If you fear that you have to bid adieu to your Facebook friends if you go to an online school for pursuing higher studies, you are wrong in your ideas about online learning. A recent article published in the Fortune quoted Stanford University professor B J Fogg saying “Facebook is the most convenient and respectable way to feel connected to friends, get updated on existing friends, find new people, build relationships and express identities” and the article also depicts this professor as an advocate for Facebook based learning. Fogg is not alone as there are hundreds of professors teaching in online and campus schools who are addicted to FB like anything. Fogg is among many teachers who think that FB is a persuasive technology which, if used intelligently, can be very effective for teaching students online.
So is your teacher among those FB addicts?
About 90% people are registered with Facebook right now and growing. 2.5 million of the American users visit and interact in discussion boards, 6.5 million users search for peer groups and communities, 8 million FB-ians join and take part in active discussions in various groups. Many of those groups are study groups where students of the same discipline freely share their views and opinions, and class notes. (Data: Compete.com). Facebook is mostly used for communicating and LinkedIn is used for connecting. Teachers soon realized the potential of FB and many of them migrated from LinkedIn (which is also a great network for connecting with teachers and peers) to Facebook (one of the largest social media exoduses in recent times)
Chances are there that you will come across your teacher’s profile someday in case you are not connected with him on Facebook as of now. Reports suggest that online schools encourage their teachers to join the social platform to better connect with the students. Many have taken the advice and they engage in active conversations with their students. On the other hand, many online colleges have taken a systematic approach and these colleges have and have taken Facebook-dependent learning to the next level.
Facebook’s potential as a learning platform
- Search function: Facebook has an inbuilt advanced search function which is very helpful in filtering unrelated posts from news feeds.
- Peer groups: Students just love it when it comes to connecting with peer groups through Facebook. Many teachers have anticipated this trend and they are now using Facebook extensively to connect with their students in real time.
- Downloading study materials: Teachers are also uploading study materials on group pages. So you can easily download and access the content which was otherwise unavailable to you.
So Facebook addiction is not that bad now. Your teachers are somewhere in the ‘People You May Know’ list. Find them out, send friend requests, stay connected. It’s study time. Oops! It’s Facebook time.