Z543: Computer-Mediated Communication



Fall 2013


Susan Herring


Monday 5:45-8:30 p.m.


LI 037


LI 030


(812) 856-4919 (voice mail)




herring at indiana dot edu

Instructor's Office Hours: M 4:15-5:15 p.m. and by appointment

Facebook group (for class members only): Z543: CMC


Required Readings:

Articles to be made available on Oncourse or on the public Web.


1.  Course Description

Computer-mediated communication (CMC) is the human-to-human interaction that takes place via computer networks such as the Internet, as well as via mobile digital media. Invented in the 1960s and expanded initially over the Arpanet (the precursor of the Internet), CMC has grown at a dizzying rate over the past five decades to become as ubiquitous as such taken-for-granted communication technologies as radio, the telephone, and television.

Historically, most CMC was text-based; examples include email, mailing lists, web forums, chat, MUDs, Instant Messaging, text messaging (SMS), blogs, microblogs, and wikis. Starting in the mid-1990s, multimodal CMC also became important, in the form of video chat, audio chat, and graphical virtual worlds—and, of course, the World Wide Web. The most recent decade has seen a trend for CMC to converge with other media applications, such as social network sites, video sharing, multiplayer online games, and interactive television.

This course covers practical and theoretical issues associated with CMC technologies. It focuses on the effects of CMC on identity, interpersonal relationships, and group behavior, and the social structures that emerge when people use CMC. Other topics covered include online language use, blended online-offline communication, communication in convergent media environments, and avatar and robot-mediated communication.


2.  Course Objectives

Students will gain an understanding of the field of CMC and contemporary debates in the field, through reading, in-depth discussion, and hands-on applications of CMC systems. As a result of taking the course, you will be able to identify processes, problems, and advantages associated with the use of CMC in different contexts.

In addition, you will gain:


    a historical perspective on the development of CMC and CMC systems

    a theoretically-grounded, critical understanding of the nature of CMC and its social and technical effects in different contexts of use          

    hands-on experience with various CMC modes

    skill in summarizing and synthesizing concepts from published scholarship


3.  Course Requirements

There is no exam or term paper requirement in this course; the final grade will be based on three evenly-spaced activities and participation. Participation includes attendance and discussion of the course readings.

Attendance:  You are expected to be physically present and alert during class meetings. The use of laptops and digital devices during class time is limited to activities that relate directly to the course. Surfing the web for other purposes, reading or replying to email, text messages, or Facebook, and other non-class-related use of digital media is not permitted during either face-to-face or online class meetings. You may miss one class, no questions asked, with no negative effect on your grade. If you must miss two or more class sessions for a legitimate reason, contact me (preferably in advance) for suggestions of what you can do to make up your participation.

Readings:  You are expected to read the assigned readings and participate in online discussions about them (platform TBA -- options include Oncourse forums, Oncourse wikis, individual blogs, ...?). Every week, one person will post a summary (2-3 paragraphs, briefly encapsulating each article's main claims) for each assigned reading, and everyone else will post one or more comments on the summaries. Good comments will engage specifically and thoughtfully with the content of the readings. Time will also be devoted to discussing the readings and applying them to contemporary situations during class meetings.


CMC diary: To foster critical self-awareness, each day for a continuous specified period you will record your CMC use in a MS Word "diary," according to a template that will be provided. Your diary will be due around Week 5.


Annotated bibliography:  To develop focused knowledge and research skill, you will prepare an annotated bibliography on a CMC topic of interest to you. This need not be a topic or type of CMC discussed in the course, but it must have some published research associated with it. A list of possible topics will be provided; you may also suggest other topics. For your chosen topic, 10 scholarly works should be selected, read, and each one summarized in 1-2 paragraphs (guidelines will be provided) in a MS Word document. Citations and references in the bibliography should follow APA (American Psychological Association) style, 5th edition. Your annotated bibliography will be due around Week 10.


Video essay and critiques: To explore current trends in CMC (and learn to use technologies that may be new to you), you will script and record a short (5 minute) video essay on a current issue, phenomenon, or debate related to CMC. For this activity you may work alone or in pairs. Your video must be uploaded to YouTube (and viewable without any major technical glitches!) by 10 pm, Friday, December 13th. All the videos will be shown in class on December 16th. Following the group viewing, you will critique the content of other students' essays by inserting textual annotations directly into the videos (instructions will be provided). All annotations must be posted by 10 pm, Friday, December 20th.


There is a Facebook group for this course (Z543: CMC). You are expected to check the group at least once a day, including the afternoon before class for last-minute announcements and reminders. Posting and commenting in the Facebook group is strongly encouraged.


