Web technologies provide a wide range of collaboration mechanisms: e-mail, discussion groups, chat, whiteboard, screen sharing, response-pads, audioconferencing, and videoconferencing. This chapter guides you in selecting among these collaboration mechanisms. It helps you see what each offers and how its use in training may differ from its use elsewhere.

8.4.1. E-mail

E-mail is the most common method of collaboration in WBT. E-mail includes private messages sent one-to-one, say from a learner to ask a question of the instructor. Or they can be broadcast from the instructor to the class. (E-mail lists are considered as a kind of discussion group and are discussed on Page 348.) Use private e-mail for immediacy, intimacy, and impact

Use one–to–one e-mail messages to ask and answer individual questions, but not for questions of general interest.

Do not use e-mail for routine messages that do not require special attention from the recipient. If a response is optional and the subject is not critical, post the message to a discussion group. If an immediate answer is crucial, use the telephone.

Use private e-mail for intimacy and privacy. With e-mail exchanges learners feel more privacy (and more loneliness) than they do on discussion groups and chats [38]. Use e-mail for responses that might embarrass the recipient if posted in ...

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