Facebook is a social networking site where users interact through an evolving, self-defined set of networks, interest groups, and “friendships.” But does Facebook have a legitimate place in the world of post-secondary education? The EDUCAUSE Learning Initiative (ELI) says “yes.”
ELI’s 7 Things You Should Know About… series provides concise information on emerging learning technologies and related practices, and they have so far produced two briefings on Facebook, in August/September 2006 and May 2007. According to ELI, “using Facebook, students can build the kids of connections – with students and in some cases with faculty – that make them feel like they belong and are accepted. Connections with others are an important factor in student retention.” In addition, Facebook allows opportunities for professional development and networking among faculty colleagues.
ELI also argues that sites like Facebook help students develop important information literacy skills, help teach students about appropriate on-line citizenship, and emphasizes the importance of creating content overs imply consuming it.
As a Facebook user, I agree that it does have a place in post-secondary learning. Give it a try … and become my Facebook friend.