Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Facebook and students - who should speak?

Well, I'm back from my summer holidays now, and getting ready for the start of the new year. It's great to see that the Facebook group for the new Freshers joining the School of English is going well. I'm waiting to see if we can get it up to 50 members by the start of induction - it's nearly there!

The group seems to be doing it's job - the new students are writing away on the wall introducing themselves and asking questions. So if you're joining us and you haven't signed up for it yet - please do! From my point of view, I think the group is doing what I wanted it to. I am increasingly convinced that Facebook in academic contexts really is for the students to use as a 'hang out' social space, not really as a forum for academic discussion. Of course, that doesn't mean that students can't talk about their studies (it is (nearly) always great when they do) - it's just that the kinds of discussions I think should be generated by them and based on what they find important. I see my role as a 'gatekeeper', watching out for inappropriate content and so on, hopefully seeding the conversation from time to time with questions. But if you are a student reading this, what do you think? Would you want your lecturers talking to you on Facebook? And if you do - what would you want to be talking about?

I'm going to keep using Facebook for sure though - certainly as a way of keeping in touch with my personal tutees. And we'll have to evaluate what the freshers thought of the group when they get to induction!



Anonymous Anonymous said...

Interesting that you are using facebook as a great interactive media for contacting people.

My role is with Be Birmingham, the local strategic partnership, whose role it is to develop partnerships of statutory, private and third sector organisations and bodies who work together to find joined-up solutions to make Birmignham a better place.

We have just developed new interactive pages on our website - check out for forum discussions, blogs and events as well as plenty of information about what is happening around the city.

Students are an important part of this city and we want to encourage them to take an interest in the city and in making it a better place.

If you want further information, you can contact me by email -

7:36 AM  

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