Posts Tagged ‘distance learning’

Computer Mediated Communication.

November 20, 2008 Leave a comment

Computer Mediated Communications is now quite a wide field, covering a host of asynchronous and synchronous communication tools and practices.

Broadly speaking, it covers any on-line communication technology, including web pages, blogs and wikis and even social networking sites like Facebook, Bebo and MySpace. Micro-blogging is growing in popularity, providing a useful ‘quick fire’ medium of communication for communities of practice as well as for casual chat. Messenging and SMS can be used with applications like Twitter and Twitterpics. Other micro-blogging applications include Plurk, which provides a structure which supports conversational threads.

More narrowly, it covers e-mail, forums and discussion boards, video conferencing, instant messaging and texting. It is an area which has attracted a fair amount of interest and research.

I have attempted to provide a cross section of this in the links below. Some are old, but will serve to provide you with a notion of where we have come from in an industry which is developing at a very rapid rate.

It is not always possible to know the extent to which different participants have looked at this area, so I have started with some very general links and gone on to more specific ones. From my own point of view as a social constructivist, communication is extremely important aspect of the learning process.

Early on-line ‘distance’ learning environments tended simply to provide electronic copies of paper based resources used in face-to-face teaching environments, providing a somewhat impoverished medium incapable of providing the all-important aspect of discussion. VLE’s today have inbuilt communication tools, but the general consensus is that these often fail to provide a level of discussion to facilitate effective learning, for a variety of reasons, including personal ones. Van Alst (2006) highlights both the quantitative and qualitative problems of asynchronous learning networks (ALNs) and calls for the development of ALNs as collaborative communal learning resources.

There seems to be a growing body of evidence indicating that where students do communicate with the course coordinator and one another, learning is enhanced.
Hassini (2006) suggests that e-mail lists can provide a valuable student-instructor communication channel, with ‘strategic’ use of e-mail leading to a richer learning experience both as a medium for communication and as a ‘feedback database’ which can be used to improve courses.

Schellens and Valke (2006) looked at the issue of using asynchronous discussion groups as a means of fostering knowledge construction in university students. They found that students involved in discussion groups were task orientated, showing significant increases in cognitive interaction, task orientation and higher phase knowledge construction. An important variable identified was group size, with discussion in smaller groups reflecting larger proportions of of higher level knowledge construction.

Finally, a study by Simpson (2006) using asynchronous video access to a lecture course found that it had specific advantages for English second language speakers, providing them with more control over the lecture without the distractions characteristic of live lecture sessions.

Does texting destroy the English language? – discussion.

List of References.

Hassini, E. (2006) Student-instructor communication: The role of email. Computers and Education 47, 29-40

Schellens, T. & Valke, M. (2006) Fostering knowledge construction in university students through asynchronous discussion groups. Computers and Education 46, 349-370.

Simpson, N. (2006) Asynchronous access to conventional course delivery: a pilot project. British Journal of Educational Technology, 37(4), 527-537.

Van Alst, J. (2006) Rethinking the nature of online work in asynchronous learning networks. British Journal of Educational Technology, 37(2), 279-288.

Additional readings.

Offir, B., Lev, Y, & Bezalel, R. (2008) Surface and deep learning processes in distance education: Synchronous versus asynchronous systems. Computers and Education, 51(3), 1172-1183

Wang, Q. (2008) Student-facilitators’ roles in moderating online discussions. British Journal of Educational Technology, 39(5), 859-874.

An extensive list of CMC related articles in the Computers and Education journal can be found here.

Links to other resources.

Wikipedia basic info basic info

Overview and perspectives from Computer Mediated Communication and the Online Classroom, Volume 1. 1995.

Journal of Computer Mediated Communication (JCMC)  New site for JCMC.

Gender differences in Computer-Mediated Communication: Bringing familiar baggage to the New Frontier. Susan Herring, CSPR, 1994.

Reality Instant Messaging – Injecting a dose of reality into online chat. Chuah, 2003

Using CMC for Cyber mediation . Gibbos, Kennedy, Gibbs. Social Sciences Research Network, 2002.

Computer Mediated Collaborative Practices – Caroline Haythornthwaite, JCMC, July 2005

Instant Messaging for Collaboration: A case study in a high-tech firm. Quan-Hasse, Cothrel, Wellman. JCMC, July 2005

The impact of emoticons on message interpretation in Computer mediated communication. Walther, D’Addario. Social Science Computer Review, Vol. 19, No. 3, 324-347 (2001)

Marked for Deletion – an analysis of e-mail data
. Dabbish & Cadiz, 2002

CMC and Distance Learning – Some problems and possiblilities
. Sincovec & Rugelj, 200?.

Computer-mediated Communication (CMC) and the Traditional Classroom
. Reed. Teaching and Technology Today. 2000.

Evaluating the possibilities and problems of distributed multimedia technologies in the development of online collaborative learning environments. Kamran. 2005.


Twitter Power: Tweets as electronic word of mouth Jansen, et al. (2009) Journal of American Society of Information.

Rutledge, P. Ten things I like about Twitter. Psychology Today 7/4/09


Texting using mobile phones has created a language of its own – CUL8R, etc. Many teachers have suggested that this is the beginning of the end language as we know it. This interesting article sees a positive side. C also this rtikl.

2br not 2b? Proferssor David Crystal on texting. 5/7/08

The joy of text. Will Self and Lynne Truss. 5/7/08

Gr8 Db8 takes on linguistic luddites. Crace-Crystal interview. 16/9/2008

Texting: The gr8 db8. David Crystal 11/10/2009