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Computer-mediated communication (CMC) is defined as any communication that occurs through the use of two or more electronic devices.[1] While the term has traditionally referred to those communications that occur via computer-mediated formats (e.g., instant messaging, email, chat rooms), it has also been applied to other forms of text-based interaction such as text messaging.[2] Research on CMC focuses largely on the social effects of different computer-supported communication technologies. Many recent studies involve Internet-based social networking supported by social software.

Scope of the field[edit]

Scholars from a variety of fields study phenomena that can be described under the umbrella term of CMC (see also Internet studies). For example, many take a sociopsychological approach to CMC by examining how humans use "computers" (or digital media) to manage interpersonal interaction, form impressions and form and maintain relationships.[3][4] These studies have often focused on the differences between online and offline interactions, though contemporary research is moving towards the view that CMC should be studied as embedded in everyday life .[5] Another branch of CMC research examines the use of paralinguistic features such as emoticons, pragmatic rules such as turn-taking[6] and the sequential analysis and organization of talk,[7][8] and the various sociolects, styles, registers or sets of terminology specific to these environments (see Leet). The study of language in these contexts is typically based on text-based forms of CMC, and is sometimes referred to as "computer-mediated discourse analysis".[9]

The way humans communicate in professional, social, and educational settings varies widely, depending upon not only the environment but also the method of communication in which the communication occurs, which in this case is through computers or other information and communication technologies (ICTs). The study of communication to achieve collaboration—common work products—is termed computer-supported collaboration and includes only some of the concerns of other forms of CMC research.

Popular forms of CMC include e-mail, video, audio or text chat (text conferencing including "instant messaging"), bulletin boards, list-servs and MMOs.[10] These settings are changing rapidly with the development of new technologies. Weblogs (blogs) have also become popular, and the exchange of RSS data has better enabled users to each "become their own publisher".

Characteristics[edit]

Communication occurring within a computer-mediated format has an effect on many different aspects of an interaction. Some of these that have received attention in the scholarly literature include impression formation, deception, group dynamics, disclosure reciprocity, disinhibition and especially relationship formation.

CMC is examined and compared to other communication media through a number of aspects thought to be universal to all forms of communication, including (but not limited to) synchronicity, persistence or "recordability", and anonymity. The association of these aspects with different forms of communication varies widely. For example, instant messaging is intrinsically synchronous but not persistent, since one loses all the content when one closes the dialog box unless one has a message log set up or has manually copy-pasted the conversation. E-mail and message boards, on the other hand, are low in synchronicity since response time varies, but high in persistence since messages sent and received are saved. Properties that separate CMC from other media also include transience, its multimodal nature, and its relative lack of governing codes of conduct.[11] CMC is able to overcome physical and social limitations of other forms of communication and therefore allow the interaction of people who are not physically sharing the same space.

The medium in which people choose to communicate influences the extent to which people disclose personal information. CMC is marked with higher levels of self-disclosure in conversation as opposed to face-to-face interactions.[12] Self disclosure is any verbal communication of personally relevant information, thought, and feeling which establishes and maintains interpersonal relationships.[13] This is due in part to visual anonymity and the absence of nonverbal cues which reduce concern for losing positive Face. According to Walther’s (1996) Hyperpersonal communication Model, computer-mediated communication is valuable on providing a better communication and better first impressions . Moreover, Ramirez and Zhang (2007) indicate that computer-mediated communication allows more closeness and attraction between two individuals than a face-to-face communication.[14]

Anonymity and in part privacy and security depends more on the context and particular program being used or web page being visited. However, most researchers in the field acknowledge the importance of considering the psychological and social implications of these factors alongside the technical "limitations".

