The WAC Clearinghouse

Reviewing CW2K: E1 The Contemporary Asynchronous Question: Rhetorics, Linguistics and Pragmatics

Getting up early to attend this session wasn't easy, but it was certainly worth it. Each presenter interrogated a different aspect of email communication, and the findings were outstanding. All four presentations contained a perfect balance of theoretical background and practical experience. The points came at the audience quickly, but generated a lot of great thinking, commentary and discussion.

Trent Batson presented a series of questions concerning the context, coherence, register, tone, closure and purpose of email that could serve to create a curriculum for teaching email that would focus less on a deficit model and would deal with a rhetorical analysis of what it does or needs to do. Leland McCleary focused on questions of control mechanisms that arise in unmoderated listservs. He studied archived email messages of Megabyte University and analyzed the community dynamic as the list members struggled to reach a consensus on how to deal with a disruptive poster sending out hate messages.

Christopher Dean provided ample evidence for his assertion that that low tech is good tech because it allows for the most access and considers financial and time constraints of institutions and participants. Chris Johnston discussed the ways that moving from electronic to face-to-face communication can often bring out aspects of students' identity in the virtual world that they cannot bring out in traditional spaces, and pointed out that the virtual world is not a separate space, but is connected to and will impinge on the face-to-face world.

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