While schools continue to figure out policies about educators’ Facebook usage, some best practices are emerging.
And that brings us to the list of tips for professors suggested by Online Colleges. The blog offers 30 suggestions, mostly involving privacy settings and relationships with students — along with plain common sense (never a bad thing to reinforce). Here are seven of our favorites:
Don’t Vent About Students
You may forget that the student you’re ranting about is a friend of one of your friends, and might still be able to see your status updates.
Find Out If Your School Has A Social Media Policy
Some universities now have policies for faculty use of social media: You may not be allowed to friend students or discuss work at all, even on your private account, so make sure before you update your profile.
Use Facebook As A Backup Tool
If class is canceled because of bad weather, direct students to Facebook, and send out course materials, readings, and discussion questions so that your class doesn’t fall behind.
Don’t Log In When You’re Upset
A few teachers at lower-level schools have been fired because of nasty comments they’ve made about their schools or students. Mouth off to your friends in person, and wait until you feel calmer to get online.
Avoid The Time Suck
You can’t blame your students for playing on Facebook instead of studying if you’re doing the same thing: Set aside certain Facebook time for fun, and the rest of the time, use it for something productive, like posting course materials or responding to questions.
Take Advantage Of Facebook’s Convenience
Send out bulk messages that everyone can see, instead of setting yourself up to reply to lots of separate emails.
Only Post What You’d Be Proud To Say In Person
Don’t get flirty, overly risqué, or sarcastic on students’ walls, photos or in messages and chats. Remember that just because it’s online, doesn’t mean it isn’t real.
Readers, what do you think of these suggestions? Should schools adopt them as formal policies — or do you think something stricter is required?