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E-motional Interaction Between Teaching Assistants and Students:Expressing emotions via WebCT
Unformatted Document Text:  Teaching, Emotion, & Technology 4 of the outside-of-class interaction and can affect the social learning process. Moreover, being a part of the organization (a higher education institution), teaching assistants and students adapt to a new form of interaction, particularly via e-mail, which can bring forward a number of new questions on how students and teaching assistants deal with a number of emotions they experience. This study first looks at the theory and scholarship that surround computer-mediated instruction. After showing the connection between computer-mediated instruction and communication scholarship on computer-mediated communication, we point out the ways in which previous research has ignored the expression of emotion. Following a thesis that teaching is an emotional job, we present a study that looks at emotional e-mails sent through a specific computer- mediated instruction tool, WebCT. Using textual analysis, this study examined student-initiated e- mails and their responses. Our discussion focuses more specifically on the responses to these e- mails, and shows connections to research on emotion work and emotion labor in organizational communication scholarship. Finally, we offer limitations to our study and offer directions for future research. Specifically, we argue that teaching is indeed an emotional profession and computer- mediated instruction may, perhaps, intensify the emotion labor involved by allowing the classroom to move into cyberspace – accessible anytime/anywhere. To better understand the changes brought about by the introduction of computer-mediated instruction into the traditional classroom and answer the research questions, one must first understand computer-mediated instruction. Computer-Mediated Instruction Computer-mediated instruction tools are widely used to “enhance course with on-line materials and activities for students” (MacCollum, 1997, p. 1). Recently there has been an explosion

Authors: Tsetsura, Katerina., Bigam, Mellisa., Buford, Laura. and Chen, Xiaolei.
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Teaching, Emotion, & Technology 4
of the outside-of-class interaction and can affect the social learning process. Moreover, being a part
of the organization (a higher education institution), teaching assistants and students adapt to a new
form of interaction, particularly via e-mail, which can bring forward a number of new questions on
how students and teaching assistants deal with a number of emotions they experience.
This study first looks at the theory and scholarship that surround computer-mediated
instruction. After showing the connection between computer-mediated instruction and
communication scholarship on computer-mediated communication, we point out the ways in which
previous research has ignored the expression of emotion. Following a thesis that teaching is an
emotional job, we present a study that looks at emotional e-mails sent through a specific computer-
mediated instruction tool, WebCT. Using textual analysis, this study examined student-initiated e-
mails and their responses. Our discussion focuses more specifically on the responses to these e-
mails, and shows connections to research on emotion work and emotion labor in organizational
communication scholarship. Finally, we offer limitations to our study and offer directions for future
research.
Specifically, we argue that teaching is indeed an emotional profession and computer-
mediated instruction may, perhaps, intensify the emotion labor involved by allowing the classroom
to move into cyberspace – accessible anytime/anywhere.
To better understand the changes brought about by the introduction of computer-mediated
instruction into the traditional classroom and answer the research questions, one must first
understand computer-mediated instruction.
Computer-Mediated Instruction
Computer-mediated instruction tools are widely used to “enhance course with on-line
materials and activities for students” (MacCollum, 1997, p. 1). Recently there has been an explosion


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