“Students rarely make a special trip to my office to
tell me they found class interesting that day, but a
quick posting on Facebook is giving me a glimpse
into how my classes are being received.”
AMY MARIN, PHOENIX COLLEGE
with any policies their university has regarding students and
social media, says Stephen Behnke, PhD, JD, who addressed
Facebook etiquette for faculty in the July/August 2010 Monitor.
• Post in moderation. Update your page no more than two or
three times per week to avoid overwhelming students with one
course’s add-ons and reminders, says Whitbourne. “It’s important
to be unobtrusive and not in their face all the time,” she says.
• Repeat yourself in class. Use the page to remind students
of assignment deadlines and test dates, but if you’ve made the
page optional, recap those deadlines and reminders in class for
students who choose not to join.
• Fact check. Students tend to answer each other’s questions,
which can be a timesaver for teachers, but they can also lead
each other astray. Be vigilant about correcting misinformation,
• Value criticism. While trawling for such errors, Golding
discovered that many students were confused by the wording of
one test question. Their comments helped him fine-tune it for
the following semester’s students.
“It’s a way to improve on the class and experiment in ways
you couldn’t in the past,” he says. “Students know how to use
Facebook well, so why not take advantage?” n
Teaching cultural differences via Facebook
Facebook has also enabled two psychology professors to reinvent the international pen-pal concept and
help internationalize the curriculum. Carie Forden, PhD, of Clarion University in Oil City, Pa., and Amy
Carrillo, PhD, of the American University in Cairo, in New Cairo, Egypt, gave their social psychology
classes three assignments last fall.
As students completed each assignment — one was to design an intervention to reduce prejudice
between Muslims and non-Muslims, for example — they posted their work on a joint Facebook page,
the Cairo-Clarion Social Psychology Exchange. Students from each class were asked to comment on
each other’s work and postings and were graded on participation.
The page fostered student discussions on their cultural differences and on stereotypes about
Egyptians and Americans — conversations that deepened the students’ appreciation for each other, say
Forden says the project has made her U.S. students more self-critical of Americans. “It’s gotten them
out of their ethnocentricism,” she says. “It’s been great for them because most of the students I teach
haven’t traveled much even within the United States, and only a few have been outside of the country.”
She and Carrillo also found the exchange helped their students better understand course concepts
such as conformity, collectivist culture and attribution. The professors plan to sharpen their approach
for next year and hope to present their work at an upcoming conference.
“There’s a lot of potential to increase the interaction they have, and have students really get to know
one another,” says Carrillo.