In your Facebook: Examining Facebook usage as misbehavior on perceived teacher credibility

Abstract

Teachers sometimes do things that negatively impact their own credibility in classroom settings. One way instructors maintain credibility among students is by keeping a veil between their personal and professional personas. The advent of Facebook presents new challenges for instructors seeking to keep their personal lives private in order to maintain credibility among students. In educational settings, Facebook communications can blur the personal and professional boundaries that students and professors are accustomed to. As such, instructors in higher education sometimes struggle with the implications of ‘friending’ students in the context of social networking. The purpose of this study was to examine whether or not educator usage of Facebook had any impact on student perceptions of instructor credibility. Facebook presence was examined in the context of teacher ‘misbehaviors’ (that is, actions by educators that negatively impact their credibility). A modified version of Teven and McCroskey’s (1997) Source Credibility Instrument was given to a sample of college students (N = 187) to compare instructors that use Facebook with those who do not. While students appear to be generally accepting of instructor usage of the social tool, some findings suggest that there are probably ways to abuse it in a manner that could lead to negative perceptions of credibility. Ultimately, results from this study indicated that there were no significant differences among student perceptions of instructor credibility based on whether or not an educator used Facebook.

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Correspondence to Jason S. Hutchens.

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Hutchens, J.S., Hayes, T. In your Facebook: Examining Facebook usage as misbehavior on perceived teacher credibility. Educ Inf Technol 19, 5–20 (2014). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10639-012-9201-4

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Keywords

  • Facebook
  • Credibility
  • Misbehavior
  • Instructor
  • Communication
  • Social media