Student Reactions to Professor Use of Facebook

Date of Award


Document Type



College of Arts and Sciences



Degree Name

Bachelor of Art in Psychology

Honors Thesis Director

Merry Sleigh

Honors Thesis Reader 1

Donna Nelson

Honors Thesis Reader 2

Kathy Lyon


Mazer, Murphy and Simonds (2007) recently demonstrated that high self-disclosure, compared to low self-disclosure, on a fictitious professor's Facebook profile was related to students' expectations of a positive classroom environment and high levels of motivation. These findings raise the question of whether all types of self-disclosure would have the same effect. This study examined college students' perceptions of specific ways that professors might use Facebook. We created six Facebook profiles for a fictitious male professor, each with a specific emphasis: Republican, Democrat, religious, family- oriented, socially oriented, or professional only. While viewing a printed version of one of the randomly distributed profiles, participants responded to questions that assessed their perceptions of the professors' teaching ability, classroom demeanor and appropriateness of self-disclosure, as well as their own Facebook use. Students responded most negatively, but sometimes with greatest interest, to professors' posting of social and political information. Appropriate use of Facebook, including professional and family information, increased students' respect for the professor and his classroom. These findings could be very helpful in guiding professor Facebook use.

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