Can Educational Institutes Use Facebook As Conversational Medium?

Do you think Facebook suffices the need or should educational institutes look beyond Facebook for a conversational medium?

educational insititutes and facebook
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Image Courtesy: Buzzom.com

Today Facebook is synonymous with the Internet; from businesses to individuals everyone wants to use the medium and wishes to build a community. If there are bigger brands then smaller brands are not leaving any stone unturned too. Along with these, educational institutes have found this platform useful too and are trying to experiment. Last year we had reviewed IIMC using social media quite effectively to communicate with present and past students. Facebook has played a major role and recently we shared a news with you that NMIMS plans to use Facebook not only as an awareness model but it also wants to use it as an engagement portal between students and teachers.

Facebook definitely is a great social tool but saying that it also has its pitfalls like all things in this world. The biggest question that arises in my mind is that you can’t control nor can you monitor it 24*7. Social Media is a space of self-expression but then how would you stop bullying in this space or bad mouthing among students, teachers, staff members, etc. Even if you have created house rules still you can’t stop people doing such things. And as we all might know that Facebook is more of a social place rather than being a communication platform. But then today norms are being broken to make new ones.

Nimesh Shah, Head Maven of WindChimes who has clients from the educational world, in a telephonic conversation expressed that,

“Facebook acts as a great repository and aggregator for all the content of institutes. The challenge for such engagement is education itself. The way Indians think about education is from very different lenses and we need to maintain it. Engagement on educational pages can’t be in a FMCG way, it has to be smart and intelligent.”

He further added that each platform has to be defined well, for example for schools it’s a very local engagement. So activate age-old forums for such engagement.

Nimesh has just echoed my sentiments. I have been a firm believer of forums and as I had expressed earlier too that forums still play a great role in interaction and for institutes like NMIMS it is apt. In fact IIMC also has an internal forum that drives engagement between their communities. Nimesh also shared the example of Pagalguy, a great example that is a forum everything about MBA. And of late I am told that AssetAmbassador is a great platform for school children to engage which is far more secure than Facebook. However I am yet to review them.

One another startup that is in the market in this space is Eduora and I have played with it for a while and I was impressed. When I spoke to Nagarjun Palavalli about his thoughts on this article over a mail, he was quite humble to add this:

“I don’t want to sound very biased or opinionated about the topic since we are in the business of building exactly that. However, the premise is what you describe. The reason Facebook is being used in education, however limited is because the nature of education is to not just learn but also network. While Facebook is great for networking, it isn’t particularly meant for education. Students or teachers wouldn’t want to do any kind of serious work on Facebook.

A dedicated network such as ours (you know we had to mention that 🙂 here) combines the social parts of a network like Facebook while providing important tools for education. It can’t stop there though. It needs to interact well with the existing networks that teachers and students use.”

Indeed there are no doubts that Facebook is a great platform for social communication and creating awareness. I have also seen some great implementation of engagement models by businesses but adopting it for a platform of discussion among teachers and students is something we should brainstorm more.

Do you think Facebook suffices the need or should educational institutes look beyond Facebook for a conversational medium?

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