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Before your professor contacted you on Facebook

I recently saw an item on Facebook that caught my eye.

Here is a link to the new revised edition of the Zach Hunter book you asked about before class today.

This was a message from a college professor to one of his students. I happen to know both the professor and the student, by the way.

As I looked at the message, I thought about how things had changed since I was a student.

If Professor Ray Kierstead or Professor Arthur Leigh wanted to send me a message, they’d probably have to see me in class or encourage me to set up an appointment with them during office hours. Professor Kierstead or Professor Leigh wouldn’t just show up at my dorm room.

The professors obviously couldn’t send me a Facebook message like today’s professors can; Facebook wouldn’t even be established for another quarter century.

The professors couldn’t email me. Email was in its infancy, and even if the professors happened to have accounts on the DEC PDP/11-70 UNIX computer, I’d have to go all the way to the computer room to read them. It wasn’t like I had a computer terminal in my room or anything like that.

The professors couldn’t even phone me. Well, I guess they could; there was a pay phone in each of the dorms, and I think that they accepted incoming calls. (Younger readers, someday I’ll tell you what a “pay phone” was.)

So today, via Facebook, Twitter, Google+, or similar services, it is easy for professors to keep in touch with students and vice versa. Obviously there are drawbacks to this; if the professor happened to be vegan, and if the student happened to post something about a late night visit to In N Out, this could cause some issues. (However, I know that this particular professor likes turkey, so there’s no vegan issue here.)

I happened to think that this increased inter-communication is a good thing. But then again, I’m not a student today.

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2 thoughts on “Before your professor contacted you on Facebook

  1. Hi John – Good post. Have you thought about turning this post into one of your time travel stories to illustrate the change in technology?

  2. Great information. Lucky me I discovered your website by accident (stumbleupon).
    I have bookmarked it for later!

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