“College faculty have an opportunity to engage students using Facebook and to help them use the site for educational good,” Junco wrote.

How professor-sanctioned Facebook use impacts students’ grades has been a point of debate in recent years.

A study published last year charged that scanning Facebook news feeds and sending texts while studying were “negatively related to overall GPA,” echoing findings from social media research presented in the past two years.

Using eMail while studying was an entirely different story.

Incorporating eMail into schoolwork had a positive impact on student grades, likely because students use eMail to communicate with professors and teaching assistants, according to the study, “A Decade of Distractions: How Multitasking Affects Student Outcomes.”

In other words, students use eMail for academic purposes, while social media sites like Twitter and Facebook are social web activities usually unrelated to homework or studying.

Fifty-two percent of study respondents said they send and receive texts while doing schoolwork, and 34 percent said they used Facebook while studying.

The debate over the distraction of social media on college campuses heated up last April when an infographic, “Is Social Media Ruining Students?” published by OnlineEducation.net, distilled reams of social media research and lists the pros and cons of how social sites are used on campuses.

Facebook and studying can be an academically toxic combination, lowering grades by up to 20 percent, according to the infographic.

The infographic also shows that students who abstain from Facebook–only 4 percent of U.S. college students can claim this–work three times more per week than their counterparts on the popular site.