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A Beginner's Guide to Computer Conferencing
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Association for Educational Communications and Technology Annual Meeting,

Abstract

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)

Citation

Misanchuk, E.R., Morrison, D. & Peterson, M.E. (1997). A Beginner's Guide to Computer Conferencing. Presented at Association for Educational Communications and Technology Annual Meeting 1997. Retrieved June 25, 2022 from .

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