Social networks are an increasingly relevant source of information and even more so among young people. For this reason, we have promoted a project with the use of the network as a central axis, coordinated by Daniel Pérez del Prado and in which several professors of Labor Law at UC3M participate.
There are many specialized scientific blogs, nor are there few institutions, organizations, professors and specialists who have qualified profiles in social networks (two of the most active profiles of this social network are those of professors Rojo Torrecilla and Beltrán Heredia). Taking into account that these spaces usually refer to other reliable sources of information, we understand that their frequent use allows students to know data of great utility for the study of labor relations.
If we add to this that students use Twitter in a generalized way in their daily lives, our goal was that they knew its professional use, being able to discover new sources through this social network.
A subject in continuous change
The current economic situation and its effects on the labor market, together with the parliamentary processing of many far-reaching reforms in the subject matter of the subject, make the application of Twitter as a teaching tool especially propitious. In addition, the media are covering the situation very widely, which leads to an abundant flow of information.
However, as Misael Arturo López Zapico and Julio Tascón Fernández confirmed,as was the case in other teaching innovation projects in Social Sciences that used this platform, this “media repercussion is not without noise and has generated at least in Spanish society the curious feeling that any ordinary citizen is in a position to discuss risk premiums, junk bonds, rating agencies, etc., despite being totally unknown terms to him until a few months ago. Since the syllabus of the subjects of our area of knowledge for the first years of the degree ends by reviewing contemporaneity, we believe that (as economic historians) we have the obligation to make our students reflect on the parallels of this crisis with those that occurred in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries and also, above all, we must offer them tools so that they themselves are able to construct their own interpretation of what is happening.”
This same reflection can be transferred to the subject matter of this project, given that there is a great deal of information on parliamentary and extra-parliamentary debates linked to the labour market. Therefore, we consider it essential to provide students with a selected list of reliable resources that would allow them to discern between the important and the superfluous in a medium as fast and broad as Twitter.
Development of communication skills
Twitter has the advantage that it is not only a familiar medium for the student, but it is “capable of eliminating psychological barriers and generating a communicative space difficult, if not impossible, to achieve in other circumstances” (as explained by the experts López and Tascón in the work mentioned above). Another advantage of using this teaching methodology is a greater training of students in the development of communication skills.
Since this technique turns students into active participants in their own learning, it contributes to the development of other competencies. Students have developed communication skills and the ability to argue legally in a space as small as the characters that the social network Twitter establishes for a tweet. At the same time, its implementation has been useful for the efficient management of the various sources of information and familiarization with the work of other professionals in the discipline who are also active in this social network.
European Higher Education Area
It is clear that Twitter is a resource on which it is still necessary for the educational community to reflect and provide new uses and visions. However, its potential as a tool that successfully adapts to the needs of the implementation of the European Higher Education Areais evident. Especially if we contrast it with more traditional ways.
Although it is too early to assess the success of the initiative, we believe that the implementation of the project has been positive. So much so that several professors participating in it have become editors of “El Foro de Labos”, a blog that has, as it could not be otherwise, an active account on Twitter. In it we are waiting for you.
Author Bio: Patricia Nieto Rojas is Contracted Professor Doctor of Labor Law at UNED – National University of Distance Education