Monday, September 28, 2009
On Sept. 28, 2009, the Chronicle of Higher Education ran an interesting article entitled Facebook, The New Classroom Commons?(registration required for full article).The article highlights the pros and cons of friending students on Facebook.
On the one hand, it crosses social boundries and may give students access to private information about the professor. On the other, it may give the professor an insight to student opinions about class and the subject matter being taught. As the article states:
A neighbor is busy, a colleague is tired, a long-lost friend wants to know which 80s band best describes me. A few of my students are stressed about their forthcoming internships, and another is working on her research. I know this because their Facebook postings tell me so.
Without a doubt, my Facebook page provides plenty of minutiae. But is it useful in the context of academic relationships, specifically with students? Is Facebook a new commons keeping us connected?
I for one believe there is a happy medium. Profs who use face book should set up a separate page for class work and not friend anyone but students. They can have a separate friend page for personal use.
On a different note, I have noticed that more and more profs are friending each other on face book. I think this is a good thing. It encourages communication and the exchange of ideas.
Mitchell H. Rubinstein