Text Mex

A recently published article in Interactive Learning Environments entitled 'Use of Instant Messaging in Online Learning Environments' [14 (3), 205-218] suggests that Instant Messaging is even better for students than face to face communication. The authors, Juan Contreras-Castrillo et al, give a Mexican perspective on the use of this technology, and eulogise about how good it is, at least for their sample of 43 students and 4 teachers.

It seems that remote students gave the teacher a 'virtual apple' in the form of welcoming messages, which the authors claim helped to establish a 'better social presence'. Students tended to use IM for low level stuff like superfluous chatting rather than about the course. It's a kind of passing paper messages around type of use by the sounds of it. The authors conclude by claiming that the use of IM 'increases students's satisfaction by providing continuous opportunities for interaction with the teacher and classmates'.

Not on weekends it doesn't (I hope). Sounds like a flaming nightmare for teachers who enjoy a little time off from the trials and tribs of the classroom, virtual or otherwise....

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