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E-motional Interaction Between Teaching Assistants and Students:Expressing emotions via WebCT
Unformatted Document Text:  Teaching, Emotion, & Technology 27 In addition, identification of teaching assistants with students and students’ identification with teaching assistants was reflected in this study. As it was shown earlier, the complex relationships between teaching assistants and students bring to the discussion a number of issues related to the process of understanding and negotiating social roles. Teaching assistants associate themselves with students and can relate to certain emotions experienced and expressed by students. The interaction of teaching assistants and students would be influenced by this fact, and a degree and intensity of emotional expression by teaching assistants can differ. Also, motives of the students were not examined in this study. As Martin and Myers (1999) demonstrated, student motives could play a vital role in their communication with instructors. Providing reasons for communication, Martin and Myers argued for relational, functional, excuse, participation, and sycophancy, and emphasized that use of these reasons would vary on the interpersonal motives of the students. Finally, the categorization of the emails used to divide all correspondence into emotional and non-emotional as well as setting of emotional categories was discretion of the authors. Even though we argued for our categorization, the further discussion and analysis can be undertaken to address q question of reliability of the study. At the same time, we argue that, given the criteria of our categories (i.e. the usage of Webster’s definition of emotion and four researchers’ consensus on how to divide emotional emails to several categories), this study can stand the reliability challenge if one accepts the theoretical premise and rational of this study. Future Implications This study is exploratory because it looks at the nature of emotional e-mails within a computer-mediated instruction tool, WebCT. Because of some of the limitations noted above, as well as the brevity of our study, the goal is to primarily point out the areas ignored by previous research.

Authors: Tsetsura, Katerina., Bigam, Mellisa., Buford, Laura. and Chen, Xiaolei.
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Teaching, Emotion, & Technology 27
In addition, identification of teaching assistants with students and students’ identification
with teaching assistants was reflected in this study. As it was shown earlier, the complex
relationships between teaching assistants and students bring to the discussion a number of issues
related to the process of understanding and negotiating social roles. Teaching assistants associate
themselves with students and can relate to certain emotions experienced and expressed by students.
The interaction of teaching assistants and students would be influenced by this fact, and a degree
and intensity of emotional expression by teaching assistants can differ.
Also, motives of the students were not examined in this study. As Martin and Myers (1999)
demonstrated, student motives could play a vital role in their communication with instructors.
Providing reasons for communication, Martin and Myers argued for relational, functional, excuse,
participation, and sycophancy, and emphasized that use of these reasons would vary on the
interpersonal motives of the students.
Finally, the categorization of the emails used to divide all correspondence into emotional
and non-emotional as well as setting of emotional categories was discretion of the authors. Even
though we argued for our categorization, the further discussion and analysis can be undertaken to
address q question of reliability of the study. At the same time, we argue that, given the criteria of
our categories (i.e. the usage of Webster’s definition of emotion and four researchers’ consensus on
how to divide emotional emails to several categories), this study can stand the reliability challenge
if one accepts the theoretical premise and rational of this study.
Future Implications
This study is exploratory because it looks at the nature of emotional e-mails within a
computer-mediated instruction tool, WebCT. Because of some of the limitations noted above, as
well as the brevity of our study, the goal is to primarily point out the areas ignored by previous
research.


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