undergrads and email

Subject: undergrads and email
From: Karen Muldrow <karen -at- HAL -dot- COM>
Date: Fri, 26 Mar 1993 08:17:50 -0600

> Would y'all mind if the students submit some questions to this group?

I am open to this - Are we taking a vote? :-)

> Specifically, they are interested in finding out more about the claim
> that e-mail is advantageous because it helps discussions to focus more
> on ideas rather than personal characteristics (e.g., race and gender).

Email provides MANY advantages, the LEAST of which is the potential to
minimize the effect of personal characteristics on discussion. Specifically,
it ENABLES discussions that would not otherwise happen. How ELSE could
I discuss writing/technological trends and ideas with an international
group? But - as your students will notice - most email users are not
anonymous. We typically have gender-specific names. Race and other physical
characteristics are irrelevant to most discussions (and and disclosed
only when it makes a difference).

A disadvantage of email is that it handicaps poor spellers and poor writers,
AND runs a greater risk of miscommunication than face to face conversation.
Irony and sarcasm don't work on email, for example.
But it is still better than NO communication.

> Even if such is the case, the students are not sure that such an
> effect is necessarily beneficial.

Are you kidding?!?

Have fun,

Karen Muldrow
HaL Computer Systems
karen -at- hal -dot- com

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