OpenLab Pioneers!

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  • #12449

    Jonas Reitz
    Participant

    I receive the occaisional friend request from students. Seem unfriendly not to befriend them. Any hidden pitfalls I might not be seeing?

    #14373

    Jody R. Rosen
    Participant

    I’ve been thinking about this, too, although I’ve yet to receive a student request. I’ve been plugging for changing that name, that Friend sounds a little too friendly, or too much like Facebook, and had considered Colleague perhaps more in keeping with the nature of the site. But that might be a bit off, too–would you refer to a student as a colleague? Probably not across the board. I came up with another term that seemed best, but then quickly forgot it. Is there a term that would make it seem more appropriate to you, Jonas, or anyone else, that would make you want to accept such requests?

    #14374

    Elizabeth Alsop
    Participant

    Good question, Jonas! Apart from the philosophical reservations Jody raises — and which I know others share — I don’t really see any practical issues here. Being someone’s “friend” makes it easier to send them messages on the OpenLab, but it doesn’t secure them any privileges over non-friends (I think — others feel free to correct me). And you can always use the privacy settings to control what your students (or anyone, for that matter) do and do not see.

    But it would be great to hear what others think about this. And Jody, I’d love to hear the term you came up with, if you remember! I’m drawing a blank (Associates? Comrades??) There’s also the Google+ term, Acquaintances, though that may go too far in the formal direction…

    #14375

    Scott
    Participant

    I can’t see a problem with it either–most of the friend issues with facebook etc have to do with the difficulty of keeping our ‘other’ selves and our ‘professor’ selves separated when we want to. given that this is all taking place on the openlab where your role is clearly defined, that’s less of a problem.

    I’ve also found that students aren’t confused about what ‘friend’ means in the online context–they are often not thinking about it as a word at all. In my experience they view it as an activity, rather than a relationship. That means they’ve never thought any professor was actually their friend, which is probably good, but it also means as an english person who thinks about what words mean I’m bothered, particularly when it’s used as a verb, and I’m always a little disappointed when students aren’t more critical of facebook’s accepted terminology. But I’ve been thinking about this a lot, and sound very old-fashioned here, and I’d love to hear if other people have different experiences with their students.

    I like the idea of at least changing the term to shake up the familiarity, and maybe get them thinking about what these online relationships mean. To that end, I do have to say that ‘colleague’ sounds good to me too–still an even playing field in the spirit of the openlab, but more professional. As long as we don’t start colleaguing each other.

    #14392

    Sandra Cheng
    Participant

    Scott makes a good point about the platform helping to define the notion of friend. I don’t ‘friend’ students on Facebook and I have managed to pull myself off the FB search engine (though FB keeps finding ways to combat my safeguards). Still it would be nice if we could think of a better label that reflects a connection though I’m at a lost, ‘buddy’ doesn’t quite work and colleague isn’t accurate. Maybe the OpenLab needs to make up a word!

    If as Elizabeth and Scott suggest, there are no pitfalls, it seems ok to ‘friend’ a student, so I guess I’m going to do that. I interact with students via Twitter and I like Twitter’s follower label. I’m not sure what students get out of it, but I get to see what their interests are, and I think it fleshes me out a little bit more for my students because they see my current obsessions, etc.

    #14479

    dariogpx
    Member

    All of you have raised good points about “friending”. At my high school everyone was on a first name basis, but we never lost that respect for one another. when it came down to facebook; it was policy that teachers could only “friend” students on facebook after graduation.

    #14503

    Scott
    Participant

    Excellent point, Dario. Thanks for bringing it up–and thanks a bunch for your participation! It’s great to see.

    Best,
    Scott

    #14504

    Scott
    Participant

    Excellent point, Dario. Thanks for bringing it up–and thanks a bunch for your participation! It’s great to see.

    Best,
    Scott

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