Teachers across the globe are utilizing Facebook to connect with their students. In a cyber world and media-saturated culture, people can now share photos, chit-chat about last weekend’s shindig and find mutual friends. All of this can be done through Facebook, a social networking Web site.
Cassie McFarland, a Corban senior, is friends with her professors on Facebook and sees it as a positive thing.
“It allows students and teachers to have more of a personable relationship, so the classroom is more of a comfortable environment for learning,” she said.
English Professor Marty Trammell hopes Facebook will help create an amiable learning environment.
“Facebook provides students with a face for their teachers. It allows them to know what we’re like and what is important to us,” he said.
Facebook not only helps the students better know their teachers, but it also helps the teachers better understand their students, he explained. Trammell appreciates that Facebook allows him to see how his classes relate to his student’s hopes and dreams.
Jacob Niska, a freshman, also sees the benefits of teachers and students being friends on Facebook. His high school drama director had a Facebook, and Niska witnessed its effectiveness. His drama director used the page to communicate with students. Events were posted on the Web site, and students were able to comment on it, providing feedback for the director.
Facebook allows anyone to connect with people anywhere. English Professor Colette Tennant uses Facebook to keep in touch with students after they graduate. She thinks it can be a very beneficial tool.
However, not everyone wants to be Facebook friends with their professors.
Tyler Dean, a senior, said, “I’m not a super fan of it. I’m all for small class sizes, but personally I feel awkward knowing they could look in and see.”
History Professor Scot Bruce sees Facebook as a socializing mechanism, a pal network and does not typically initiate friend requests with former students. Bruce believes that teachers are supposed to be intellectual and spiritual advisors in the lives of students, but not necessarily pals.
“Professors who initiate or accept pal relationships with current students run the risk of perceived or real favoritism, a huge violation of educational ethics in my mind,” Bruce said. “I care deeply about our young men and women at Corban, but I do not embrace the professor-student relationship as a buddy scenario. We can express genuine interest in and concern for our students’ lives, while also remaining somewhat removed from their social landscape.”
English Professor Tamara McGinnis recognizes potential benefits of Facebook, but sees it more as a way of simply acknowledging another person, “It’s like the hors d’oeuvres of social interaction.
“I’m not a huge Facebook fan because most of it is inane babbling,” McGinnis said. But, she did add that Facebook allows students and teachers to connect and helps eliminate barriers.