The Chronicle of Higher Education reports on a new online term, “creepy treehouse”:
A growing number of professors are experimenting with Facebook, Twitter, and other social-networking tools for their courses, but some students greet an invitation to join professors’ personal networks with horror, seeing faculty members as intruders in their private online spaces. Recognizing that, some professors have coined the term “creepy treehouse” to describe technological innovations by faculty members that make students’ skin crawl.
In any venue, mixing business with pleasure can be awkward, but one commenter notes:
It seems if students are finding use of online sites for class and personal use as creepy we have failed as a system in our integration of what happens in the courseroom with what can happen in the real world…
Later in the comments, a professor offers what seems to be a wise via media: don’t friend your undergraduate students, mention to your grad students that you are on Facebook, and friend them only if they make the request first.
To me, it seems that ESN members may have good reason to connect with their professors online. If you are pursuing an academic vocation, your professors are not merely your teachers, but also your future colleagues.
But what do others think?
The former Associate Director for the Emerging Scholars Network, Micheal lives in Cincinnati with his wife and three children and works as a web manager for a national storage and organization company. He writes about work, vocation, and finding meaning in what you do at No Small Actors.