To explore how computer-mediated communication (CMC) allows students to have a better learning experience and an overall more rounded education, a variety of articles on CMC were examined. A summary of the recent research has been provided to show the techniques used to study CMC in education.
Computer-Mediated Communication and its Overall Positive Role in Education:
According to Ferris (1997), computer-mediated communication (CMC) is defined as “both task-related and interpersonal communication” that is done “both to and through a personal or a mainframe computer” (p. 1). This review will show there is a positive ongoing role of computer-mediated communication in education. Overall CMC has shown to improve students’ learning experiences and gives them a more rounded education. The purpose of this review is to make connections between different CMC articles to show that CMC does in fact improve learning experiences and allows students to become well rounded. This is a practical review because it researches the practical topic of CMC and how it improves students’ learning experiences. Any teacher/professor interested in using and/or is using CMC in their classes can use the information found help CMC work more efficiently in their classrooms.
A review on the ways CMC improved the quality of education begins this paper. Scholarly articles that showed CMC effectively being used to improve the quality of the class were examined. Next the three different types of CMC that are used in education were reviewed including: “Online Discussion Groups”, “Online Portfolios” and “The Importance of Email”. “Online Discussion Groups” were examined first. The subtopics of “Online Discussion Groups” section include: “Enhanced Student Participation”, which examines the ways CMC has increased student participation. “The Importance of Feedback”, which examines how feedback in CMC environments contributes positively to student learning experiences. “Improving Face-to-Face Discussions through the use of Online Discussions”, which examines how participation in face-to-face lectures increases when online discussions are used. Lastly, “Student Activity Patterns in Online Discussions”, which examines how often students interact with their peers and teachers in online environments. “Online Portfolios” were reviewed next and looked at the ways online portfolios have enhanced education. “The Importance of Email” is the final type of CMC reviewed and this examined why email is important in CMC. Next the paper examined “Student Satisfaction of Technology” which included the subtopics of: “Web-based classrooms: It’s all about the teacher”, which examined the satisfaction levels of students in web-based classrooms. “Satisfaction in face-to-face classrooms: It’s all about the teacher’s efficiency with the technology”, which showed positive and negative satisfaction in face-to-face classrooms depends heavily on the teacher’s efficiency with the technology. Finally, “Comparison of satisfactions in web-assisted classes vs. traditional classes” looked at the two different environments to determine which place students generally have more positive satisfaction. Lastly, a “Discussion” section concluded this review that included the subtopics: “Summary of the Literature”, which summarized all the articles reviewed, and a “Conclusions, Flaws, Implications and Directions for Future Research” section that showed the flaws in the research and possible suggestions to fix those flaws.
Review of Literature:
The use of computer-mediated communication has shown to improve the quality of education. Studies done by Bailey and Cotlar (1994) and Yun (2006) showed computer-mediated communication has improved the quality of education in different learning environments including face-to-face lectures, and over the Internet in places like email and chat-groups. Bailey and Cotlar (1994) did a study on a few different classes while Yun (2006) did a specific study of one class.
A study done by Bailey and Cotlar (1994) showed the use of technology as a form of communication in the classroom improved the quality of education. Different assignments given to students were examined. It showed Internet-driven work made students better-rounded by giving them global experiences because students can obtain information from global sources “such as remote libraries, discussion groups, and even computer conferences” (Bailey & Cotlar, 1994, p. 187). The Internet allows students to receive these global experiences without the costs of travel (Bailey & Cotlar, 1994). The use of the Internet in the classroom “provide[d] new forms and new capabilities for learning” (Bailey & Cotlar, 1994, p. 184).
A study done by Yun (2006) showed the quality of education was improved because of the use of computer-mediated communication. It found the students’ writing improved through the use of computer-mediated communication. The students were required to use their writing skills in emails, chat-rooms, and virtual worlds, which made their writing more versatile because the students learned to think in an online mode (Yun, 2006). Students were able to change their writing techniques for each online environment and this change of writing was referred to writing in their online mode (Yun, 2006). A lot of abbreviations as well as the elimination of capital letters were used in the online environments. The students easily transferred from online writing mode to classroom mode. The study revealed there was a positive relationship between the use of computer-mediated communication in the classroom and the improved writing skills of the students (Yun, 2006). The students writing techniques improved because they developed different techniques for writing in online environments that differed from the way they would write in the classroom. Therefore the quality of the class was improved because the computer-mediated communication allowed the students to have a versatile style of writing.
Both studies by Bailey and Cotlar (1994) and Yun (2006) showed computer-mediated communication improved the quality of education in very different ways. Bailey and Cotlar (1994) argued computer-mediated communication raises the quality of education because it makes the students well-rounded. The Internet gives students opportunities that they would not normally have. While Yun (2006) argued computer-mediated communication improved the quality of education because it improved their writing skills because they were more versatile. The skills the students learned from the computer-mediation that were found in the two studies could be used in the workplace in the students’ future. Both studies demonstrated the students benefited from CMC, but the studies showed the students benefited in different ways.