The Ethical Implications of Facebook in Education

Facebook’s reach into our society is unique in scale: 1.94 billion monthly active users (March, 2017), and with its subsidiaries Instagram and WhatsApp it accounts for 77 percent of mobile social traffic. As a result, Facebook has come to be regarded as a public utility – this is not the case however. In learning and teaching contexts in particular, whether it is used officially or otherwise, Facebook’s business model raises a number of important questions.

I have assembled a set of online resources intended as an accessible and easy to understand guide enabling people to draw their own conclusions about the appropriateness of Facebook in education; primarily focused on higher education contexts. References to professional literature are included for those who wish to investigate further. Similarly, all online resources are linked directly. Readers may also find the Resources page of interest.

The subject is framed under three main headings: Privacy (relating to personal privacy), Support (considering a holistic approach to student support), and Data (concerning the data profiling practices at Facebook).

The site is available here:

Random Twist Turns 1!

Today marks Random Twist's first birthday. Random Twist (RT) is a collaboration network developed by and for the staff and students of the following programmes at the School of Creative Arts and Technologies at Ulster University:

Long frustrated with the inflexibility of Virtual Learning Environments (VLE) and/or Learning Management Systems (LMS) and their unsuitability for content-rich subjects, yet firmly invested in the potential of the Web, RT brings together social technologies and contemporary media-rich content management which in turn forms the software home for three subject partners.

One years in and the platform is–as hoped–realising exciting collaboration and knowledge sharing opportunities between staff and students from all courses, and all years. I'll publish more details of our findings in the future.

Random Twist has been built using open-source software including: LinuxNginxWordPress and BuddyPress. All analytics are captured utilising Piwik which is again open-source with all data owned by the School of Creative Arts and Technologies.