May 29‎ > ‎

You don’t have to be “Friends”

Why you and your students will “Like” Facebook for class


·      Your students (and you) are already on need to go to another site for class participation

·      The interface is readily familiar to everyone; it is a visual interface where it’s easy to look at pictures, watch videos, get an idea of a link from a thumbnail, or connect efficiently to other content

·      It creates a social environment, letting students get to know each other outside of class, which makes for a more collegial environment in the classroom

·      It takes on a life of its own: if you allow students to use it how they want, they will be commenting on each others’ posts in no time, carrying on a conversation about your class more actively (and publicly) than is generally the case

·      It allows for multiple forms of participation for those who don’t like to speak up in class (posts, links, comments, questions, etc.)

·      It is a way to generate ideas and thoughts prior to an in-class discussion

·      “Docs” can be edited collectively and easily shared with others

·      It allows students to easily share online resources that help them understand class materials

·      It can serve as a “virtual study group” as well as a forum for communicating about real-life get-togethers (for example, to make up for a film viewing, work on a group project, or study for a test)

·      It sticks around for the long term (if you want it to), making it easy to check back in with the class or its materials


·      When projecting the Facebook group in the classroom:

o   Update feed in the upper right corner is a distraction (and is personal)

§  It can be switched off

o   Update balloons will appear when someone comments on something you’ve posted or commented on

o   Messages will pop up as “chat” windows if someone sends you one while you have it open in class

o   Names of your other groups are visible on the left (i.e., if you’re a homebrewing fanatic, it’ll become clear to your students)

·      Profile pics are shared with everyone in the group (i.e., even though you’re not “Friends”, people will see something personal if it’s in your pic)

·      “Docs” are not particularly flashy – photos have to be posted from a saved file, and links can be a bit clunky.  It’s not as visual a presentation medium as PowerPoint

·      Technology is constantly changing and social media become outdated—all the more reason to use it NOW!

“How To”

·      Think about how you want to use the group: structured or loose, strictly business or off-topic conversation allowed, faculty-centered or student-centered, for specific purposes or just a general spot for interaction

·      Put the group in your syllabus with some guidelines

·      Tell students they don’t have to be your (or each other’s) friends to join

·      Create the group

o   “Create Group” (in the left column on your Facebook feed)

o   Add at least one friend (they can be removed later)

o   Insert a description for the group

o   Send students a link to the group so they can ask to be members

o   Modify your “Notifications” settings depending on what you want