E-mail, text messaging, social media. These are the preferred methods of communicating for today’s students. The question for professors is this: What is the appropriate way to communicate with students?
Some believe that a better learning experience is created when professors engage with students on their preferred platform. Although students would likely agree, what implication does this have for colleges? Is it appropriate for students to have their professors’ cell phone numbers and for professors to be friends with their students on Facebook?
The staff at Lakeland Community College in Kirtland, OH, believes it can be done, as long as there are guidelines.
According to our own 2012 Students and Technology survey, approximately 95% of our students use their cell phones for texting. As educators should we consider accommodating their preferred method of communication in our students-to-instructor communications?
As with other class interactions, students need to know what to expect. I’m not suggesting you be available via text 24-7. However, if you’re going to offer texting as a communication option, be sure to let them know when you will be available and approximately how long they can expect to wait for a response. If you can’t be reached on certain days or after certain hours, let them know what to expect.
But texting isn’t the only platform. Technology is changing many aspects of the traditional classroom, and if we aren’t careful, it can get in the way of pedagogy.
How can professors leverage e-mail, text messaging and social media to communicate with students? And what guidelines should be followed?