Margaret Daisley
The University of Massachusetts, Amherst

Ultimately, my primary argument at this time is that constructing an adequate framework for the interpretation of "silences" in CMC environments may be most useful for researchers, including teacher-researchers who use their own classrooms as study sites. As my own study should show, it is simplistic to assume that silences in CMC are inevitably "unnatural," the result of silencing or marginalizing forces. Yet, neither is it prudent to assume that CMC environments can be free(d) of political implications (see Epilogue following).

For instructors, it seems important to consider students' current access and prior experiences as potential silencing factors when CMC is a new experience, and to allow for the initial displacement that happens when the scene of rhetorical acts (and silences) shifts to the online world. Such displacements frequently result in various forms of "communication anxiety." It follows that encounters with silence in this medium cannot always be addressed by means of "tacit knowledge," as tacit knowledge derives from having a previous body of experiences to consult.

For researchers, especially, perhaps the most important finding of this study is that, in our analyses and interpretations of online rhetoric, we need to stop and remember to examine our own prior constructions for what we deem [are] "appropriate" silences online, [and] what are not.

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