Psychology professors are making their courses a feature
of their students’ Facebook feeds in an effort to enliven
class and enhance learning.
BY JAMIE CHAMBERLIN • Monitor staff
Meet Cliff Stroop, a teaching assistant who administers a Facebook page for psychology 101 courses at Phoenix College in Phoenix. He posts
spirited study tips for students — dubbed “Cliff Notes” —
such as avoiding 11th-hour cramming for an exam, and “Cliff
Hangers,” or teasers about what’s coming up in class, such as,
“Is it possible to die of fear? Find out in class on Wednesday!”
He’s on Facebook all night before a test to answer students’ last-
minute questions. Students adore him. Freshman Rafael Rosales
posted on his timeline, “Cliff, you’re cool.”
If Cliff sounds like a dream teaching assistant, he is. Phoenix
College psychology professor Amy Marin, PhD, conjured him
up as her school Facebook persona in hopes of engaging her
students in a more playful way.
Her students know she’s Cliff, but they don’t care. They gush
about how his advice helped them study and say his posts make
them eager to come to class, says Marin.
For Marin, it’s simply an effort to “do whatever I can to go
where the students are.”
Increasingly, other instructors agree. While some begrudge
the ubiquitous distraction of social media, others are using
Facebook to build community in their classes. Hosting a class