Many students use sites such as Facebook to connect with friends, family and other contacts, but until they finish school, Bobcats should avoid connecting with professors over social media.
There should always be a barrier between students and their professors when it comes to social media. It is not right for students to maintain anything more than a scholarly relationship with a person who has the authority to make or break their grades. I am not suggesting students avoid interaction with their professors outside of class completely, but there is definitely a happy medium that is surpassed as Facebook friends.
Students would not like it if one of their peers made a higher exam grade just because they were favored by the professor. This happening to some degree is probably unavoidable, but social media connections just make the possibility for favoritism even more likely. The extra interaction is not necessary. Students are here to learn and professors are here to teach, and it should be kept that way.
There are other negative side effects of students maintaining an online affiliation with someone who has professional power over their success at a university. There is always a possibility an inappropriate relationship could develop. For instance, professors leaving lewd comments on students’ pictures is not unheard of and vice versa. In the event of such an inappropriate relationship developing, instructors run the risk of losing their jobs.
Just adding a professor on a social media site can bring into question the instructor’s professionalism and whether or not their relationship with the student is appropriate. In the end, it is safer to simply wait if students want to connect with instructors on social media.
Furthermore, students can jeopardize their grade in a class if they make careless comments about the professor or the class online. Even if the student mentions something unrelated to class, professors may view the student differently because of something they said online, possibly creating problems later.
Facebook is a good way to stay in contact with professors after graduation, but when students are still enrolled in class it creates more problems than anything. Students and professors should abstain from interacting on social media until the student graduates or transfers. After a student’s grades are no longer under a professor’s influence, interacting over social media should not be a problem.
Overall, it is a good idea for students to wait until they have graduated or pass a particular class to befriend professors or other university employees on Facebook or other social media sites.