ERIC Number: ED411776
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1997
A Beginner's Guide to Computer Conferencing.
Misanchuk, Earl R.; Morrison, Dirk; Peterson, Margareth E.
This paper explains the similarities and differences between electronic mail and computer conferencing, and identifies the features one should look for in a modern conferencing system. It also clarifies some related terminology. Advantages of computer conferencing are first outlined, including: time- and space- independence; text-based medium; permanent recording; document transfer; decreased turnaround time; access to online resources; an egalitarian context; improved access; overcoming social isolation and increasing emotional involvement; potential for improved participation; opportunity for increased interaction; enabling cooperative and collaborative group work; and enabling knowledge-building. Disadvantages of computer conferencing include the cost of technology; learning curve; technical difficulties; frustrations with group work; information overload; time spent online; and possible low levels of interaction. The following desirable features in computer conferencing software are then described: user-friendliness; cross-platform compatibility; basic word processing capabilities; client-server design; document transfer; conversation threading; ease of administration; digesting; affordability; high quality documentation; off-line work; multimedia capability; address book; batch processing; forms creation and integration; transparent integration with the Internet and World Wide Web; and chat. (Contains 14 references.) (AEF)
Publication Type: Reports - Descriptive; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Conference of the Association of Educational Communications and Technology (Albuquerque, NM, February 12-16, 1997). Available in electronic format at: http://www.extension.usask.ca/Papers/Misanchuk/AECT97/Beginn ersGuide.html