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Should Students and Teachers Be Online "Friends"? (page 2)

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Updated on Jul 2, 2009

Alternatives exist, however, for teachers and students who wish to enhance learning outside of the classroom via the Internet. Schwartz has helped many students with homework or studying via instant messaging, and even keeps in contact with parents this way. Other tools – such as online classrooms on sites such as Blackboard and forums within a school district’s website or teacher’s own webpage – make student-teacher interaction possible on the Web. Of course, don’t rule out more traditional methods to foster close student-teacher connections. “Appropriate relationships between teachers and students can be built by attending office hours or emailing for class-related advice,” says Steed.

While students may be eager to find and friend their teachers on Facebook, many of them understand the implied rules and boundaries of this virtual environment. “I do understand why my teachers do not want me to add them until I graduate,” says Jegaraj. “I think being friends with a teacher on Facebook while being their student may close the gap between the teacher-student relationship, and some teachers may not want this to happen while they are still teaching their students.”

Ultimately, sites like Facebook are social environments. Teachers guide students in a professional capacity, and being social doesn’t seem like part of the job description.

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