This paper focuses upon the use of Computer Mediated Communication (CMC) in a specific learning context by a small community of postgraduate (MEd) distance learners and their tutors. Content analysis of on‐line dialogues was used to investigate learning and socio‐emotional behaviour within this community. The data presented suggests that men and women took distinctively different roles in the on‐line learning environment. Most significantly, the cognitive and metacognitive (learning) content of on‐line seminar contributions by men and women was found to be similar, but their social and interactive behaviour was significantly different. In particular, it was found that within a formal on‐line learning environment men sent (on average) more messages than women; they wrote messages which were twice as long as those sent my women; and made more socio‐emotional contributions than women. Women, however, were found to contribute more ‘interactive’ messages than men. This paper concludes that the application of CMC technology to a specific learning context may reproduce gender differences within a learning community.
Journal of Computer Assisted Learning – Wiley
Published: Mar 1, 1999
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