Language learning[edit]

CMC is widely discussed in language learning because CMC provides opportunities for language learners to practice their language.[15] For example, Warschauer[16] conducted several case studies on using email or discussion boards in different language classes. Warschauer[17] claimed that information and communications technology “bridge the historic divide between speech … and writing”. Thus, considerable concern has arisen over the reading and writing research in L2 due to the booming of the Internet.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ McQuail, Denis. (2005). Mcquail's Mass Communication Theory. 5th ed. London: SAGE Publications.
  2. ^ Thurlow, C., Lengel, L. & Tomic, A. (2004). Computer mediated communication: Social interaction and the internet. London: Sage.
  3. ^ Walther, J. B. (1996). Computer-mediated communication: Impersonal, interpersonal, and hyperpersonal interaction. Communication Research, 23, 3-43.
  4. ^ Walther, J. B., & Burgoon, J. K. (1992). Relational communication in computer-mediated interaction. Human Communication Research, 19, 50-88.
  5. ^ Haythornthwaite, C. and Wellman, B. (2002). The Internet in everyday life: An introduction. In B. Wellman and C. Haythornthwaite (Eds.), The Internet in Everyday Life (pp. 3-41). Oxford: Blackwell.
  6. ^ Garcia, A. C., & Jacobs, J. B. (1999). The eyes of the beholder: Understanding the turn-taking system in quasi-synchronous computer-mediated communication. Research on Language & Social Interaction, 32, 337-367.
  7. ^ Herring, S. (1999). Interactional coherence in CMC. Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication, 4(4). http://jcmc.indiana.edu/vol4/issue4/herring.html
  8. ^ Markman, K. M. (2006). Computer-mediated conversation: The organization of talk in chat-based virtual team meetings. Dissertation Abstracts International, 67 (12A), 4388. (UMI No. 3244348)
  9. ^ Herring, S. C. (2004). Computer-mediated discourse analysis: An approach to researching online behavior. In: S. A. Barab, R. Kling, and J. H. Gray (Eds.), Designing for Virtual Communities in the Service of Learning (pp. 338-376). New York: Cambridge University Press.
  10. ^ Bishop, J. (2009). Enhancing the understanding of genres of web-based communities: The role of the ecological cognition framework. International Journal of Web-Based Communities, 5(1), 4-17. Available online
  11. ^ McQuail, Denis. (2005). Mcquail's Mass Communication Theory. 5th ed. London: SAGE Publications.
  12. ^ Jiang, C., Bazarova, N., & Hancock, J. (2011). From perception to behavior: Disclosure reciprocity and the intensification of intimacy in computer-mediated communication. Communication Research, 40, 125-143.
  13. ^ Jiang, C., Bazarova, N., & Hancock, J. (2011). From perception to behavior: Disclosure reciprocity and the intensification of intimacy in computer-mediated communication. Communication Research, 40, 125-143.
  14. ^ Dunn., R., 2013. Identity Theories and Technology. p.30. East Tennessee State University, USA.
  15. ^ Abrams, Z. (2006). From Theory to Practice: Intracultural CMC in the L2 Classroom. book chapter, forthcoming in Ducate, Lara & Nike Arnold (Eds.) Calling on CALL: From Theory and Research to New Directions in Foreign Language Teaching.
  16. ^ Warschauer, M. (1998). Electronic literacies: Language, culture and power in online education. Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.
  17. ^ Warschauer, M. (2006). Laptops and literacy: learning in the wireless classroom: Teachers College, Columbia University.

Further reading[edit]

