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E-motional Interaction Between Teaching Assistants and Students:Expressing emotions via WebCT
Unformatted Document Text:  Teaching, Emotion, & Technology 25 are very much an issue that has been disregarded in research and theory on emotion in organizational communication scholarship. Technological “skills” are much more than being able to download an attachment. In today’s university the technological “skills” TA’s need to possess are more similar to being able to communicate “disappointment” to a student, while maintaining authority, yet not to be seen as too “mean” through offering “encouragement.” Somehow, in a slew of emoticons and carefully chosen words, the TA must choose a role or an attitude, and type through the aspects of his or her emotional job. Whether adjusting to feelings of ambivalence, or changing attitudes and approaches on a student-by-student basis, TA’s can also experience emotion work right in their own living rooms. Computer-mediated instruction creates an emotion-laden workplace environment where technological skills are needed to carry out aspects of people skills (see Hochschild, 1983, p. 9). As shown by the emotional themes present in the e-mail responses of TAs, roles and attitudes must surface from computer-mediated communication in order for the teacher-student relationship to perpetuate. Atypical roles and attitudes expressed via CMC would be detrimental to the purpose of the technology. Thus, the TA must adapt technologically and emotionally. Whether on the computer at school or in one’s own home, the classroom responsibilities are intensified. Limitations Several limitations of the present study were identified. First, the e-mail interactions analyzed in this study happened between teaching assistants, the authors of this paper, and their students. It could be argued that this fact brought some bias to the study. It is also important to note that many student-initiated e-mails received by TA’s in the designated time span were not used for the simple fact that they had been accidentally deleted by the TA’s. The sample was also limited to a relatively short time period in order for the data to be manageable, but this could have affected the overall quality of the study.

Authors: Tsetsura, Katerina., Bigam, Mellisa., Buford, Laura. and Chen, Xiaolei.
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Teaching, Emotion, & Technology 25
are very much an issue that has been disregarded in research and theory on emotion in
organizational communication scholarship.
Technological “skills” are much more than being able to download an attachment. In today’s
university the technological “skills” TA’s need to possess are more similar to being able to
communicate “disappointment” to a student, while maintaining authority, yet not to be seen as too
“mean” through offering “encouragement.” Somehow, in a slew of emoticons and carefully chosen
words, the TA must choose a role or an attitude, and type through the aspects of his or her
emotional job. Whether adjusting to feelings of ambivalence, or changing attitudes and approaches
on a student-by-student basis, TA’s can also experience emotion work right in their own living
rooms. Computer-mediated instruction creates an emotion-laden workplace environment where
technological skills are needed to carry out aspects of people skills (see Hochschild, 1983, p. 9).
As shown by the emotional themes present in the e-mail responses of TAs, roles and
attitudes must surface from computer-mediated communication in order for the teacher-student
relationship to perpetuate. Atypical roles and attitudes expressed via CMC would be detrimental to
the purpose of the technology. Thus, the TA must adapt technologically and emotionally. Whether
on the computer at school or in one’s own home, the classroom responsibilities are intensified.
Limitations
Several limitations of the present study were identified. First, the e-mail interactions
analyzed in this study happened between teaching assistants, the authors of this paper, and their
students. It could be argued that this fact brought some bias to the study. It is also important to note
that many student-initiated e-mails received by TA’s in the designated time span were not used for
the simple fact that they had been accidentally deleted by the TA’s. The sample was also limited to
a relatively short time period in order for the data to be manageable, but this could have affected the
overall quality of the study.


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