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A professor of the School of Sciences teaches class of Microbiology through Twitter.

The Full Professor Ignacio López-Goñi decided to use this social network to test a new way of teaching science.

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Ignacio López Goñi
PHOTO: Manuel Castells

"Hidden Biodiversity: an invisible world", "Life at the edge of the impossible: extremophiles" or "The life cycle and microbes" are some of the sessions given by Ignacio López-Goñi, Full Professor of Microbiology at the School of Sciences of the University of Navarra through a new system professor: Twitter. The professor decided to use this social network to discover a different way of teaching science.

The format was simple. Classes of average hour taught from his Twitter account every Sunday at 22:00 posting 1 tweet per minute. Users, who did not need to be specialists, only had to follow the label #microMOOC and join the conversation. In addition, thanks to the tool Storify"we sorted all the tweets so that even those who did not have a Twitter account could follow the class".

This unique format allowed those interested to delve into such technical topics as the differences between prokaryotes and eukaryotes, what is an extremophile organism, bacteria, the role of microorganisms in industrial processes and biotechnology, and much more. All this as a complement to the massive online course (MOOC) "The microbes around you" that had been taught.

The result was "spectacular and highly recommended", so much so that very soon #microMOOC will return to the "virtual classrooms" to talk about pandemics and viruses. According to the microbiologist,"it has been a long time since I had such a good time talking about microbes in the networks". The idea came about when he thought about the ease with which teachers sometimes "tend to drag on" and "the challenge of summarizing class in 140 characters".

In addition, the experience has served, on the one hand, to prove the advantage of using this system to reach thousands of people at the same time and all over the world. And on the other hand, to demonstrate that social networks can also be used to teach. "There is a lot of information out there, you just have to organize it and make sense of it," added Full Professor.

 "Fantastic experience of today's first session of #microMOOC", "Already sharing science of the good #microMOOC, do not miss it, you will learn a lot","@microBIOblog remembering things already has learned and had almost forgotten!", "I'm loving the course #microMOOC" are some of the comments of the "students" who are already looking forward to the next class "social".