Thursday, August 02, 2012

Balancing Students and Faculty on Facebook

Listening to faculty the past few weeks, I hear a consistent worry: students don't know boundaries.  As one professor with a strong reputation of mentoring and caring for students said, "Teaching isn't a 24 hour job - they shouldn't expect me to answer them at nine o'clock at night."

While many cite legal or ethical concerns, I find more and more that this is one of the top reasons why academics don't want to engage through social media with students.  Not only is the crossing of a boundary between teaching and private life a worry, the expectation of always on connection to students is a major issue.

The problem is this generation isn't like us.  They were born digital, and they are programmed to share.

And overshare.

From The Chronicle this week, a column about the excessive nature of sharing to a professor by his students illustrates the problem.  These stories weren't from social media - they were in class or in other public settings.

Yes, boundaries need to be established - but sometimes they will be inside our perimeters, not theirs.

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