tweet your health

Most students at community colleges have to take at least one personal health class as part of their general education requirements. These classes are a lot like health classes taught in high school, but they often cover more scientific content and focus on semester-long behavior change projects. Students are required to focus on changing specific behaviors, like quitting smoking or getting a certain amount of exercise. These are practical projects that can make a huge difference in the quality of students' lives, but because personal health is a required class and young people have a strong sense of invincibility, student engagement is a big problem for instructors.

The focus of TweetYourHealth (TYH) was making it easier for students to track their health behaviors so they could focus on behavior change. Many students were already using Twitter, and were accessing it from their cell phones, smart phones, and computers. We worked with the creator of TweetWhatYouEat and TweetWhatYouSpend to create a flexible system that would let students track their eating habits, spending habits, exercise, and other general health behaviors.

I worked with the developer and graphic design team to get the site up and running for the 2011 Fall semester. I also wrote a chapter for a publication called Teaching with Web 2.0 with sample assignments for instructors to use with their students. I think that TYH was ultimately not successful because Twitter had not yet become completely mainstream for the college audience in 2011; third-party authentication with Twitter was not yet as streamlined as it is now; and (despite my best efforts) instructors did not fully understand how to integrate the product into their existing class plans.