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Professors’ Facebook Profiles Affect How Students Perceive Them

A new academic study reports that college students’ perceptions of their professors are shaped by their teachers’ Facebook profiles, but that this did not affect class choice.

Researchers at Kent State University and South Carolina’s Winthrop University have found that students’ perceptions of their college professors are influenced by their Facebook profiles… but that viewing a professor’s Facebook profile doesn’t influence which class a student takes. The study, published in the new issue of Cyberpsychology, Behavior, and Social Networking, was designed to examine how professors’ public Facebook profiles influenced college class selection.

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According to authors Merry Sleigh, Aimee Smith, and Jason Laboe, students’ perception of the competence, personality, and teaching style of individual professors are significantly influenced by seeing a professor’s public Facebook profile beforehand. Students were primarily gratified by professors listing professional credentials and career highlights on Facebook; profiles which contained political or religious content, however, were highly divisive among students.

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