What does it mean to have too much exposure in the digital world? Dan, Tom, and I take on this topic in Episode 15 of Digital Campus. In a discussion that focuses largely on sites such as Facebook, we examine the current culture of self-exposure that seems to be taking root in the digital environment and what the consequences may be for students, teachers, and the general public. During the news round-up section of the podcast, we also take a look at the new release of Leopard and the not-so-new release of Vista. So, when you have a chance, give it a listen and let us know what you think.
And while we’re on the subject of Facebook, there is a group within the larger Facebook community called “Faculty Ethics on Facebook.” [This link works if you are a Facebook member.] Among the items put forward by this group are a set of proposed guidelines for faculty members who (like me) use Facebook as a way to communicate with students. The current draft reads:
1. Keeping official course activities in other online tools.
2. Never requiring students to participate in Facebook or having Facebook influence a course grade. An exception is for social research projects that use Facebook and make their connection to a course explicit.
3. Not friending students unless they request the connection.
4. Accepting friend requests from all students (unless the instructor makes the decision not to friend students at all).
5. Not looking at student profiles unless the faculty member has been friended by the student and even then using Facebook information judiciously and for educational purposes.
6. Faculty members should avoid association with groups with sexual content or political views that might offend certain students or compromise the student to teacher relationship.
7. Taking extreme care with privacy settings and faculty profile content to limit profiles to information relevant to educational purposes. A broad variety of information may be appropriate, however, given the area of expertise / subject, the local customs of an instructor’s school, and the dynamics of his or her classroom. Content should be placed thoughtfully and periodically reconsidered to maintain this educational standard.
8. Exercising appropriate discretion when using Facebook for personal communications (with friends, colleagues, other students, etc.) with the knowledge that faculty behavior on Facebook may be used as a model by our students.
While I think it is a very good idea to begin a discussion of possible guidelines for ethical use of this tool by faculty members, it seems to me that there are some problems with the current draft. I have my own views on these potential problems, but would be very interested to hear from you what you think.