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Collaboration via E-mail and Internet Relay Chat: Understanding Time and Technology

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The purpose of this preliminary study was to structure and begin to study how collaborators working across distance perceive and use e-mail and Internet Relay Chat (IRC) to facilitate their collaborative and decision-making processes. Students from the University of Western Sydney and the University of Minnesota worked in pairs to respond to four decision-making scenarios over a four-week period. Using e-mail, students came to a decision more quickly than when using IRC, and when IRC was slow, students reverted to a series of rapid-fire e-mail messages to facilitate their work. Students appreciated the cross-cultural experience; however, they struggled to create a shared communicative context via the Internet.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 1996-11-01

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  • Technical Communication, the Society's journal, publishes articles about the practical application of technical communication theory and serves as a common arena for discussion by practitioners. Technical Communication includes both quantitative and qualitative research while showcasing the work of some of the field's most noteworthy writers. Among its most popular features are the helpful book reviews. Technical Communication is published quarterly and is free with membership.
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