The comments at my last post are suggesting that email has been surpassed by IM, Facebook, and text messaging among the younger generation as the preferred means of electronic communication. (Maybe of any kind of communication.) That really gives me, as a professor, some pause as to my assumption that if I need to get information out to students in a timely way (say, about a change in an assignment or a last-minute announcement for class) or create a space for out-of-classroom discussion of ideas or assignments, email isn’t nearly as reliable as I think it is.
I’m OK with that if it’s true, but then there are two questions that come to mind as being pretty important from my perspective:
- If I have information that I need to get out to my students quickly and be reasonably assured that they’ll get it in time for it to be useful, what is the best way to do this? Is there no one best way, meaning that I need a plan to send the info out in multiple formats? (That would be time consuming = bad.)
- Whatever medium/media is the answer to the first question, where is the functionality for it in the major course management software packages like Angel? If it’s there, does it make sense to use the CMS proprietary version of the softwar or some third party app? (E.g. Angel’s chat feature versus plain old AIM?)
Also, would students appreciate professors using IM, texting, Facebook, etc. for class purposes, or do they really want to keep “their” means of communication for social purposes only? I tried using Facebook last year in relatively close contact with my precalculus class, and far from the students appreciating my efforts, they really felt resentful and creeped-out by the fact that their professors were on Facebook, which is “theirs”.