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Wednesday, February 6, 2013
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Joe Giblin

‘Toxic or not?’ Freshmen gain answers, share information on Twitter

Hazards from exposure to insecticides, mercury, and lead and whether bottled spring water is free of contaminants regularly make headlines around the world.

But in Angela Slitt’s class, “Toxic or Not?” a University of Rhode Island Grand Challenges offering from last semester, the professor did more than just rely on compelling subject matter to engage her students. She required all of them to Tweet about what they learn and draw others to the Twittersphere to join them in the conversation.

The class satisfies a general education science requirement. Provost Donald H. DeHayes, who wanted freshmen to be stimulated by courses that focus on critical societal issues, launched the Grand...

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