Shobha Vadrevu (first year PhD student at CNM) presented a paper at the ICA conference in Boston this year entitled “Teacher Identity and Selective Strategies for Mediating Interactions with Students on Facebook”. Judged one of the Top 5 Papers submitted to the Instructional and Developmental Communication Division, it won an award of US$400.
The paper focused on the implications of teachers’ use of social networking sites like Facebook to mediate communication with their students in informal contexts. It discussed the implications of teacher selection of Facebook menu options for teacher identity and interaction with students. Earlier work on identity, social penetration, and risk and opportunity in online settings was drawn on to develop a conceptual framework for analysing teacher strategies to control intimacy levels with their students. This paper drew on a study involving 12 secondary school teachers and their decisions regarding interactions with students on Facebook. It suggested that teacher selectivity of menu options, whilst enabling teachers to manage the dilemmas of merging their personal and professional identities in online social network environments like Facebook, also has the potential to generate ‘walled intimacies’ whereby some students have access to teachers and others do not.
Shobha is grateful to Dr. Dianne Carr and Dr. Wilma Clarke of the Institute of Education (London) as well as Professor Lim Sun Sun of the National University of Singapore for their guidance, insight and support.