Leveraging Multicommunication in the Classroom: Implications for Participation and Engagement

Leveraging Multicommunication in the Classroom: Implications for Participation and Engagement

Keri K. Stephens (University of Texas at Austin, USA), Melissa Murphy (University of Texas at Austin, USA) and Kerk F. Kee (Chapman University, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-61350-347-8.ch015

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Technology has infused the contemporary classroom. Whether the instructor chooses to incorporate technology as part of the physical learning environment, as the conduit for computer-mediated instruction, or if the students bring their technology into the classroom, teaching is a different experience than it was five years ago. Many scholars have raised concerns about communication issues that have become more relevant in a computer-mediated communication (CMC) classroom environment (Allen, 2006; Patterson & Gojdyez, 2000; Mathiasen & Schrum, 2010; Schwier & Balbar, 2008; Sherblom, 2010; Spector, 2001). Yet there are also several key learning areas where CMC classrooms might enhance learning including improved interactivity, team-based and collaborative problem-solving, and engaging with the content more completely (Anderson et al., 2007; Bernard et al., 2009; Schrire, 2004; Stephens & Mottet, 2008; Vess, 2005; Vogel et al., 2006; Wood & Fassett; 2003). But so far, there is little agreement on whether there are any significant differences between courses using technology and those in a traditional instructional classroom environment (Benoit, Benoit, Milyo, & Hansen, 2006). This study adds to the literature by investigating multicommunication and student learning

In this study, the technology medium used to deliver the educational experience is webconferencing. Relying on rhetorical and relational goal theory (Mottet, Frymier, & Beebe, 2006) the case study and survey findings are used to illustrate how instructors can use webconferencing to improve attendance and participation and harness the current multicommunication behaviors of students into learning practices. To accomplish these goals, first the guiding theoretical perspective is introduced. Next, the background elaborates on the role of the Net Generation learner and the changing needs in contemporary classrooms. The problem and solutions illustrate how technology can be used as a classroom extension without compromising the instructor-student relationship. We end with directions for future research.

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