4.  Grading


Your grade for the course will be calculated as follows:


Attendance and in-class participation


Online participation


CMC diary


Annotated bibliography


Video essay


Video essay critiques






Grading policy:


    Late online comments on the readings will be accepted once during the semester, no questions asked, provided they are posted within two days after the class meeting in which the readings were discussed. I reserve the right to subtract one-third of a letter grade (from A to A-, A- to B+, etc.) for each day one of the three activities is late beyond the due date.

    Class participation, reading summaries, and online discussions will be graded with a check mark for each class meeting, to indicate that the requirement was met. Class participation means being willing and prepared to speak intelligently in class about the topics under discussion. (Note: this does not necessarily mean speaking a lot—you may be penalized if you habitually dominate class discussions.)

    The CMC diary, annotated bibliography, video essay, and the critiques of the video essays will be assigned letter grades (A, A-, B+, B, B-, C+, C, etc.).


Note:  Learning is a collaborative enterprise. However, plagiarism, copyright infringement, and other types of academic dishonesty will not be tolerated. To help you recognize plagiarism, the IU Writing Center has prepared a short guide: Plagiarism: What It is and How to Recognize and Avoid It. Please read this guide and refer to it when you produce your written assignments for this course.


  Tentative Schedule of Readings and Discussions

  (Subject to change with advance notice)



Week 1 (8/26):

Introduction to computer-mediated communication. Classifying and describing types of CMC.



1. Herring, S. C. (2007). A faceted classification scheme for computer-mediated discourse. Language@Internet. http://www.languageatinternet.org/articles/2007/761/index_html

(No online discussion will be held for this article.)


  Week 2 (9/2):                Labor Day -- CLASS DOES NOT MEET. Please read the following articles and discuss them online.

The origins and development of computer-mediated communication.


1. Licklider J. C. R. & Taylor, R. W. (1968). The computer as a communication device. International Science and Technology, April. http://memex.org/licklider.pdf [article starts on p. 21]

2. Herring, S. C. (2004). Slouching toward the ordinary: Current trends in computer-mediated communication. New Media & Society, 6 (1), 26-36. http://faculty.washington.edu/thurlow/com482/herring(2004).pdf

3. Ellison, N, & boyd, d. (2013). Situating social network sites in context. In: Sociality through social network sites, pp. 160-164 (we will read the rest of the article later in the semester). [Oncourse]



Week 3 (9/9):

CMC as language and discourse.



(Choose 3)

1. Baron, N. S. (1984). Computer-mediated communication as a force in language change. Visible Language, 18(2), 118–141. [Oncourse]

2. Herring, S. C. (2001). Computer--mediated discourse. In D. Schiffrin, D. Tannen, & H. Hamilton (Eds.), The Handbook of Discourse Analysis (pp. 612-634). Oxford: Blackwell Publishers. http://ella.slis.indiana.edu/~herring/cmd.pdf

3. Thurlow, C. (2006). From statistical panic to moral panic: The metadiscursive construction and popular exaggeration of new media language in the print media. Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication, 11(3), article 1. http://jcmc.indiana.edu/vol11/issue3/thurlow.html

4. Herring, S. C. (2013). Discourse in Web 2.0: Familiar, reconfigured , and emergent. In D. Tannen & A. M. Tester (Eds.), Georgetown University Round Table on Languages and Linguistics 2011: Discourse 2.0: Language and new media (pp. 1-25). Washington, DC: Georgetown University Press. http://ella.slis.indiana.edu/~herring/GURT.2011.prepub.pdf

5. Derks, D., Fischer, A. H., & Bos, A. E. (2008). The role of emotion in computer-mediated communication: A review. Computers in Human Behavior, 24(3), 766-785. [Oncourse]

Guest Lecture

Muhammad Abdul-Mageed: "Affect expression in Arabic CMC"


Week 4 (9/16):

Identity and self-presentation.



