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Online Environments. With 99% of college students online, understanding the online landscape has become imperative for college administrators 1 The traditional mindset of how people meet, engage, and interact are being rethought as the population of online participants increases 2

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online environments
Online Environments
  • With 99% of college students online, understanding the online landscape has become imperative for college administrators 1
  • The traditional mindset of how people meet, engage, and interact are being rethought as the population of online participants increases 2
  • Members of an online environment often produce a sense of community 34
  • University technology allows students to work 24/7, wireless, and faster then ever 5
  • More than ever, technology is viewed as a tool, a more efficient means of communication through otherwise unconnected groups 5
  • Student affairs professionals must learn this new technology, in addition to the pros and cons 5

Student Affairs and Technology

what is facebook
What is Facebook?
  • Founded as Thefacebook in February 2004 by Harvard students as an educational resource
  • The name of the site is based on hardcopy “facebooks” that many colleges distribute to incoming students
  • Facebook has now become a social networking service for high school, college, and university communities
  • Anyone with access to a valid email address from a postsecondary institution can register and access the site
  • Users include: students, alumni, faculty, and staff
  • Personal profiles allow users to post photos, list interests, exchange public or private messages, and join groups of friends
  • Viewing of detailed profiled data is restricted to users from the same school or confirmed friends, but this can be changed in their personal options
  • The site is free to all users and is financed by advertising 6
purpose of facebook
Purpose of Facebook
  • The general purpose of Facebook is “social networking” 78
    • An avenue for communicating with friends, past and present
    • Through a technique labeled “poking”, one can show affection to another user
    • Friends can post messages and comments on users’ “walls”, viewable to anyone
    • Create and share photo albums
    • Meet people with different interests via user created “groups”
    • Private messaging can also take place, similar to sending email

Scope of Facebook

  • Ninth most visited internet site 9
  • 3.4 million users at 2,027 campuses and 22,000 high schools 1011
  • Two-thirds of users visit the site daily, with users averaging six visits per day 910
  • Three billion monthly page views and 2.2 million unique U.S. visitors per day 11
  • Traffic on Facebook is 80 times greater than the combined visitation of all college newspaper web sites 11
how u s campuses are dealing with the issues
How U.S. campuses are dealing with the issues
  • The Ohio State University used Facebook to find students who rushed the field after a football game so the university could pursue judicial action 12
  • Fisher College expelled the student government president after he joined a group defaming a police officer 12
  • Northern Kentucky University charged students with code violations for pictures of underage drinking posted on Facebook 13
  • The University of New Mexico has banned Facebook from its campus network 9
relevance of the facebook in academia
Relevance of the Facebook in Academia

The Chronicle of Higher Education 14 has identified four key issues involving the connection between college and technology:

  • High school students have voiced a greater appreciation for campus technology forcing administrators to pour money into projects.
  • Improper use of technology can violate campus academic policies.
  • Outside constituents such as parents are voicing concerns about on campus behavior highlighted on Facebook.
  • Technology can be a distraction from academics.
getting to know facebook
Getting to Know Facebook


