On Teaching Fashion: Social Media Guidelines

Kelly Cobb’s articles on staying in touch with students are fantastic. (Click the links to read Part I and Part II)   She offers great insights on how to really connect and maintain a long-term relationship with students.  One of the most rewarding aspects of teaching is seeing your students succeed.  This means that staying in touch after the course has finished is paramount.

Social media has changed the way we maintain relationships.  My previous posts have touched on the fact that I support using technology in the classroom.  Sites like Facebook and Twitter can be fantastic ways to communicate with current and former students.    However, when used improperly, these sites can undermine your authority in the classroom.  I have very specific policies and habits about using social media.  As an instructor, you must have certain professional boundaries.  Each university has a different policy, but it’s good to have your own set of rules.  Here are a few guidelines that I use:
  1. Never accept a friend request from a current student.  You are an instructor, and not their friend.  This sets the tone that you are in charge.  There is no possibility of your authority to be compromised.  Facebook tends to allow more access to personal information.  Allowing students too much access to your personal information can lead accusations of favoritism, or worse.  Save yourself potential issues by waiting until the course is over.
  2. Create a fanpage or twitter account to post meaningful content.  While this shouldn’t be a substitute for what you post for your course content, you should be posting things via social media.  Students are always on these sites, and chances are the content will reach them faster on one of these two platforms.  Twitter is great for posting links to interesting articles.  Fanpages on Facebook are also a way to distribute the same information without having to add your students as friends.  Also, consider that former students can benefit from the material on social networks.
  3. Post photos of former student’s work.  This can be a blast from the past for former students.  With the hetic pace, many can forget their achievements.  It’s a fun way to look back at a course.  The images can be shared easily if they’d like to use it for a portfolio.  It can be a great resource for current students, too.  Just remember etiquette: ask for permission before posting.

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1 Comment

  • Kelly August 17, 2012 09.07 am

    Great Monica! I agree on never accepting facebook or linked in from current students, more so that I want to keep my profiles attractive for potential opportunities and want to have “aspirational” content on my pages!


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