The most interesting development this week has been my own experience interacting with students via Facebook. A couple of students emailed me expressing concerns about the difficulty of the reading assignment. The reading assignments in my ENG102 aren't particularly long, but several are appropriately challenging--especially during the first four weeks. After receiving the emails, I immediately went to Facebook and posted a query asking if anyone is having trouble with the readings. Students quickly responded. I used this opportunity to hold a sort of impromptu discussion board. I was able to post some "hints," guiding the students through some of the difficult texts by alerting them to concerns and themes they might have missed. Upon our next class meeting the students told me it was a great help and that they felt more prepared for the day's lesson.
I know there's been some discussion of holding "virtual" office hours. I'm starting to think this might be a good idea. Perhaps I'll tell my ENG102 students that during my office hours (or at least a particular portion) I'll be available to chat via Facebook with them. I wonder how I would have responded as a college freshman to having such ready access to my professor.