Are Cross-Gender Conversations in Threaded Discussions Reminiscent of Communicating Across Cultural Boundaries?

Are Cross-Gender Conversations in Threaded Discussions Reminiscent of Communicating Across Cultural Boundaries?

David Gefen (Drexel University, USA), Nitza Geri (The Open University of Israel, Israel) and Narasimha Paravastu (Central State University, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/jicte.2007040107
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Abstract

At the core of sociolinguistic theory is the recognition that men and women when engaging in an open conversation communicate differently because of their different respective social objectives in communication. Oral conversations are, according to sociolinguists, akin to cross cultural conversations and hence the tendency toward same-gender conversations. Extrapolating to the realm of threaded discussions in online courses, these gender differences, it is hypothesized, should translate into mild gender segregation in the threaded discussions as well as men showing a greater proclivity to dominate the discussion. Data from 233 students in 27 courses support these hypotheses and allow a significant identification of the gender of the student based on whom they reference in the threaded discussion and the way they reference others. Implications on managing threaded discussions are discussed.

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