Why Facebook Groups? Or, Should the Real Question Be: Why Not?

According to a recent study, undergraduates were found to use smartphones and other devices for non-class-related purposes an average of 11 times a day. As social media can often be the inspiration for students’ errant in-class clicking, instructors have long been wary of including use of such sites for classes. However, “Experimenting with Facebook in the College Classroom,” an article in Faculty Focus, suggests why and how you might consider leveraging social media to support and encourage student engagement.

Over multiple semesters, the instructor experimented with using a Facebook Page and both open and closed Groups. Both approaches can offer benefits, and are well worth considering, though closed Groups allowed students to more freely contribute to online discussions (students were uncomfortable asking questions on a Facebook Page or open Group, as their contributions were more or less public).

This instructor used Facebook to answer her students’ questions and to post articles (and encourage them to do the same), blending seamlessly from that day’s class discussions and, over time, enriching in-class discussions and increasing the overall level of class participation. Although this article focuses on using Facebook Groups in a small, on-ground class, this approach has been used to good effect by Warrington College of Business instructors in hybrid and fully online courses that range from small to large.