Before moving into our discussion of facebook, here are a few announcements:
- Your social media resource content for our blog must be posted by next Wednesday, our last class! I just added categories for each group. Also, once you post your resources, I will add them as links in our social media resources page. To make room for this page, I took the reading schedule and put it at the end of the course syllabus page. As part of your resource guide, please include a brief (1-2 paragraph) explanation of your resources, I will include your explanation (along with links to your various entries) on the social media resources page.
- Here's a reminder of remaining assignments, including your final statement.
Here's a breakdown of today's class:
- Pedagogical Question and related blog discussion on the role of experience/positionality in feminist pedagogical practices
- Discussion of readings and topic
- Break at 5:20
- Facebook Learning Activity at 5:30
Vulnerability, Privacy, Community, Safety
As instructors, how much access (to our personal lives, to our time) should we give our students? How is this question complicated when we become facebook friends with our students?
How do we negotiate our various selves/roles/identities on facebook? Can it be productive to make our "personal/private" selves visible for those who normally only encounter our "professional/public" selves? What are the benefits of this visibility? The drawbacks?
Does this visibility enable us to be vulnerable to/in the midst of others in potentially productive ways? What are the limits/dangers of this vulnerability?
How do public and private function in a feminist classroom? On facebook? (How) do these spaces complicate and demand a rethinking of the public/private distinction?
What is privacy? Check out this trailer for a longer video on "Choose privacy week"
Should/can a feminist classroom be a safe space? Is facebook a safe space?
safety: (from Fisher, 140):
"Honest participation in feminist discourse meant bringing as much of yourself as you could to such discussions, drawing on experiences, feelings, and ideas that might promote liberating actions" (Fisher, 141).
Is trust important to feeling safe? Or in engaging even when one doesn't feel safe? Does facebook make us more/less trustworthy?
trust self-disclosure honesty vulnerability safety
privilege and "differential vulnerabilities" (Fisher, 150)
Kishimoto and Mwangi: "However, just like Munro, we 'seek simultaneously to create and disrupt notions of the subject' (1) and thereby create fluid spaces in which to articulate and make sense of our positionalities in different contextual landscapes" (90). Does facebook allow for these types of negotiations? Is it a fluid space where we can make sense of our various positionalities?
On self-disclosure Mwangi writes:
On a false sense of safety Kishimoto writes:Self-disclosure is the element of explaining who I am, where I come from and where I am going, as well as my professional background at the beginning of the course. I often feel obligated to do this to establish my presence in the classroom. It is like letting the students know--"hello, I am here! And I have something to offer!!"--Self-disclosure becomes a way of not only authenticating my presence in the classroom but also talking back to myself acknowledges up front that I am in a position of vulnerability and thereby invokes a reminder to myself that I am braced to do what I need to do (92).
This false sense of safety implied by surveillance is only creating a controlled and predictable environment that does not challenge the hegemonic system, thereby ignoring our subjective positionalities (94).
On the value of being unsettled (troubled?) Mwangi and Kishimoto write:
To imagine that learning only occurs in a place of "calm" is to miss the ways in which contradictions, ambiguities, anger, pain, and struggles can be sources of energy to facilitate critical consciousness necessary for individual and social change (98).
"proper" rules of engagement: The major issue with using fb for student contact is that this site not an academic space but rather a social networking space where lines between what is expected regarding academic rigor and "fml! wtf! *expletive!*" might become too blurry or too difficult to regulate regarding decorum, grades, and objectivity.
privacy concerns: Using FB as a site for class discussion - it may violate the privacy laws that colleges are bound by. FB exists to sell information, and all information is retained by both FB and those to whom it sells information. Since colleges and universities are not allowed to share student information - including student class participation comments - using FB as a site for course information/interaction could violate this and make you and your institution liable. Privacy settings don't really help - deleting FB accounts and pages does not mean that FB does not retain the information, and I don't know that you can make pages private if the user accounts are not also set to private...
managing workload: What strikes me as I read everyone's comments is that using Facebook means you have to work more. Prepping, teaching, and grading papers already take so much of my time - at the notoriously low adjunct pay rate - there's no way I'd have time to give more to my students via Facebook.
Over-sharing and too much information (TMI): The result might be that you learn information you didn't want to know about your students, even if the instructor is totally appropriate.
Managing different identities/selves: One of the problems with FB is that it's easy to forget who you are friends with, which then makes it easy to share information with people whom you would have preferred not to share it (even something as innocuous as a comment about a t.v. show: maybe you don't want your colleagues to know that you watch that show, or maybe you don't want your students to know that you were watching that show instead of grading their papers.).
From Harriet Schwartz:
Connecting and Mentoring: Being available to students via e-mail, texting, instant messaging, and Facebook requires me to set boundaries, and that takes a little more work and discipline than merely holding office hours. In my experience, students appreciate my accessibility and without question respect my boundaries. I believe that even this surface-level contact is important, helping us maintain and strengthen our connection until the next big question arises. I now see Facebook as part of the larger commons, a space in which we stay connected. Facebook, instant messaging, and the like keep my metaphorical office door open. And that increases the potential for real-time, face-to-face conversations that are rich with connection, depth, risk-taking, and growth.
From danah boyd:
Social media is not a space of post-racial utopia: There is still bigotry, and the divisions run deep in the U.S. We often talk about the Internet as the great equalizer, the space where we can be free of all of the weights of inequality. And yet, what we find online is often a reproduction of all of the issues present in everyday life. The Internet does not magically heal old wounds or repair broken bonds between people. More often, it shows just how deep those wounds go and how structurally broken many relationships are. In this way, the Internet is often a mirror of the ugliest sides of our society, the aspects of our society that we so badly need to address. What the Internet does -- for better or worse -- is make visible aspects of society that have been delicately swept under the rug and ignored. We could keep on sweeping, or we could take the moment to rise up and develop new strategies for addressing the core issues that we're seeing. Bigotry doesn't go away by eliminating only what's visible. It is eradicated by getting at the core underlying issues. What we're seeing online allows us to see how much work there's left to do.