The aim of this article is to review how IM may be used to support e-collaboration. This is addressed by reviewing studies on IM in both work and in higher education settings. These two settings “share the problem of creating and sustaining a positive work and learning environment” (Haythornthwaite, 2000, p. 201) and by including research from both areas a deeper understanding may be obtained.
Key Terms in this Chapter
Outeraction: “Communicative processes people use to connect with each other and to manage communication, rather than to information exchange” (Nardi et al., 2000, p. 79).
Blended Education: The combination of traditional and online educational approaches.
Online Education: Distance education primarily delivered online.
Chat: Text-based synchronous communication medium.
Synchronous Interaction: Real-time interaction that may be place-independent.
Instant Messaging: Communication medium that can be used to spontaneously interact with others that are online through various types of synchronous media.
Local Virtuality: Co-located people that use technology to communicate (Quan-Haase et al., 2005).
Polychronic Media Use: Using several media simultaneously.
Informal E-Collaboration: Spontaneous brief collaboration mediated by technology among individuals engaged in a common task.
Informal Interaction: “Take place at the time, with the participants, and about the topics at hand” (Fish et al., 1990, p. 2).