onGEO is presenting a poster at the 2018 Annual Meeting of AAG in New Orleans.
Facebook and the Online Classroom, Contemplating the value of a semester’s posts, likes, reactions, and replies.
Juliegh Bookout, onGEO, Michigan State University, firstname.lastname@example.org
Grant Gunn, Geography, Michigan State University, email@example.com
Yi Shi, onGEO, Michigan State University, firstname.lastname@example.org
Beth N. Weisenborn, Michigan State University, email@example.com
In June of 2017, the number of users on Facebook surpassed 2 billion; 38 million of those users being Americans aged 18 to 24. That same month, Harvard announced that it was rescinding admission offers to several students because they had joined an offshoot group of Harvard’s official student Facebook group and proceeded to post lewd and racist memes and comments–not the first incident of its kind. From this we can infer that students are Facebook users, and the potential for misuse, even among the brightest, exists.
In Michigan State University’s Online Geography program (I) we have formed closed Facebook groups within our courses and given students the option to join and participate, telling them “this is a great place to interact” and “we have had much success using groups.” After five years of including Facebook as a voluntary component of our courses, we are asking the question: what value does Facebook have to the instructor and students in a course? This short interactive paper will explore the types and level of interaction that took place on Facebook over a semester-long course, and consider the level of contribution these interactions had to the goals and objectives of the course. We will discuss instructor experiences using actual posts, replies, and reactions, and report on student perspectives as they concern the purpose of Facebook and their actual and desired participation in a course group. While positive in intention and purpose, these groups may be failing to create or add value to a course.