Last Update



High School



Relationship Status


Friends at DU

privacy settings
Privacy Settings
  • Basic Settings
  • Users can choose 4 different privacy options that protect the user’s profile.
  • Advanced Settings
  • Allows users to specify:
  • who can search their profile
  • who can see their profile
  • what profile information is viewable
  • Blocking People
  • Individual users can be blocked to prohibit any contact being made through Facebook.
tutorial overview
Tutorial Overview
  • Previous research regarding online environments was used as a template for the tutorial
  • Topics identified as imperative to address in the tutorial were pulled from the headlines of campus newspapers across the country
  • Personal experience also aided in the creation of questions that have current relevancy
  • The tutorial will be administered in two stages:
    • Stage 1: Informational skit to be included on the first day of Diversity University’s mandatory two day freshmen Orientation. The skit will present a variety of topics and situations involving campus safety.
    • Stage 2: Online tutorial of facts and written information pertinent to online safety. The online tutorial will take roughly 20-30 minutes to complete and will be administered in a university computer lab at the end of the first day of the Orientation program. Students will be required to complete the tutorial and quiz in order to receive their university username and password (necessary for course registration the following day).
  • The criteria for passing will be a grade of a “B” or higher before receiving online university access
  • Students who fail must retake the tutorial and exam.
issues addressed in tutorial
Issues Addressed in Tutorial
  • Who has access to Facebook? Anyone who has a university based email account, including students, faculty, staff, and alumni
  • Facebook “terms of use” policy:Students should be aware of the policy and understand its application
  • What is public? Unless specific privacy settings are utilized, the internet is a public forum for anyone to view
  • User responsibility: Students must consider that their profile should be a reflection of their values and identity
  • Displaying personal information: Phone numbers, class schedules, and addresses are an invitation for compromising situations
  • Employers: Anecdotal evidence shows employers are using Facebook as a tool for screening candidates
  • Statistics on Facebook: Access is not limited to a student’s own university; the scope far exceeds students’ expectations
  • Online addiction/time management: The average user logs into Facebook six times daily; time that could be allocated to educational activities
  • Healthy social networking: Facebook and other online forums can be useful tools for communication in an array of areas when used in a cautious and safe manner
sample quiz questions for tutorial
Sample Quiz Questions for Tutorial
  • Is it possible for employers to access your Facebook profile?
    • No, it is not possible
    • Yes, if they have access through a “.edu” account (such as an alumni account or if the employer is taking classes at an institution of higher education supported by Facebook)
  • It is okay to create Facebook groups for anything?
    • Yes
    • No Pop-up after response is given –the Facebook terms of use indicate that you cannot “upload, post, email, transmit or otherwise make available any content that we deem to be harmful, threatening, abusive, harassing, vulgar, obscene, hateful, or racially, ethnically or otherwise objectionable;
  • It is okay to alter a friend’s Facebook profile, only if it is a joke.
    • True
    • False Pop-up after response is given – Facebook terms of use indicate “use or attempt to use another's account, service or system without authorization from Web site, or create a false identity on this website.”
  • Are there tools to confirm information posted online on Facebook or blogs is factual?
    • Yes, the network administrators confirm identity
    • Yes, the user varies the information is factual
    • No, there is no way to confirm an identity or information online
  • Is it possible for alumni to access Facebook?
    • No, alumni are not allowed
    • Yes, if they are using their .edu account

Sample Online Tutorial

Sample Issue Discussion

Sample Question

Student View of Online Tutorial and Quiz

post tutorial assessment
Post-Tutorial Assessment
  • In order to assess the effectiveness of the tutorial, a survey will be administered the semester following completion of the tutorial regarding how students feel the tutorial has affected their online activities.
  • The survey will be sent to students’ email addresses. To boost the response rates of the survey, a raffle incentive will be offered in collaboration with the campus bookstore.
  • In addition, judicial violations involving online activities during the current fall semester will be compared to those during the fall semester of the previous year in which first year students did not participate in a tutorial.

1 Student Monitor (2003). Computing & the Internet: Fall 2002. Ridgewood, NJ: Author

2 Brown, N . R. (2002). 'Community' Metaphors Online: A Critical and Rhetorial Study Concerning Online Groups. Business Communication Quarterly, 65(2), 92-100.

3 Anderson, B. (2004). Dimensions of learning and support in an online community. Open Learning, 19(2), 183-190.

4 Rovai, A. (2002). Building sense of community at a distance. International Review of Research in Open and Distance Learning, 2(1), 1-16.

5 Hitch, L. P. (2005, Winter). Extreme makeover: Technology’s effect on student affairs. Student Affairs On-line, 6(1).

6 Facebook (website). (n.d.). Retrieved February 13, 2006, from FaceBook

7 Barratt, W., Corn, A., Costello, P., Couture, R., Harkness, S., & VanLue, A. (2003, March). Integrating On-Line and Interpersonal Residence Hall Communities. Paper presented at the American College Personnel Association Annual Conference, Minneapolis, MN.

8 Green, E. W. (2005, November 14). The web of social networking. U.S. News and World Report, 139(18), n.p.

9 Hass, N. (2006, January 8). In your, New York Times, 30.

10 Lashinsky, A. (2006, November). Facebook stares down success. Fortune, 125 (11), 40.

11 FacebookFall 2005 expansion allows advertisers to reach 8 of 10 college students nationwide.

(2005, August 16). PR Newswire US. Retrieved February 13, 2006 from

12 Read, B. (2006, January 20). Think before you share. The Chronicle of Higher Education, 52(20), A38.

13 Woo, S. (2005, November 3). Schools use Facebook to run background checks on students. Brown Daily Herald, n.p.

14 Bugeja, M. J. (2006, January 27). Facing the Facebook. The Chronicle of Higher Education, 52(21), C1.