning.  Early in my online teaching career, I discovered Pilar on Twitter while researching online foreign language instruction. Pilar shared many valuable resources and tools with me via the Twittersphere, some of which became a part of the online Spanish course I developed.   Her collaborative nature and community of followers on Twitter have inspired me to pilot new applications and strategies in my own online teaching.  Pilar is one of the top foreign language professors in the Twitter community and she is the co-developer of #InstagramELE, an award-winning Instagram project for foreign language instructors. I encourage you to join her on Twitter to be inspired as well!  In this edition of Insights from the Field, Pilar joins us to discuss how hashtags can be used to enrich course content and engage learners as well as her growing interest in the OER movement.

How do you define innovation?

Innovation means I need to be on the lookout for ideas that can improve my teaching. Ideas do not need to come from other educators necessarily. Having an open mind and open wide eyes (the ability to see that even the most common tasks can be seen in a different light at a certain moment) do help. Also, innovation thrives when we are willing to try something new and are not afraid to fail.

There are many opportunities to teach online. Why did you choose OLC and which Institute course(s) do you teach for OLC?

Two years ago I attended the OLC conference in Orlando, Florida and was very impressed with the mission of the organization and the quality of the presentations.  I will be teaching a workshop about exploring hashtags for learning. We will explore how hashtags can be used with Twitter and Instagram to increase learner engagement and gather ideas from a wider audience.

What are the 3 most important things prospective participants should know about the course you teach?

Hashtags are accessible, relevant and engaging.   Although intimidating, social media, and hashtags in particular, can be used to enrich any course content. In this workshop, we will find and create useful hashtags for different purposes. Through collaboration with other participants, we will discover multiple ways to incorporate hashtags into learning activities.

OLC’s Institute offerings help professionals stay current in their prospective fields, and often times assist in the advancement of their profession. What do you believe are the top 3 ways in which professionals in our field can stay current and move ahead?

  • Read educational blogs relevant to your discipline.
  • Connect with other educators on Twitter.
  • Participate in online chats (or just read them!) and/or go to professional conferences.

What was the last book, journal or article you read that relates to the field?   

I am very interested in the Open Educational Resource (OER) movement. Access to textbooks is becoming an important problem for our students. This article delineates clearly how creating an online textbook with your students is not only doable but desirable in many ways. Although it looks like a daunting task, I feel inspired after reading this to try to do something similar (in a much smaller scale) next semester with a Spanish Conversation Course.

How can people connect with you?  Please provide your Twitter handle, your webpage, your blog, etc.

  • Twitter:  @mundaysa
  • Blog:
  • Instagram: #instagramELE is @desafioinstagramele

About the Author

Pilar was born in Granada, Spain and came to the US to pursue a Ph.D. in Linguistics at New York University. She is an associate professor of Spanish at Sacred Heart University  in CT and has taught there for over 20 years. Pilar has always been fascinated with technology in general, and with its use in the classroom to engage students.  Pilar has taught Spanish online several times. In one of the courses, Advanced Spanish Language and Culture through Social Media, the students had the final task of creating their own personal learning networks to encourage lifelong and autonomous learning, which she believes should be the ultimate goal of any course, whether face to face or online. She is also very interested in nutrition and now enjoy making raw cakes.




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