I feel like my attention my be swaying a bit towards social networking and the FaceBook in general … In my morning readings I stumbled across a wonderful post, “How University Administrators Should Approach the Facebook: Ten Rules.” Fred Stutzman, a graduate student at UNC Chapel Hill provides some great insight into the FB surge and why students do what they do there. This is less of a FB survival guide to higher education administration, but more of an eye opener. If you haven’t had the chance to stand in front of a class of students who are working at fever pitch on their FB profiles you have no idea what is happening.
One particular quote resonates so true to me as an administrator in a University-wide information technology organization and as an instructor:
7. Your campus IT department doesn’t offer anything like the Facebook. What’s more, the Facebook may be doing all sorts of stuff on your campus better than you do. The students message, create study groups, post to bulletin boards, and generally keep in touch inside this Facebook. The students don’t use the webspace you provide them (who wants to design a webpage in the era of push-button blogging), and it annoys them that they have to check school email to hear from their professors (when they have Gmail and Facebook messages). Numerous people have told me that Facebook announcements bring better results than flyering ever has. There are all sorts of examples like these.
We ask students about this stuff and they are using the FB for all these reasons — and several of them are why we spend lots of time, money, and energy on course management systems. There are other reasons for our CMS investments, but the FB just sort of captures their attention and gets the job done well.