The Chronicle of Higher Education
August 5th, 2014
Facebook and academe aren’t exactly friends. Over the years, the social-media company has been the source of ethically questionable research, the purveyor of uncomfortable teacher-student interactions, and, of course, the consummate classroom distraction, scourge of lecture halls the world over.
At least on that last note, however, one researcher says higher
education has unfairly maligned the social-media behemoth. Kevin D.
Dougherty, an associate professor of sociology at Baylor University, has
spent the last two and a half years measuring how the Facebook group he
created for his introduction-to-sociology course affected student
performance. He found that students who participated in the online group
enjoyed the course more, felt a stronger sense of belonging, and got
better grades than those who did not participate.
In short, Mr. Dougherty says, the class’s Facebook page helped “turn
250 strangers that happen to sit in a class together into a community.”