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E-motional Interaction Between Teaching Assistants and Students:Expressing emotions via WebCT
Unformatted Document Text:  Teaching, Emotion, & Technology 11 background and cognitive capacity. The students reported to experience negative and positive emotions, but there were no data presented on how they expressed emotions to their teaching assistants. Moreover, there was no study found that addressed the questions of experiencing and expressing emotions by students and teaching assistants occurring in the outside-of-class interaction via innovative channels of communication (WebCT e-mail communication in particular). There is some speculation that electronic media is not suited to exchanging highly ambiguous, equivocal, or emotional messages because of the lack of nonverbal cues and immediate feedback capabilities (Daft & Lengel, 1984; Daft, Lengel, & Trevino, 1987; O’Hara-Devereaux & Johansen 1994). Daft et al. (1987) argue that, “Electronic mail is considered inappropriate for exchanging confidential information, resolving disagreements, getting to know someone, or negotiating” (p. 363). In addition, they believe that computer-messaging systems are not appropriate for exchanging discrete information and staying in touch. However, no studies were found that investigated whether those aspects of technology use had been studied in the arena of computer-mediated instruction. This study, therefore, has an exploratory character. Most likely, this study will be the first of its kind to study how emotions are expressed by students and teaching assistants through the means of WebCT e-mail communication. Instead of providing a comprehensive picture of whether and how emotions are expressed through e-mails, this study will lay out the basis for future investigations on the subject. Summary and Statement of Research Questions After careful examination of existing literature and identifying the gaps in the communication research on expressing emotions through written texts using new technology, we formulated the following research questions:

Authors: Tsetsura, Katerina., Bigam, Mellisa., Buford, Laura. and Chen, Xiaolei.
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Teaching, Emotion, & Technology 11
background and cognitive capacity. The students reported to experience negative and positive
emotions, but there were no data presented on how they expressed emotions to their teaching
assistants.
Moreover, there was no study found that addressed the questions of experiencing and
expressing emotions by students and teaching assistants occurring in the outside-of-class interaction
via innovative channels of communication (WebCT e-mail communication in particular). There is
some speculation that electronic media is not suited to exchanging highly ambiguous, equivocal, or
emotional messages because of the lack of nonverbal cues and immediate feedback capabilities
(Daft & Lengel, 1984; Daft, Lengel, & Trevino, 1987; O’Hara-Devereaux & Johansen 1994). Daft
et al. (1987) argue that, “Electronic mail is considered inappropriate for exchanging confidential
information, resolving disagreements, getting to know someone, or negotiating” (p. 363). In
addition, they believe that computer-messaging systems are not appropriate for exchanging discrete
information and staying in touch. However, no studies were found that investigated whether those
aspects of technology use had been studied in the arena of computer-mediated instruction.
This study, therefore, has an exploratory character. Most likely, this study will be the first of
its kind to study how emotions are expressed by students and teaching assistants through the means
of WebCT e-mail communication. Instead of providing a comprehensive picture of whether and
how emotions are expressed through e-mails, this study will lay out the basis for future
investigations on the subject.
Summary and Statement of Research Questions
After careful examination of existing literature and identifying the gaps in the
communication research on expressing emotions through written texts using new technology, we
formulated the following research questions:


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