Thursday, April 4, 2013

Facebook Collaboration

I plan to use Facebook groups to connect my ENA 101 course with Irwin's ENA 101 course (see Irwin's post for a description of this "Accelerated Learning Program" piloted English course).  I have never used Facebook before for pedagogical purposes, in part, because I could never quite figure out how to keep the discussion and/or postings private.   Irwin has assured me that the privacy of the group discussions will be maintained and the students will be familiar with the format.

Our collaborative group activity will be a targeted peer review that will address a specific stage in the writing process.  There are many advantages to having students respond to the work of students from a different class.  Most notably, the writing assignments will be different and the students won't be comparing their work to the writing they are critiquing.  Instead, they will evaluating written work objectively, which means each paper's argument and supporting evidence will have to be explicit (i.e., for a more general audience).

I think the accessibility and familiarity of Facebook will help students feel more comfortable posting and encourage them to generate longer responses/threads to each other's writing.  It will be interesting to compare the results to the kinds of discussions and responses that have been produced, for instance, on Blackboard's Discussion Board.



  1. How great that by chance two of my "dance partners" were you and Irwin!

    I agree with you that Facebook will provide a familiar and somewhat comfortable platform on which your students will be able to work. One huge advantage is that if you can't figure something out, at least half the class will be able to fix it or show you how to do it, as most are Facebook pros!

    A side note: when I began working with Facebook as an informational tool for students (i.e. announcements about important events, deadlines, etc) I encountered some resistance from certain faculty members, which was really unexpected. Luckily, there were many of us who clearly understood the value of using social media as a tool to help us disseminate informaton to our students, as opposed to looking at it as something threatening, or useless. Now to see that it is being used to enhance instructor methodology...very exciting!

    I am very much looking forward to hearing about your experiences using this tool.

  2. Thomas,

    Your idea of using Facebook is great because students are on facebook all the time and now they can use it for their class to get a grade. I am really interested in seeing your class facebook page and students' writing, etc. and learn the pros and cons of using facebook.
    My dream is to use facebook for class discussions.

  3. I too am interested in the kinds of discussions/threads FB inspires over BB. I like that Sree's dream is to use FB for class discussions. Do you think you two could connect somehow as well? I'm thinking that in terms of mentoring and retention, the MAT 120 students have made it beyond the CATW (right?), so there may be some interesting connections!
    I also wonder if you and Irwin want to use it as a place for students to "advise" each other about the CATW? You may find in their responses ways of explaining strategies that you hadn't thought of... Just a thought. ;-)
    BTW: Are you going to videotape/YouTube something here...?