Using Facebook in online classes is a very controversial and debatable topic. Should you friend other online students in your online classes? What about your online instructor? There are many sensitivity and confidential issues that could be at play here. Here is a good article that further addresses this issue: http://www.usatodayeducate.com/staging/index.php/blog/friend-request-from-your-professor-this-one-hopes-you-accept. Some students might wrongly use Facebook to cheat by sharing test and quiz information and or posting confidential information about the class and or fellow classmates.
I have been thinking about this topic a lot lately and see both sides to this issue if Facebook should be used at all inside and outside of online classes. Some online institutions actually have strict policies against faculty and students from using Facebook to friend each other.
Recently, I have decided to create two individual Facebook accounts. One for my personal use and one just for my online students. I never go out and friend my students on Facebook. I just give them my Facebook ID: http://www.facebook.com/instructorsteinberg and ask them to friend me if they would like. I know of some other online faculty that do this as well. I have observed some faculty that have created individual Facebook fan pages for their classes. This seems like a good idea. This could help past and present students of a certain online class at a certain online institution. But, the main part of the online class should remain in the online classroom and not on Facebook. Facebook should only be used as a networking tool and to share important information related to the class. I often do this by sharing important articles. You can also go back and forth and even link using Facebook and Twitter in your online classes. Please see my previous blog, “Using Twitter in Online Courses:” http://www.associatedegreeonline.com/2011/10/using-twitter-in-online-courses/
And finally, there are obviously many pros and cons to using Facebook in your online classes. The pros are obviously the great networking opportunities that it creates. The obvious cons are the confidentiality issues.
What are your thoughts on using Facebook in online classes? Would you friend your fellow students? Instructor/Professor? Please let me know via my student Facebook account: http://www.facebook.com/instructorsteinberg
Please stayed tune until next week when I make another blog post on online education!