Twitter as a Tool for Teaching and Communicating Microbiology: The #microMOOCSEM Initiative

Este es el resumen de nuestro trabajo cooperativo sobre la utilidad de Twitter en la docencia y divulgación de la Microbiología, titulado «Twitter as a Tool for Teaching and Communicating Microbiology: The #microMOOCSEM Initiative» (enlace al artículo completo). Deseo agradecer a Ignacio López-Goñi (@microBio) y al resto de los coautores (Ma José Martínez-Viñas, Josefa Antón, Víctor J. Cid, Ana Martín González, Maryury Brown-Jaque, Juan M. García-Lobo,Manuel Sánchez, Juan Ignacio Vilchez, Tatiana Robledo-Mahón, Marina Seder-Colomina, Silvana Teresa Tapia-Paniagua, Alma Hernández de Rojas,Alejandro Mira, José Jesús Gallego-Parrilla, Teresa María López Díaz, Sergi Maicas i Prieto, Eduardo Villalobo, Sabela Balboa, Jesús L. Romalde, Clara Aguilar-Pérez, Anna Tomás, María Linares, Óscar Zaragoza, Jéssica Gil-Serna, Raquel Ferrer-Espada, Ana I. Camacho, Laura Vinué, Jorge García-Lara) por haberme permitido participar en este reto docente tan interesante del Grupo Especializado de Docencia y Difusión de la Microbiología de la Sociedad Española de Microbiología (SEM).


Online social networks are increasingly used by the population on a daily basis. They are considered a powerful tool for science communication and their potential as educational tools is emerging. However, their usefulness in academic practice is still a matter of debate. Here, we present the results of our pioneering experience teaching a full Basic Microbiology course via Twitter (#microMOOCSEM), consisting of 28 lessons of 40-45 minutes duration each, at a tweet per minute rate during 10 weeks. Lessons were prepared by 30 different lecturers, covering most basic areas in Microbiology and some monographic topics of general interest (malaria, HIV, tuberculosis, etc.). Data analysis on the impact and acceptance of the course were largely affirmative, promoting a 330% enhancement in the followers and a >350-fold increase of the number of visits per month to the Twitter account of the host institution, the Spanish Society for Microbiology. Almost one third of the course followers were located overseas. Our study indicates that Massive Online Open Courses (MOOC) via Twitter are highly dynamic, interactive, and accessible to great audiences, providing a valuable tool for social learning and communicating science. This strategy attracts the interest of students towards particular topics in the field, efficiently complementing customary academic activities, especially in multidisciplinary areas like Microbiology.

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