A Facebook Page for your Class?

Would you? Could you?

Despite the expansion of social media sites, a new study shows that students overwhelmingly prefer an official course Facebook page for class collaboration. Students have asked professors to set up these pages; absent instructor action, they’ve even done it themselves.

A course Facebook page wins big on the grounds of efficiency – most students check their Facebook pages frequently, and so would quickly see course news. It would be interesting to see whether students prefer a course Facebook page to course site within a learning management system (like LearningStudio). I can see that Facebook would work well with setting up study groups. But I think it would be easier to discuss readings within the format of a threaded discussion, and it seems much easier to share files within a course shell than over a Facebook page.

Of course, using Facebook as an additional venue for course information might not be a bad plan, but there are a few things to consider. Not all students have Facebook accounts or wish to mix their Facebook account with their school peer group; these students may be left out of the loop if the Facebook site eclipses the course shell as a collaboration venue. On the other hand, if the students themselves are setting up these pages, a professor might as well take the bull by the horns and publicly invite the whole class to join a Facebook page.

What do you think? Would you set up a Facebook page for your class? Would be bothered if your students did?

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