I’ve just realized in the past day or two how I’ve been sucked into enabling students thanks to Facebook. I meant well, really I did.
It seems the majority of students (mostly new but returners as well) would rather ask a question on Facebook and wait for the minority to find the answer than use their technology to find it themselves. However, it’s hard to make these “helpful” students understand that it’s important for the majority to figure out how to find information themselves. I mean, I just made myself understand it today. In particular, the school where I work has a public Facebook group for each class of student. As you can expect, the Class of 2018 group is the most needy right now. I keep an eye on the groups to make sure the helpful folks don’t go spouting incorrect information, especially where it pertains to housing. I try to be as helpful as I can but over the course of the summer it started to get really frustrating that people were asking the same question over and OVER again. Not searching for the info themselves, not even searching that group for the key word to find the other 10 times the question was answered. Then my sister posted a link to this blog entry about not allowing students to email for simple things that were already covered in class or the syllabus:
Amen sister, amen. Why do we go to such great lengths to have things written down (paper or online) to help when most people don’t read it? And then we humor their helplessness by providing the answers instead of referring them back to where they can find it (or ignoring the request)? Once the student gets one thing answered, it’s like they become addicted to asking question after question and I don’t know how to wean them off because some people just like being helpful. I mean, who doesn’t like to feel needed, right? It’s one thing for a professor to decide they are not answering emails so the student learn to look at their information and have face to face conversations, but these Facebook groups are like a Pandora’s Box of learned helplessness with so many people contributing. Even if I had some control over posted content, it wouldn’t help the bigger picture. This is just a symptom of the disease, showing itself in a very public way.
Ugh. All these folks have grown up with so much powerful technology to help them navigate every part of their life, and they don’t even bother to use it. Such expensive gadgets and they are only used for texting and selfies.