Web 2.0

5 Friendly Ways to Use Facebook in Your Teaching

Facebook as icebreaker. Use a structured format and a set of specific questions to get students to introduce themselves in a Facebook group: “Hi! My name is Bob. I’m from Arkansas. I like New York Super Fudge Chunk. Go Razorbacks!” Make the format rich so that students can find kindred spirits.

Team up. Use Facebook as an ongoing study group organizer, so students can post when they’re looking for help. Then encourage students to be responsive to peers. Faculty need to tune in too and look for ways to help when nobody else is picking up the slack.

E-portfolio lite. Have students use Facebook groups to post low-stake reflections (or links to reflections) on what they’re learning. If it’s high-stakes, then use a traditional e-portfolio program. Facebook is for making connections, not being evaluated.

Open office hours. Invite students to post their questions to your Facebook profile, then record a video with your answer to the question. If it worked for Stanford’s (CA) BJ Fogg (bjfogg.com), it can work for you!

Give shout-outs. Provide reflections on your latest class and use students’ names as much as possible: “Thanks to Ashley and Josh for their excellent contributions today in class….” “I want to thank Cameron for his question about yesterday’s topic.” That signals that your relationship with students, their participation in class, and their work in the course are all important.

About the Author

Dian Schaffhauser is a writer who covers technology and business for a number of publications. Contact her at dian@dischaffhauser.com.

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