(Choose 3)

1. Walther, J. (1996). Computer-mediated communication: Impersonal, interpersonal and hyperpersonal interaction. Communication Research, 23(1), 3-43. [Oncourse]

2. Zhao S., Grasmuck, S., & Martin, J. (2008). Identity construction on Facebook: Digital empowerment in anchored relationships. Computers in Human Behavior, 24, 1816–1836. [Oncourse]

4. Herring, S. C., & Stoerger, S. (In press, 2014). Gender and (a)nonymity in computer-mediated communication. In S. Ehrlich, M. Meyerhoff, & J. Holmes (Eds.), The handbook of language, gender, and sexuality, 2nd edition. Chichester, UK: John Wiley & Sons, Ltd. http://ella.slis.indiana.edu/~herring/herring.stoerger.pdf

3. Livingstone, S. (2008) Taking risky opportunities in youthful content creation: Teenagers’ use of social networking sites for intimacy, privacy and self-expression. New Media & Society, 10(3), 393-411. [Oncourse]

5. Grasmuck, S., Martin, J., & Zhao, S. (2009). Ethno-racial identity displays on Facebook. Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication, 15(1), 158-188. http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com.ezproxy.lib.indiana.edu/doi/10.1111/j.1083-6101.2009.01498.x/full


Week 5 (9/23):

Interpersonal relationships.



(Choose 3)

1. Kraut, R., Lundmark, V., Patterson, M., Kiesler, S., Mukopadhyay, T., Scherlis, W. (1998). Internet Paradox: A social technology that reduces social involvement and psychological well-being? American Psychologist, 53(9), 1017-1031. [Oncourse]

2. Cooper A., & Sportolari, L. (1997). Romance in cyberspace: Under- standing online attraction. Journal of Sex Education and Therapy, 6, 79–104. http://neuage.org/phd/vc/39-romance.html

3. Baym, N. K., Zhang, Y. B., & Lin, M. C. (2004). Social interactions across media: Interpersonal communication on the Internet, telephone and face-to-face. New Media & Society, 6(3), 299–318. [Oncourse]

4. Kim, K.-H., & Yun, H. (2007). Cying for me, cying for us: Relational dialectics in a Korean social network site. Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication, 13(1). http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1083-6101.2007.00397.x/full

5. Bevan, J. L., Pfyl, J., & Barclay, B. (2012). Negative emotional and cognitive responses to being unfriended on Facebook: An exploratory study. Computers in Human Behavior, 28, 1458-1464. [Oncourse]


Week 6 (9/30):

Deception, trust, and reputation.


(Choose 3)

1. Van Gelder, L. (1985). The strange case of the electronic lover. Ms. Magazine, October. [Oncourse]

2. Donath, J. (1999). Identity and deception in the virtual community. In
M. Smith & P. Kollock (Eds.), Communities in Cyberspace. [Oncourse]

3. Hancock, J. T., & Gonzales, A. (2013). Deception in computer-mediated communication. In S. C. Herring, D. Stein, & T. Virtanen (Eds.), Handbook of pragmatics of computer-mediated communication (pp. 363-384). Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter. [Oncourse]

4. Henderson, S., & Gilding, M. (2004). ‘I’ve never clicked this much with anyone in my life:’ Trust and hyperpersonal communication in online friendships. New Media & Society, 6(4), 487–506. [Oncourse]

5. Resnick, P., Kuwabara, K., Zeckhauser, R., & Friedman, E. (2000). Reputation systems. Communications of the Association for Computing Machinery, 43, 45–48. [Oncourse]

6. Gill, M. (2013). Authentication and Nigerian Letters. In S. C. Herring, D. Stein, & T. Virtanen (Eds.), Handbook of pragmatics of computer-mediated communication (pp. 411-436). Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter. [Oncourse]


Week 7 (10/7):

Antisocial behavior.


(Choose 3)

1. Dibbell, J. (1994). A rape in cyberspace or how an evil clown, a Haitian trickster spirit, two wizards, and a cast of dozens turned a database into a society. Village Voice, December 23, 1993. http://www.villagevoice.com/2005-10-18/specials/a-rape-in-cyberspace/

2. Herring, S. C. (1999). The rhetorical dynamics of gender harassment on-line. The Information Society, 15(3), 151-167. http://ella.slis.indiana.edu/~herring/harassment.pdf

3. Phillips, W. (2011). LOLing at tragedy: Facebook trolls, memorial pages and resistance to grief online. First Monday, 16(12). http://firstmonday.org/ojs/index.php/fm/article/view/3168/3115

4. Gerstenfeld, P. B., Grant, D. R., & Chiang, C. P. (2003). Hate online: A content analysis of extremist Internet sites. Analyses of Social Issues and Public Policy, 3, 29-44. [Oncourse]

5. Mishna, F., Cook, C., Gadalla, T., Daciuk, J., & Solomon, S. (2010). Cyber bullying behaviors among middle and high school students. American Journal of Orthopsychiatry, 80(3), 362-374. [Oncourse]


Week 8 (10/14):

Online community.


