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E-motional Interaction Between Teaching Assistants and Students:Expressing emotions via WebCT
Unformatted Document Text:  Teaching, Emotion, & Technology 26 Second, face-to-face communication between teaching assistants and students that took place outside and inside the classroom was not analyzed and taken into consideration in this study. Such interaction could definitely influence the WebCT e-mail interactions between teaching assistants and students. Also, personal preferences of teaching assistants and students could play a role in their WebCT e-mail interaction: students could initiate emotional e-mails to teaching assistants because they liked them as individuals. At the same time, e-mails could be non-emotional because a student did not like a teaching assistant and e-mailed her only because needed to get some class-related information. Next, personal characteristics of teaching assistants were not taken into consideration when their e-mail answers were evaluated. Different personalities and different ways of dealing with on- line interaction can create different approaches to e-mail interaction, emotional or non-emotional. The gender of the students as well as the gender of the TA’s was also not taken into consideration. There may be gender differences in how individuals use technology (Dennis, Kinney, & Hung, 1999). Ethnicity and experience can also influence the emotionality of the e-mails. The fact that two out of the three teaching assistants were in their first semester, and the last was in her third semester of being a teaching assistant could play a significant role in the ways in which WebCT e- mail interaction was handled. Since one of the teaching assistants was an international student, further evaluation of possible particularities in handling emotions and using e-mails to express them is needed. As Yook and Albert (1999) pointed out students’ perceptions of international teaching assistants are complex and distinguished from the perceptions of domestic teaching assistants. They argued that positive and negative emotions can be expressed or felt in interaction between students and teaching assistants. This suggests that WebCT e-mail communication could also be affected by these perceptions.

Authors: Tsetsura, Katerina., Bigam, Mellisa., Buford, Laura. and Chen, Xiaolei.
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Teaching, Emotion, & Technology 26
Second, face-to-face communication between teaching assistants and students that took
place outside and inside the classroom was not analyzed and taken into consideration in this study.
Such interaction could definitely influence the WebCT e-mail interactions between teaching
assistants and students. Also, personal preferences of teaching assistants and students could play a
role in their WebCT e-mail interaction: students could initiate emotional e-mails to teaching
assistants because they liked them as individuals. At the same time, e-mails could be non-emotional
because a student did not like a teaching assistant and e-mailed her only because needed to get some
class-related information.
Next, personal characteristics of teaching assistants were not taken into consideration when
their e-mail answers were evaluated. Different personalities and different ways of dealing with on-
line interaction can create different approaches to e-mail interaction, emotional or non-emotional.
The gender of the students as well as the gender of the TA’s was also not taken into consideration.
There may be gender differences in how individuals use technology (Dennis, Kinney, & Hung,
1999).
Ethnicity and experience can also influence the emotionality of the e-mails. The fact that
two out of the three teaching assistants were in their first semester, and the last was in her third
semester of being a teaching assistant could play a significant role in the ways in which WebCT e-
mail interaction was handled. Since one of the teaching assistants was an international student,
further evaluation of possible particularities in handling emotions and using e-mails to express them
is needed. As Yook and Albert (1999) pointed out students’ perceptions of international teaching
assistants are complex and distinguished from the perceptions of domestic teaching assistants. They
argued that positive and negative emotions can be expressed or felt in interaction between students
and teaching assistants. This suggests that WebCT e-mail communication could also be affected by
these perceptions.


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