Models and Theories in Human-Computer Interaction/CMC and Face-to-Face

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Computer mediated communication (CMC) and Face-to-Face[edit]

Computer mediated communication enables individuals to keep appraised on what others do in the realm of collaborative working environment. It enables all individuals to participate regardless of the status of the individual involved in the discussions process. CMC provides a platform for asynchronous communication which eliminates barriers of time and space; has potential of being more personal and customizable (Provenzo, 1986). Email, instant communication, teleconferencing etc. are some of the tools that humans use for computer mediated communication. Despite of all the advancements in CMC, individuals still prefer to communicate via face-to-face. The belief system dictates is that - face-to-face communication is the most effective form of communication because of the involvement of personal touch. Collaborative learning systems does offer maximization of shared information but it may not be appropriate way in achieving "meaningful learning" (Wan and Johnson, 1994).

Where CMC may suffer?[edit]

Individuals are woven with different personalities, different themes, cultural values etc. These are important elements that drive the interaction between individuals. Face-to-face communication has an advantage of changing the tone of interaction based on a given situation. On the other hand, CMC do not provide that ability - the tone of the emotions are neutral (video conferencing overcomes the gap but are expensive to implement). Overall the lack of nonverbal cues in CMC has caused several researchers to suggest that social cognitive processes may differ between CMC and face-to-face interaction (Walther, 1993).

Final thoughts[edit]

Depending on situations - face-to-face and CMC both are prominent in a given situations. CMC has benefits - use of multiple communication threads can increase group participation and contribution from more team members and foster a less egalitarian communication structure. It helps the organization as a whole in cutting down the downtime between employees. On the other hand, it is important to have face-to-face communication – especially dealing with sensitive issues and interpersonal relationships. The advantages of non-verbal cues, eye contact, gestures, voice tone etc. allows for more personal touch between parties involved. It helps in reducing misunderstanding. On the other hand, the major drawback is the unavailability of subjects; lack of time for consideration when making decision or communicating with the employees (Ean, 2010)

Olson, J.M.; Olson, J.S. (2008). "The human computer interaction handbook: Fundamentals, evolving technologies, and emerging applications". Group Cooperative Work (New York: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates): 545–558 Provenzo, E. F. (1986). Beyond the Gutenberg galaxy. Teachers College Press: NewYork Walther, J. B. (1992). Interpersonal effects in computer-mediated interaction: A relational perspective. Communication Research, 19, 52-90.