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Rick (VA) GMU

I'm not sure I fully and in all cases agree with the "take the classroom to where the students are" approach, but I got a lot out of the general conversation about engaging students and getting them to engage one another and helping them to learn how to use this new online social medium for interaction.


I listened to this podcast quite a while ago, but I'm just now getting around to posting a comment. I had two thoughts that I figured I'd contribute to the conversation...

One thought has to do with my misgivings about letting my students "friend" me in Facebook. I typically ignore their friend requests for the sake of keeping my relationships with them fairly professional. To illustrate my point... The Media Arts professors at BYU pride themselves on being fairly casual with their students and that's one of the things I liked about that department. (It took me forever to get used to calling them by their first names.) But I remember hearing one of them complain that one of her students had officially crossed the line of professionalism when he started calling her at night "just to talk" and wanted to hang out at her house. Part of me worries about that if I'm open about letting my students interact with me on Facebook. (Especially since I complain about teaching in my status message every now and then!) That would be my only concern about doing a similar experiment with my own class, although I'm actually considering doing it.

The other thought I had was about the inequitable access students have to technology. I teach at a campus that serves a much different student body than BYU's. My students are mostly in the mid to lower income brackets and are working full-time to put themselves through school. I decided to poll them last week to see how many of them had Facebook accounts and, while the majority of them did have accounts, I would say that 10% didn't. (I even have a few students who don't have email addresses.) I tend to be an idealist who believes in the Internet as a great democratizing force, but there is part of me that wonders if it is still something that only the elite can afford. Personal computers and regular Internet access are still luxuries that not everyone can afford yet.

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