By Michelle Eigenheer–
In a throwback to its roots, Facebook is creating an exclusive program that will bring college campuses into the virtual world.
This application, Groups for Schools, allows current university students and professors with .edu email addresses to interact with their school within the Facebook universe.
In a Facebook blog about the feature, Facebook engineer Michael Novati said, “You can join a group for your major to discuss classes, for your sorority to plan upcoming events or for your dorm to share photos.”
Members can also share files. According to the Facebook FAQ, “With Files, you can share lecture notes, assignments, schedules and many other file types with members of a school group. Anyone in a school group can upload and download files within that group.”
This new programs have the potential to offer both the positive and negative.
It allows students to better involve themselves with the university, keep up with their classes, and promote greater professor accessibility. Facebook is already a place where college students spend a great amount of time and by incorporating their schoolwork, it puts the life of a college student all in one place.
Savannah Buckey, a freshman medical engineering major at Vanderbilt University said, “It’s very convenient because you’re able to communicate with everybody all at once. Most people do it to do things like sell concert tickets and schedule cabs to go to airports… A lot of people use it for school projects to conduct surveys. Also, if you lose something, you just post it on there and somebody finds it.”
However, Groups for Schools will have less strict policies than the regular Facebook experience. Contacting people will be easier through the university page and student lives will be even more transparent in terms of where they live and work.
There is also a general concern that Facebook will become a place for file sharing and MP3 downloads. Facebook has announced that they will monitor their Files feature in order to prevent the site from becoming a mecca for online pirating and has limited file-sharing abilities to 25MB per file.
Groups for Schools was tested at Brown and Vanderbilt in December of 2011 and has since spread to other universities across the U.S.
The University of Louisville group was open late last week. It had over 900 members on Sunday.
Photo courtesy Facebook