Loughborough University
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Acceptance and use of computer-mediated communication by female and male information students

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posted on 2010-12-01, 14:21 authored by George McMurdo
Current trends in information technology developments mean that computer-mediated communication (CMC) systems can be expected to become progressively more versatile, widespread and significant both for work and for education. All students and staff of the Department of Communication and Information Studies at Queen Margaret University College, Edinburgh, have used CMC systematically for more than five years. This has made it possible to carry out detailed studies over time of the impact of CMC on academic users, and of the value they derive from it, with a particular focus on gender differences. Results are presented of a survey of student use, including levels and patterns of messaging as well as perceptions of, and attitudes towards CMC activities. Some results are compared with related surveys of UK distance learning students using CMC, and of computing use by students at a US local campus. Despite rapid changes in technological capabilities, there appears to be some stability of reactions to CMC. Students most highly valued course-oriented and administrative uses of CMC. When compared with face-to-face tutorials, CMC was rated negatively, though least so as a medium for intellectual exchange. However, students were positive about their present and future use of CMC, and became more positive over time. Some evidence was found to support concerns that females may be disadvantaged in the use of CMC. There was also, however, evidence of the related gender differences diminishing, disappearing, or reversing with experience and over time. It is suggested that CMC may best be regarded as a complementary rather than substitutionary medium in higher education



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  • Information Science


© George McMurdo

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A Doctoral Thesis. Submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the award of Doctor of Philosophy of Loughborough University.

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  • en