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Instant Messaging in Classes

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Instant Messaging in Classes. Wooseob Jeong School of Information Studies University of Wisconsin - Milwauke. Not kids’ stuff any more …. “No longer just a toy for teens, instant messaging has evolved into a powerful tool for work.” (PC World, February 2006, p.66) - PowerPoint PPT Presentation
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  • Instant Messaging in ClassesWooseob JeongSchool of Information StudiesUniversity of Wisconsin - Milwauke

    ALISE 2006 - Wooseob Jeong

  • Not kids stuff any more No longer just a toy for teens, instant messaging has evolved into a powerful tool for work. (PC World, February 2006, p.66)

    What about for (higher) education?

    ALISE 2006 - Wooseob Jeong

  • Kids are growing IM was considered as a teen thing at some point (Thomas, 2001) and not considered as a serious tool for education. However, those teens have grown as college students and more and more people are using IM in various settings.

    ALISE 2006 - Wooseob Jeong

  • Faculty is slow Cohn (2002) urged universities and faculty members to adopt IM and train themselves in using IM as both prospective and current college students are using IM pervasively, although Walther was somewhat pessimistic on adults, including faculty, readiness for IM (Thomas, 2001).

    ALISE 2006 - Wooseob Jeong

  • Jeong at ALISE 2002 Jeong (2002) presented findings from his implementation of IM in both local and distance courses. Students appreciated not having to wait for answers to questions and appreciated the more informal context of IM conversations. Surveyed students felt that the potential for IM to be useful in the distance learning environment was very high.

    ALISE 2006 - Wooseob Jeong

  • IM interaction among studentsNicholson (2002) reported a survey result with 30 students participated, saying students who used IM services found it easier to communicate, felt a stronger sense of community, and had more venues for informal and social communication about not only class material, but also information about the school and their common degree program.

    ALISE 2006 - Wooseob Jeong

  • Problem StatementHowever, while they provide general overviews of IM usage in education, particularly with quantitative data collected by survey methods, few of the previous research on IM in educational settings do not provide in-depth story between students and instructors while they are using IM for educational purposes. Knowing the interactions in IM usage is very important to set up optimal conditions for IM in educational settings.

    ALISE 2006 - Wooseob Jeong

  • Purpose of StudyThe purpose of this study is to listen to those students who participated in IM communication in class setting and based on their stories, to identify potentials and obstacles and to suggest optimal conditions for IM usage for classes.

    ALISE 2006 - Wooseob Jeong

  • Data Collection19 classed from summer 2001 to spring 2004247 students participated in the survey. 196 participated in IM51 did not participated in IM, but did the survey. The topics of the classes were both technical and non-technical: Visual Basic, Multimedia, HTML, JavaScript, and XML vs. Human Computer Interaction (HCI) and Senior Capstone. Both undergraduate and graduate level coursesBoth on campus and online classes. Since the summer of 2003, IM became required.

    ALISE 2006 - Wooseob Jeong

  • Quantitative Data Analysis (1)Descriptive StatisticsOverall rating for the instructors IM communication: 7.17Potentials of IM in a traditional, or face to face, class setting: 6.48Potential of IM in an online setting: 7.49

    ALISE 2006 - Wooseob Jeong

  • Quantitative Data Analysis (2)Potential dependent variables for inferential statistics for the ratings: student level (graduate v. undergraduate)technical aspect (non-technical course such as HCI v. technical course XML)mode of course (online v. face-to-face)characteristics of IM participation (optional v. required)However, a multivariate analysis by SPSS showed that there is no significant difference for any of these factors.

    ALISE 2006 - Wooseob Jeong

  • Qualitative Data AnalysisThree aspects of IM usage in classes were derived from a data-to-concept method which is usually used in grounded theory research: 1) positive aspects in using IM2) negative aspects in using IM3) Resistance to participating in IM This method is considered as a best method for this kind of story-telling qualitative study and has been used frequently, particularly in information seeking behavior research.

