Collaborative learning in Ghent


An interview with Claudio Nobili, Postdoctoral Researcher at Ghent University, where Betwyll is used for collaborative learning in Humanities.

Twitter in Humanities Teaching (THT) is an annual project applying Computer Supported Collaborative Learning to Humanities. It was introduced by Ghent University in 2017 and adjusted to the needs of the Italian Literature classes. What were the objectives of the project?

The THT project was funded by the Faculty of Arts and Philosophy of Ghent University. More precisely, it is one of the initiatives to innovate didactics encouraged by the University itself. Therefore, the main objective of the project can be summarized with the keyword “education”. Education of a foreign student of Italian in the linguistic manipulation of a literary text, adjusted to the social network Betwyll. In conclusion, linguistic, literary and digital education are inextricably intertwined.

Lussu, Ariosto, Tasso

The project was divided into two phases: a first one dedicated to Lussu’s Un anno sull’altipiano and a second one to some cantos of Orlando Furioso and Gerusalemme Liberata. What were the results of these activities and the lessons learned?

I will answer to the second part of the question, since the first phase of THT was carried out the year before my arrival in Ghent.

Compared to the already implemented pilots to adapt a literary text to a social network (i.e. the several initiatives by Società Dante Alighieri and by professor Massimo Arcangeli, or the recent translation of Collodi’s Pinocchio in emojitalian by professor Francesca Chiusaroli), with THT students were firstly invited to produce some twylls (140-character comments) autonomously each week. These were conceived as shorts notes to the text of Ariosto’s Orlando Furioso, according to the 1532 edition (limited to cantos I and XXIII).

For the production of the twylls, the students considered what learned during the theoretical lectures of the Italian Literature course (held by Professor Mara Santi, THT project leader) and the bibliography studied. A model took then shape, which we called “twitterary edition” of Orlando Furioso.

From the real class to the virtual one

After these reads open also to TwLetteratura’s community, the pilot on Betwyll went on within a closed virtual class. What changed in this working modality?

A methodological limit of THT’s first phase was to have required students a weekly number of twylls. This negatively affected both the progressive originality of the comments and the spontaneity of the interaction.

Therefore, in the second phase we decided to create a virtual class on Betwyll, structured in three sections, to further analyze what presented in the real class. Only the students of the Ghent University could access. And this time, without a minimum or maximum number of twylls to produce by a deadline. This change benefited the creativity of the messages exchanged by the students in a space they perceived as exclusive.

What would you recommend to teachers who are considering to start a social reading project with their students?

Two recommendations. First: never lose sight of the centrality of the written paper text. Second: constantly reflect with the students upon the fact that the language used on the web is just a linguistic variety, and not a factotum code (to say it with professor Sergio Lubello‘s words), to use in whatever context.

Claudio Nobili Collaborative Learning Università Gent

Claudio Nobili

Postdoctoral Researcher at Ghent University

He deals with gestures from a linguistic and writing perspective. He published  L’italiano e le sue varietà with Sergio Lubello (Franco Cesati, Firenze 2008). He is about to publish I gesti dell’italiano (Carocci, Roma, to be published).

Want to know more about social reading, innovation and EdTech? Subscribe to our newsletter and download Betwyll from the App Store or Google Play.

Share on

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on pinterest
Share on linkedin
Share on email
Share on whatsapp

Subscribe to English newsletter


* indicates required

Betwyll will use the information you provide through this form to stay in touch with you and provide updates on our activities. Tell us how you prefer to be contacted:

You can change your mind at any time by clicking on the unsubscribe link at the bottom of every email you receive from us, or by contacting us at We will treat your information with respect. For more information on our privacy practices visit our website. By clicking on the button below, you agree to let us process your information according to these terms.

We use Mailchimp as our marketing platform. By clicking below to subscribe, you acknowledge that your information will be transferred to Mailchimp for processing. Learn more about Mailchimp's privacy practices here.

Iscriviti alla newsletter italiana


* indicates required

Betwyll utilizzerà le informazioni che fornisci attraverso questo modulo per restare in contatto con te e fornirti aggiornamenti sulle nostre attività. Indicaci come preferisci essere contattato:

Puoi cambiare idea in qualsiasi momento cliccando sul link unsubscribe che trovi al fondo di ogni email che riceverai da noi, oppure contattandoci a Tratteremo le tue informazioni con rispetto. Per maggiori informazioni sulle prassi che adottiamo per la privacy visita il nostro sito. Cliccando sul pulsante che segue, acconsenti a farci processare le tue informazioni in base a questi termini.

We use Mailchimp as our marketing platform. By clicking below to subscribe, you acknowledge that your information will be transferred to Mailchimp for processing. Learn more about Mailchimp's privacy practices here.

Subscribe to

our newsletters