My Scholarly Reflections

This is where I tell what I think, so that I see what I say

What if a student wants to go from textbook to facebook?!

with one comment

Students (still in my class, not former students) sometime send me a facebook friendship request. What should I do? Accept it, giving out the signal that that student is now a relation beyond the supposedly, arms-length and hallowed confines of the classroom? Is the relationship now going from transactional (“you give me education, I give you money) to affective (“lets be friends because I like you!”)…or is it just a knee jerk reaction of the students bumping into my profile matched by facebook through some esoteric algorithm….and I just accept the reality of extreme connectedness through social media? One feasible option is to add them to the ‘acquiantance’ category of my facebook connections which allow them restricted access to my facebook life (e.g. no access to personal info and pictures).

But then on the other hand, the fact that students reach out to engage on an informal platform such as  facebook also signals that the students want to  learn more from my experiences and knowledge! This possibility also shows breaking down of walls between our different social worlds and their attendant interactions, mediated by the new technologies. One screen on facebook engaged in light banter with a friend, another screen in deep discussion on some topic on, say finance or economics, with a fellow student or facilitator. These roles may also metamorph depending on the scenario.

Still not sure whether ‘confirm’ the latest friendship request that I have recieved from a student or ignore!  (In fact this whole process of mechanically confirming or ignoring friendship overtures appear to absurd to me, to say the least! As if friendship is like an on-off switch….)

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Written by Amer Khan

May 14, 2012 at 10:16 pm

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