I’m a big proponent of extracurricular activities, particularly in an intensive ESL program. Of course, the curriculum must be good — that’s a given — but the extra curricular activities play an extremely important role in students’ learning by immersing students in English through trips, activities, and connections to other speakers of English.
Like many intensive ESL programs, we offer a wide range of activities to students: field trips, conversation partners, movies, lectures, and more. We have also started a Facebook page as a way to publicize our activities and to build community around these activities. We have also embraced an online course management system (CMS) which we use to interact with and disseminate curricular information to students. But, is there a way to integrate the two?
The result is a list of 5 extracurricular (or other) announcements and reminders that students can click on to see more information on our Facebook page. As a bonus, the Facebook RSS feed only includes items posted by our page administrators. So, even if students post messages on our wall, which we encourage, they will not be able to send messages out to all of our course pages. And because our Facebook page is public, students don’t need to be logged in to Facebook to read these messages.
Does it work? We’re still rolling it out, so it’s too early to call it a success. But I think integrating our Facebook page into our course management system makes a lot of sense because it multiplies the usefulness and reach of our online presence.