(Choose 3)

1. Rheingold, H. (1993). Introduction & Chapter 1: The Heart of the Well. The Virtual Community: Homesteading on the Electronic Frontier. http://www.rheingold.com/vc/book/

2. Fernback, J., & Thompson, B. (1995). Virtual communities: Abort, retry, failure? http://www.well.com/user /hlr/texts/VCcivil.html

3. Nonnecke, B., Andrews, D., & Preece, J. (2006). Non-public and public online community participation: Needs, attitudes and behavior. Electronic Commerce Research, 6, 7-20. [Oncourse]

4. McLure Wasko, M., & Faraj, S. (2005, March). Why should I share?  Examining social capital and knowledge contribution in electronic networks of practice. MISQ, 29, 35-57. [Oncourse]

5. Baym, N. (2007). The new shape of online community: The example of Swedish independent music fandom. First Monday, 12(8). http://firstmonday.org/ojs/index.php/fm/article/view/1978/1853

6. Brown, R. (2001).  Process of community-building in distance learning classes. Journal of Asynchronous Learning Networks, 5(2). [Oncourse]


Week 9 (10/21):

Computer-mediated collaboration. Wikis.


(Choose 3)

1. Wagner, C. (2004). Wiki: A technology for conversational knowledge management and group collaboration. Communications of the AIS, vol. 13, article 19.
2. Hoffmann, R. (2008). A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics, 40(9), 1047-1051. [Oncourse]
3. Emigh, W., & Herring, S. C. (2005). Collaborative authoring on the Web: A genre analysis of online encyclopedias. Proceedings of the Thirty-Eighth Hawai'i International Conference on System Sciences (HICSS-38). Los Alamitos: IEEE Press. http://ella.slis.indiana.edu/~herring/wiki.pdf
4. Viégas, F. B.,Wattenberg, M., & Dave, K. (2004). Studying cooperation and conflict between authors with history flow visualizations. CHI 2004, 575-582. [Oncourse]
5. Callahan, E., & Herring, S. C. (2011). Cultural bias in Wikipedia articles about famous persons. Journal of the American Society for Information Science and Technology, 62(10), 1899-1915. Preprint: http://ella.slis.indiana.edu/~herring/callahan.herring.2011.pdf
6. Ravid, G., Kalman, Y. M. & Rafaeli, S. (2008). Wikibooks in higher education: Empowerment through online distributed collaboration. Computers in Human Behavior, 24(5), 1913-1928. [Oncourse]


Week 10 (10/28):

CMC and society: Social movements. Hacktivism/slacktivism.


Everyone read Hara & Huang, plus choose two others

1. Hara, N., & Huang, B-Y. (2013). Online social movements. Annual Review of Information Science and Technology, 45(1), 489-522. [Oncourse]
2. Christensen, H. S. (2011). Political activities on the Internet: Slacktivism or political participation by other means? First Monday, 16(2). http://uncommonculture.org/ojs/index.php/fm/article/view/3336/2767
3. Menn, J. (2011). They’re watching, and they can bring you down. Why the world is scared of hacktivists. FT Magazine, September 23. http://www.ft.com/cms/s/2/3645ac3c-e32b-11e0-bb55-00144feabdc0.html
4. Mascaro, C. M., & Goggins, S. (2010). Brewing up citizen engagement: The Coffee Party on Facebook. C&T ’11: Proceedings of the Fifth International Conference on Communities and Technologies, pp. 11–20. [Oncourse]
5. Stepanova, E. (2011). The role of information communication technologies in the “Arab Spring”. PONARS Eurasia. [Oncourse]



Week 11 (11/4):

CLASS WILL NOT MEET (Dr. Herring at ASIS&T conference in Montreal)


Annotated bibliographies


Week 12 (11/11):

Online social networks and social network sites.


Everyone read the first two, plus choose two of the others.

1. Howard, B. (2008). Analyzing online social networks. Communications of the ACM, 51(11), 14-16. [Oncourse]

2. Ellison, N., & boyd, d. (2013). Situating social network sites in context. In: W. H. Dutton (Ed.), The Oxford handbook of internet studies (pp. 151-172). Oxford: Oxford University Press. [Oncourse]
3. Papacharissi, Z. (2009). The virtual geographies of social networks: A comparative analysis of Facebook, LinkedIn and AsmallWorld. New Media & Society, 11(1&2), 199-220. [Oncourse]

4. Subrahmanyam, K., Reich, S. M., Waechter, N., & Espinoza, G. (2008). Online and offline social networks: Use of social networking sites by emerging adults. Journal of Applied Developmental Psychology, 29, 420–433. [Oncourse]

5. Ybarra, M. L., & Mitchell, K. J. (2008). How risky are social networking sites? A comparison of places online where youth sexual solicitation and harassment occurs. Pediatrics, 121, e350-e357. [Oncourse]

6. Haythornthwaite, C. (2001). Exploring multiplexity: Social network structures in a computer-supported distance learning class. The Information Society, 17, 211-216. [Oncourse]


Week 13 (11/18):

CMC as mass media. Blogs and microblogs.


