Facebook can be a powerful tool for voluntarily connecting people — but Facebook friendships cannot be forced — or you change the very essence of the service as the social dyad is pressed into an imperative prerequisite and previously freely associated connections begin to crumble under the stress of a temporary commanding authority.
Unfortunately, at least one professor requires his students to befriend him on Facebook in what we believe is a thin and desperately veiled attempt to become popular and important:
Some professors don’t let students see their Facebook pages. Some accept students’ invitations but don’t initiate them.
Peter Juvinall insists students friend him.
The Illinois State University instructor decided the best way to connect with a bunch of freshman business students in a short 8 a.m. class was to conduct much of the course where they are anyway–on Facebook.
So, as he explained during last week’s Educause conference and in a subsequent interview, he uses Facebook as a course-management system by instructing students to “friend” his personal page on the first day of class.
We are virally against requiring students to use social services that are beyond the conventional and imaginary boundaries of the university.
Demanding a student to use Facebook for a course is just plain unseemly and it goes against every iconic grain that makes up the mosaic of a free will education as private lives are needlessly forced into the public square based merely on the lonesome whim of a single, misguided, instructor.