Monday, October 11, 2004

Student use of instant messaging

As I've written before, I commonly use instant messengers (IMs) with my students, and I stay logged in to the programs whenever I'm in my office. I'm still here in my office tonight, working on lecture for tomorrow, and thus I've been logged in all evening. My students' first multi-page lab report is due tomorrow, so I've been getting sporadic IMs all evening asking questions about the report (everything from how to turn it in to specific questions on statistical analyses).

Within the past seven hours I've been IMed by slightly more than 20% of the students in my class (and I had multiple IM conversations with some of those students through the evening). Only 6% of the class stopped by my office today to talk about lab reports, and I haven't gotten a single student e-mail or phone call yet today (though 6% of the students did e-mail me over the weekend about the lab reports).

I enjoy using IMs to communicate with my students, and these data seem to show that students prefer to use IMs over other forms of communication.

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