(Choose 3).

1. Lasica, J. D. (2002, April 18). Blogging as a form of journalism. (Parts 1 and 2.) Online Journalism Review. http://www.jdlasica.com/2001/05/24/blogging-as-a-form-of-journalism/

2. Herring, S. C., Scheidt, L. A., Bonus, S., & Wright, E. (2005). Weblogs as a bridging genre. Information, Technology & People, 18(2), 142-171. http://ella.slis.indiana.edu/~herring/itp.pdf

3. Lawrence, E., Sides, J., & Farrell, H. (2010). Self-segregation or deliberation? Blog readership, participation, and polarization in American politics. Perspectives on Politics, 8(1). [Oncourse]

4. Kwak, H., Lee, C., Park, H., & Moon, S. (2010). What is Twitter, a social network or a news media? Proceedings of WWW 2010, April 26–30, 2010, Raleigh, North Carolina. [Oncourse]

5. Hughes, A. L., & Palen, L. (2009). Twitter adoption and use in mass convergence and emergency events. Proceedings of the 6th International ISCRAM Conference, Gothenburg, Sweden, May 2009. [Oncourse]

6. Honeycutt, C., & Herring, S. C. (2009). Beyond microblogging: Conversation and collaboration via Twitter. Proceedings of the Forty-Second Hawai'i International Conference on System Sciences (HICSS-42). Los Alamitos, CA: IEEE Press. http://ella.slis.indiana.edu/~herring/honeycutt.herring.2009.pdf




Week 14 (12/2):

Media convergence and CMCMC (“blended CMC”).


(Everyone read #1 and #5 and choose one other)

1. Jenkins, H. (2004). The cultural logic of media convergence. International Journal of Cultural Studies, 7, 33-43. [Oncourse]

2. Williams, D., Caplan, S., & Xiong, L. (2007). Can you hear me now? The impact of voice in an online gaming community. Human Communication Research, 33, 427-449. [Oncourse]

3. Weisz, J. D., Kiesler, S., Zhang, H., Ren, Y., Kraut, R. E., & Konstan, J. A. (2007). Watching together: Integrating text chat with video. Proceedings of CHI 2007 (pp. 877-886). NY: ACM Press. [Oncourse] 

4. Herring S. C., & Demarest, B. (2011). Mode choice in multimodal comment threads: Effects on participation, sociability, and attitude. Unpublished manuscript. [Oncourse]

5. Howard, C. D., & Myers, R. D. (2010) Creating video-annotated discussions: An asynchronous alternative. International Journal of Designs for Learning, 1(1). (Multimedia.) http://scholarworks.iu.edu/ijdlcontent/Vidants/vidannotations.swf

Guest lecture: Craig Howard: "Collaborative video annotation"


Week 15 (12/9):

Avatar-mediated communication and robot-mediated communication.


(Choose 3)

1. Bente, G., Rüggenberg, S., Krämer, N. C., & Eschenburg, F. (2008) Avatar-mediated networking: Increasing social presence and interpersonal trust in net-based collaborations. Human Communication Research 34(2), 287-318. [Oncourse]

2. Yee, N., Bailenson, J. N., Urbanek, M., Chang, F., & Merget, D. (2007). The unbearable likeness of being digital: The persistence of nonverbal social norms in online virtual environments. CyberPsychology & Behavior, 10(1), 115-121. [Oncourse]

3. Mutlu, B., Yamaoka, F., Kanda, T., Ishiguro H., & Hagita, N. (2009). Nonverbal leakage in robots: Communication of intentions through seemingly unintentional behavior. Proceedings of HRI’09. [Oncourse]

4. Rae, I., Takayama, L., & Mutlu, B. (2013). In-body experiences: Embodiment, control, and trust in robot-mediated communication. Proceedings of CHI 2013. [Oncourse]

Guest lecture: Guo Zhang: "Avatar-mediated communication in Multiplayer Online Games"


Week 16 (12/16):

Video essays due (uploaded to YouTube) 6 pm, Saturday, December 14. Comments on video essays due 10 pm, Thursday, December 19.


Last updated: 12/14/13