By Melissa Elliot
This is a bit of a departure from my regular blog post. I need some advice. How do you feel about accepting “friend requests” from students on Facebook while that student is still in your class (or may potentially take classes from you)? I have a number of students that have sent me friend request this semester and I have a number from semesters past. I am often concerned about how that comes across to others, other students and other faculty. Does this send a message?
I can see how Facebook can be useful and have often thought of making a Facebook page for my class.Social media is such a sticky wicket. It seems that EVERYTHING is shared with EVERYONE and nothing remains personal. I have friended students in the past after they have finished my class and have enjoyed staying I touch. Am I afraid of what current students will see on my page (as boring as it is) or am I afraid of what I will encounter on their page and will it color the way I see that student? Will students that are not part of my friends list think I favor those that I have “friended”?
The world has become very complex and I think social media has contributed to the change. It has allowed people from around the world to meet and develop friendships, my husband has hundreds of Facebook friends and he has never met most of them. They have come together over a common interest and have remained in touch and engaged for years. Platforms on social media like Facebook have informed the world, it has deceived the world and it has influenced a generation.
I guess I go back to my original question; how do you feel about friending students on Facebook while they are in your class?