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Social Connect

Teachers and students build a bridge and connect on social media,seeing it as a platform to break ice and be contextual

The guru-shishya relationship has widely been considered sacred in the country. The student — dependent,emotionally,intellectually and spiritually on the teacher — could only communicate with him with reverent awe. Enter social networking sites and the dynamics have undergone enormous change as teachers and students turn “friends” on these websites. While some critics might go by the idea that interacting on social media might be an improper way of communication between students and teachers,there are some who point out that it is a fairly advantageous move if maintained within certain limits.

Manohar Desai,Head of Department,Communication Design at Symbiosis Institute of Design picked up this trend during his travels abroad. “While I would visit different countries to conduct seminars and workshops on calligraphy,I would interact with many foreign students. Most of them would send me a friend request by the time I got back to India. That’s when I learnt that it’s a great way to stay in touch. So when my students here send me a request,I don’t hesitate to accept it,” says Desai. He uses Facebook to share updates about assignments,remind students about deadlines and share insightful articles from the internet for his students. Desai reveals that students from his college in Pune have got in touch with others from across the world to share ideas and designs through his profile. “Some teachers might be afraid of students misusing their profile on Facebook by commenting or posting derogatory content but I have never had such an experience. My students do comment on my posts but they keep their business strictly academic and so do I,” says Desai.

Agreeing with Desai,Anagha Wairagade,assistant professor of biotechnology at Nowrosjee Wadia College,says though she interacts with students on Facebook,she ensures that no limits are crossed. “I do not keep a tab on the profiles of my students and look out for what they are up to,who they are clicking photos with or where they are making check-ins. I use social media to update them about assignments and share interesting articles and reference links related to my subject,”

says Wairagade.

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She even finds it easier to get through to students via the social platform of Facebook rather than face-to-face conversations,which can get intimidating for them.

While teachers use their profiles to share knowledge with their students outside the classroom,students in turn use the social platform to stay updated with their syllabus as well as to get to know their teachers in a better way. “I was surprised that one day my teacher asked me how my dog was doing. I realised that I had posted about my dog being unwell and she had noticed it. I was happy that my teacher could relate to me on a personal level. It worked as an ice-breaker and helped me get candid about portions I was having difficulty with in class,” says Abhir Agarwal,a student of Ness Wadia College.

Kushal Bansal,a student of MBA from Institute of Industrial and Computer Management and Research (IICMR),Pradhikaran,says his professor,who is a “friend” on Facebook,posts updates about job placements. “Many of my classmates have added my professor on their friend list because they get to know of opportunities as he posts about it. It is very helpful for us,” says Bansal.

First published on: 26-11-2013 at 04:05:57 am
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