Posted by: bluesyemre | June 25, 2015

More than half of academics count students as ‘friends’ on Facebook


Survey finds that 46.6 per cent of academics shared family photos and information such as their favourite films or books.  When does a student become a friend? This question has long occupied academics but a study suggests that growing numbers of them are answering it at the click of a button. A survey of 308 academics who use Facebook found that more than half, 54.4 per cent, counted current and former students among their “friends” on the site. Most had accepted friend requests made by students but nearly a quarter of the academics (about 23 per cent) had sent the friend request themselves. The study, carried out in universities across the US, found widespread variation in the amount of personal information that academics chose to share with students on the social network. Of the respondents who said that they did interact on Facebook with students, 24.2 per cent said that they shared very little information, limited to a personal photo and information about their university post. A further 46.6 per cent shared family photos and information such as their favourite films or books; while 28.4 per cent disclosed information extending as far as relationship status, religious preference and political views.

U.S. college faculty with Facebook profiles (N = 308) were surveyed about their expectations of students’ perceptions of their credibility, professionalism, and approachability in the classroom, as well as mutual connectedness with their instructors, resulting from out-of-classroom socializing with them and teacher self-disclosure on Facebook. Consistent with uses and gratifications theory, these teacher attributes made up the Professors’ Expected Relationship Compensation scale (PERC), which was correlated to professors’ frequency of Facebook interaction with students (r = 0.41, p < 0.001). Multiple regression confirmed the persistence of this large-sized effect after accounting for the influence of six other variables, including instructors’ level of self-disclosure. These characteristics have been shown to relate positively to student-reported enhancements of academic outcomes and satisfaction. Faculty participation in non-academic, online interaction through Facebook shows great promise for augmenting student perceptions of their college experience and academic performance because it aligns professors’ uses with students’ expectations.

Faculty and Facebook friending: Instructor–student online social communication from the professor’s perspective

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