If you need help with online teaching or other challenges in academia arising from the COVID-19 crisis, we have prepared this FAQ to get you started.
332

Now it is more a matter of my authority. Well, yes... I’m sorry if this will come as a surprise to you, but coming across as an unreasonable, coercive boss who wants to force their students to participate in distasteful, privacy-violating activities that have zero relevance or value to their professional training, is in fact something that will greatly ...


79

No, this is not okay. If you lie your way into a position you are not suited for, you will almost certainly pay for it down the line. That's a very general rule, and I think it applies here. If you say you are willing to do X while interviewing for a PhD position and, after getting the position, you refuse to do X, then you are going to have soured the ...


78

Sometimes students behave childishly. They've only been adults for a few years, and some of them are still transitioning. In groups in particular, and with the anonymizing effect of the internet, immaturity can be amplified. The first thing to do, when faced with childish behavior, is increase the maturity of your own. Show them how childish they are by ...


76

Doing this without permission is unprofessional, and it may be illegal, depending on your jurisdiction. Asking for students' permission first is still unprofessional, especially in an exam situation, where students are already nervous, and given the power imbalance between the professor and the students. Who among the students will dare to object right ...


74

Every time I read "not part of my job description" I translate either a) "You are here to exploit me and I am protecting myself by exhausting the interpretation of any formal contractual agreements we may have" or b) "I am here to exploit you, namely to take as much as I can while offering as little as I can, and I do that by exhausting the ...


70

As soon as you have even a single preprint, people will begin searching online to find out who you are and what else you have done, so you must have a web page. It doesn't have to be elaborate, and it's enough to start with a few lines of professional contact information and a list of links to papers, but you have to have something. I think a generic web ...


69

tl;dr: You need to inspire, you mustn't coerce. If you believe it's significant for the group to invest time in social media presence, you need to convince incoming junior researchers of this fact. You need to provide compelling examples of how doing so helps the group and helps them. It's not sufficient that it helps only other people in the future - ...


68

It's hard to predict how this will develop in the future. As is, I have yet to hear any positive success story from my peers. All I've heard of ResearchGate are complaints about their invitation spam. If you sign up (or are already signed up), make sure to carefully check all settings. There are some "hidden" settings that will repeatedly send out "...


63

Hard No. This isn't only unethical, it's also a really bad idea in practice. Unethical: Every PhD position I have ever heard of requires you to do things that aren't part of the requirements to get a PhD (teach, do project work, help your supervisor with reviews, and so on). This is why you get a stipend or salary. Your prospective supervisor communicates ...


56

Perhaps it's different in other fields, but in math, it isn't pretentious for a PhD student to operate their own website, and it's quite common. (Most schools, at least in the US, provide the space for students to host a personal website.) Furthermore, I'd say that after a couple years, a PhD student (again, in math) absolutely should have a personal ...


56

I distrust it for an entirely different reason. I once wanted to download a paper, and could only do it if I signed up. I signed up by logging on with my facebook account... Well, academia.edu took my profile information, and, without me knowing it, created an academia profile. With my picture, publications it could find via search engines, and a list of ...


54

It depends a little on the circumstances, but generally not. If the student is your Ph.D. student, then it's probably OK to accept a friend request, but you shouldn't initiate it (and some people might not even approve of accepting it, depending on the sort of advising relationship you have). If it's an undergraduate in one of your classes, then I don't ...


51

To add to Johanna's answer, I think the professor should also say something about when the students are looking for jobs before/after graduation. If a potential employer happens to see a prospective employee's negative posts, the employer will think, "What if this person has that kind of attitude here?" -- and pass over the applicant. (For a similar reason ...


51

It's not fair to only look at the peak of the distribution. For an apples-to-apples comparison, you need to compare peaks to peaks and averages to averages. The two sources you mention are both in the field of machine learning. If we assume that they correspond to the blog/lecture notes sources with the most number of citations (i.e. the peaks), then we can ...


46

Forcing him will not yield desirable results, appeal to his egoistic interests I think even if you could force him to comply by insisting on his contractual obligations or threating to sue/fire him the produced result would be of low quality because the type of work (creating Youtube videos) requires a positive attitude, i.e. appearing happy and interested. ...


42

I can't disagree more with Johanna's answer - which is currently the most upvoted. It is completely ridiculous and has sparks of fairy-tale revenge. Let's go over the basics: These are kids. I am assuming you are in a country that accepts free speech. Making fun of someone is not online harassment nor harassment of any level. It is simply making fun ...


41

Is there any explicit advantage I would get by joining the course's Facebook page If you want to interact with your classmates on Facebook before starting the course, then joining the page would enable this. or equivalently, is there any disadvantage of not joining? If you don't feel a need to do the above, then no. There is no reason to expect this to ...


37

There are two separate issues here: the first is that the students are saying abusive things about you in a Facebook group, and the other is the risk of introducing personal judgement in your grading. The students' behaviour is inappropriate. I suggest that you bring the group to your professor's attention, and look through the student handbook/Code of ...


34

Facebook is not a collaboration tool. It is a tool for advertising companies and the government to gather information about people; that is the business model and the primary intent. Interaction and collaboration are at best secondary effects. Now, other social networks controlled by commercial entities and many have business models which involve ...


31

Personally the professors and PhD students I remember well are the ones with an elaborate page for themselves. From what I have learnt from this site, a PhD is simply not merely about publications, citations and academic work. You need to build contacts, make friends and network in the academia, which as such is a small place. Having a page for yourselves ...


29

I would avoid it and refer them to linkedin as an alternative.


29

I think the most important part of your question is the bit about "with the same name". ResearchGate has very loose and rather questionable practices in how they manage their citation data, which tends to err on the side of inclusion. Moreover, their terrible user interface makes it very easy for somebody to do things like click "add all" and end up with ...


28

I am a law professor, and I am equally pissed with research gate. It would be unwise and inappropriate to give you specific advice about your own situation: this would likely constitute the unauthorized practice of law; for actual legal advice about the claims and defenses and legal strategies that apply to your situation, consult a competent lawyer ...


28

The requirement to present work is a very reasonable ask, and in fact part of what a PhD student is supposed to learn. That said, take a step back and think about what you're asking for. Perhaps "produce a video" or "submit to an interview" might not be a fair ask, both for different reasons. Producing a video requires expertise which, arguably, has ...


27

There are two simple important rules: Never initiate a friend request with a student If you accept a Facebook friend request from a student in a class that you are currently teaching then you must accept friend requests from all students in that class. Beyond those rules things are more complicated.


27

My question now is where I can find other researchers on this topic. The usual approach is to build up your own credentials and reputation first, then go to conferences and give talks and meet people, and only then seek out collaborations. In my opinion, what you propose is likely to be difficult. At least in my field, it is not common for reputable ...


25

he claims it is not part of the job description for a PhD. But the matter has nothing to do with what he "claims"; either it is a part of his job description or not. If it is not, then you should cease and desist, there is nothing to discuss here. I'm quite astonished that some answers blame the student for referring to his job description and get upvotes. ...


24

In the US a cease and desist letter does not do what you think it does. C&Ds are outside the usual legal process and serve as a warning to the recipient that you might sue them. Good ones describe in some level of detail the legal wrongs that the recipient has perpetrated against you and spell out the sender's plan to sue if the recipient does not cease ...


23

Is this behavior alright? Should it be tolerated? Well, it certainly does not seem very professional to me, and I would neither do it nor suggest it to any other lecturer. That being said, I can certainly imagine small, informal master-level classes, where doing this may be perceived as a fun gimmick and not as outrageous. Whether you should tolerate it ...


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