    ALISE 2006 - Wooseob Jeong

  • Positive Aspects in Using IM (1)Availability and instant responsesWhat I liked best on IM in this class is the instant responses back from the professor. (Spring 2003, 891, online, required)I appreciated the IM option because it offered real time answers to questions and the professor was available when I needed to ask a question. (Spring 2003, 891, online, required)Instant accessibility particularly important in distance education. Both the student and the instructor can freely contact each other, without limitations due to distance and/or geographical barriers, without lengthy waiting for e-mails or phone calls. (Fall 2002, 310 online, not required)

    ALISE 2006 - Wooseob Jeong

  • Positive Aspects in Using IM (2)Comfort zone / clarificationEasy to get hold of the professor. Questions were easy to ask, gave me more time to think and ask. Kept it as personal as an appointment. (Spring 2004, 310, on campus, required)It has been great all semester knowing the Professor was just a click away. It really gave me a sense of feeling connected to the professor, and even to the department and the college. (Spring 2003, 891, online, required)I have really felt lost in some of the Distance Education courses I have taken even with the benefit of chat and email. Chat is cumbersome with many people involved and email does take time for the receiver to respond. (Spring 2003, 891, online, required)

    ALISE 2006 - Wooseob Jeong

  • Positive Aspects in Using IM (3)Replacing office hoursIt might be helpful though if the instructor could put aside a special hour for each week, just so students could log in and ask questions. It could be sort of like online office hours. Since Im online all the time, it was very easy to catch up with the instructor. But some students might have much busier schedules, and they might not be so lucky to catch the instructor online as much. (Fall 2002, 310, online, not required)It allowed me to get in touch with my professor almost instantly when I needed to. It eliminated the need to go to his office during his office hours. In other words, it resulted in the professor being much more accessible. (Fall 2004, 310, online, required)

    ALISE 2006 - Wooseob Jeong

  • Negative Aspects in Using IM (1)Miscommunication / lack of visual interactionI find it hard to read peoples emotions with electronic communications. Without knowing the person, it is hard to know if they are annoyed or they are just trying to say what has to be said. Without the face to face interaction you have no frame of reference or body language to read more into the words. (Fall 2003, 310, online, required)It works well if both parties are not distracted. I have communicated with someone who was distracted once and it was annoying. However that happens on the phone too. The disadvantages of IM are that you lose nonverbal cues, you can be misinterpreted or misinterpret someone else, the other personal may not be online, the other person may be slow to respond or not respond at all. (Fall 2002, 310 online, not required)Numerous comments on this issue.

    ALISE 2006 - Wooseob Jeong

  • Negative Aspects in Using IM (2)Privacy and intrusiveness issuesI wish it was possible to have different status with different people. For example, I use IM at work and at home. When Im at home on a vacation day, I do not necessarily want to communicate with work all day, but I might want to IM a classmate, friend or family member. I know that on MSN messenger, you can appear offline when, in fact, you are really online. But your status appears the same to everyone on your list. (Fall 2003, 310, online, required) It felt odd to think that someone else could see that I was on my computer at any given time. I found myself tinkering with the settings to provide a little more feeling of privacy. (Summer 2003, 891, online, not required)Im not very fond of IM, or chatting. Its just that Im too busy to spend time chatting and I dont like to be in the middle of doing something on the computer and my IM pops up with a message, that I dont plan on responding to at the current time. (Fall 2002, 310, online, not required)I feel I cannot interrupt you to IM. I enjoy asynchronous communication because it lets each party participate at their leisure. When I use IM, I usually expect an instant response, and that somehow seems unfair since you have so many students and so many classes. (Spring 2003, 891, online, required)

    ALISE 2006 - Wooseob Jeong

  • Negative Aspects in Using IM (3)Including fellow classmatesMaybe each class member should have access to the class members IM address. (Spring 2003, 891, online, required)My only real complaint is that more students didnt use the IM option for communication particularly when it came to doing group projects. (Fall 2002, 310, online, not required)I didnt communicate with anyone but the instructor on IM. It would have been very useful on final projects to have the ability to speak with group members. Most didnt have IM IDs. (Fall 2002, 310, online, not required)

    ALISE 2006 - Wooseob Jeong

  • Negative Aspects in Using IM (4)Concerns about instructors availability The only thing I didnt like about using IM was that when a person was idle or away from their desk, I never knew if that person got my message. (Fall 2003, 240, on campus, required)I am never sure if the person is available. The problem I have is the login the first time. Yahoo is not very helpful when looking to login help. The help was not very clear

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