Umass Dartmouth Center for Marketing Research Blog

To be, or not to be friends, that is the question

Happy Wednesday everyone! Should students be friends with their teachers on Facebook? This week’s article, presented by HuffPost Tech, explains the state of Missouri has just passed a bill prohibiting teachers from friending their students via Facebook. The bill states that it wishes to prevent any inappropriate conduct between teachers and students. Individuals reading the bill have complained stating the bill’s wording is too vague. It doesn’t clearly define what rules they wish to enforce. If the bill wants to ban teacher/student relationships, how can they actually monitor that it won’t happen? Mashable, an independent news site stated, “Will the state have access to Facebook accounts, personal computers or internet services providers to see who’s befriending teachers or students?” If not, how are they going to know?

Others stated, it’s as if you’re accusing all teachers of this sort of guilt [inappropriate conduct], like they’re going to make that mistake. Some comments that were left on the article were from teachers who had created a separate Facebook account for their particular class to stimulate communication between teacher and student. The page featured class updates, assignment due dates, or quiz/test schedules. All the student had to do was “like” the page and the teacher and students could leave comments if they needed a question answered. The commenter stated it was a great communication tool for her and her students and she found they loved the page.

Facebook is a key communication tool now that the social networking community is growing. Now that people can get updates to Facebook through their phones, it’s another resource they can use to stay updated to news that’s posted. If teachers are using Facebook in this light, why should it be prohibited? Parents for younger students could monitor the page with their child to oversee the page’s content if one was created by a teacher at a lower level of education (i.e. middle schools).

Student at higher level institutions (i.e. college) should understand there must be boundaries between student/teacher friending via social networking sites. There still needs to be a level of professionalism that remains, so that’s where this alternate account comes in. Students simply “like” the page and use it to ask questions to their teachers, or use it for class updates. Individuals can have personal and professional accounts on Facebook and therein lays the differentiation that teacher and students should maintain with one another. As the social community expands there are new tools that will aid student learning that our forefathers couldn’t utilize.  There are positives and negatives looming in this article. What do you think, we’d love to hear?

For a complete look at this week’s article, please click on the link below. Have a great rest of your week and thank you for reading!

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/08/02/missouris-new-facebook-la_n_916088.html?ir=Technology&ncid=edlinkusaolp00000009

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Filed under: Social Media

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