  • Ahern, T.C., Peck, K., & Laycock, M. (1992). The effects of teacher discourse in computer-mediated discussion. Journal of Educational Computing Research, 8(3), 291-309.
  • Angeli, C., Valanides, N., & Bonk, C.J. (2003). Communication in a web-based conferencing system: The quality of computer-mediated interactions. British Journal of Educational Technology, 34(1), 31-43.
  • Bannan-Ritland, B. (2002). Computer-mediated communication, elearning, and interactivity: A review of the research. Quarterly Review of Distance Education, 3(2), 161-180.
  • Christopher, M.M., Thomas, J.A., and Tallent-Runnels, M.K. (2004). Raising the Bar: Encouraging high level thinking in online discussion forums. Roeper Review, 26(3), 166-171.
  • Cooper, M.M., & Selfe, C.L. (1990). Computer conferences and learning: Authority, resistance, and internally persuasive discourse. College English, 52(8), 847-869.
  • Forman, E.A. (2000). Knowledge building in discourse communities. Human Development, 43(6), 364-368.
  • Gabriel, M.A. (2004). Learning together: Exploring group interactions online. Journal of Distance Education, 19(1), 54-72.
  • Gilbert, K.G., & Dabbagh, N. (2005). How to structure online discussions for meaningful discourse: a case study. British Journal of Educational Technology, 36(1), 5-18.
  • Gunawardena, C.H., Nolla, A.C., Wilson, P.L., Lopez-Isias, Jr. et al. (2001). A cross-cultural study of group process and development in online conferences. Distance Education, 22(1), 85-122.
  • Hara, N., Bonk, C.J., & Angeli, C. (2000). Content analysis of online discussion in an applied educational psychology course. Instructional Science, 28, 115-152.
  • Hewitt, J. (2001). Beyond threaded discourse. International Journal of Educational Telecommunications, 7(3), 207-221.
  • Hewitt, J. (2003). How habitual online practices affect the development of asynchronous discussion threads. Journal of Educational Computing Research, 28(1), 31-45.
  • Javela, S., Bonk, C.J., & Sirpalethti, S.L. (1999). A theoretical analysis of social interactions in computer-based learning environments: Evidence for reciprocal understandings. Journal of Educational Computing Research, 21(3), 363-388.
  • Jones, G., & Schieffelin, B. (2009). Enquoting Voices, Accomplishing Talk: Uses of Be+Like in Instant Messaging. Language & Communication, 29(1), 77-113.
  • Jones, G., & Schieffelin, B. (2009). Talking Text and Talking Back: "My BFF Jill" from Boob Tube to YouTube. Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication, 14(4), 1050 - 1079.
  • Kalman, Y. M. and Rafaeli, S. (2007-05-23). Modulating Synchronicity in Computer-Mediated Communication. Paper presented at the annual meeting of the International Communication Association, TBA, San Francisco, CA Online <APPLICATION/PDF>. 2010-01-24 from http://www.allacademic.com/meta/p170694_index.html
  • Kirk, J.J., & Orr, R.L. (2003). A primer on the effective use of threaded discussion forums. ERIC document.
  • Lapadat, J.C. (2003). Teachers in an online seminar talking about talk: Classroom discourse and school change. Language and Education, 17(1), 21-41.
  • Leinonen, P., Jarvela, S., & Lipponen, L. (2003). Individual students’ interpretations of their contribution to the computer-mediated discussions. Journal of Interactive Learning Research, 14(1), 99-122.
  • Lin, L. (2008). An online learning model to facilitate learners’ rights to education. Journal of Asynchronous Learning Networks (JALN), 12(1), pp. 127–143. [Special issue distributed by Sloan-C JALN in collaboration with five other international journals: http://www.distanceandaccesstoeducation.org/]
  • Lin, L., Cranton, P. & Bridglall, B. (2005). Psychological type and asynchronous written dialogue in adult learning. Teachers College Record, 107(8), 1788-1813.
  • MackNnight, C.B. (2000). Teaching critical thinking through online discussions. Educause Quarterly, 4, 38-41.
  • Poole, D.M. (2000). Student participation in a discussion-oriented online course: A case study. Journal of Research on Computing in Education, 33(2), 162-176.
  • Schrire, S. (2003). A model for evaluating the process of learning in asynchronous computer conferencing. Journal of Instructional Delivery Systems, 17(1), 6-12.
  • Vonderwell, S. (2002). An examination of asynchronous communication experiences and perspectives of students in an online course: A case study. The Internet and Higher Education, 6, 77-90.
  • Wade, S.E., & Fauske, J.R. (2004). Dialogue online: Prospective teachers’ discourse strategies in computer-mediated discussions. Reading Research Quarterly, 39(2), 134-160.
  • Wu, D., & Hiltz, S.R. (2004). Predicting learning from asynchronous online discussions. Journal of Asynchronous Learning Networks, 8(2), 139-152.

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