HARLINGEN, Texas (ValleyCentral) — Robert Velez, a political science professor at the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley, is utilizing Twitter in the classroom setting to help with engagement in politics. 

“Most of my classes are geared towards student engagement. And I viewed this as another opportunity to do that,” Velez said. 

According to Velez, his students average a total of about 200 tweets in one hour. 

“I try to make it so that they can understand how politics connects with them, not necessarily how they connect with politics, right, that takes an active role on their part,” Velez said. 

While there are other social media platforms, Velez said he prefers Twitter for the topics covered in class.  

“The thing I like about Twitter is that it’s real-time, people can put out thoughts to our hashtag, and people can see them immediately,” he said. “My main goal in doing this is to allow students to see how politics is relevant to their lives.”

Velez said 70 of his students will be covering the gubernatorial debate at UTRGV through live tweeting. Students will be using the hashtag, #studentstweetpolitics.

Velez encourages everyone to participate in the UTRGV live tweet coverage. The in-person debate is scheduled for Friday, Sept. 30 at UTRGV at 7 p.m.

“In a democracy, ultimately, the power lies with the people whether they want to exercise that power or not and I encourage them to exercise with whatever level they’re comfortable with,” Velez concluded.

Viewers can watch the debate on both CBS 4 and NBC 23.