New media allow for new ways of tutoring

If "the medium is the message," then new media such as MOOs and hypertext may give students new ways to interact with tutors and each other. A meeting mediated by computer technology may differ significantly from a meeting mediated by desks, walls, and a face-to-face encounter.

Valerie Balester has suggested, for instance, that conferencing software can help writing centers create truly collaborative environments. (See "Transforming the Writing Center with Computers," ERIC #ED345258.) Dave Coogan similarly suggests that a new medium such as e-mail may enable tutors and students to collaborate in new ways. Similarly, a medium such as a MOO might offer, as Eric Crump has suggested, a more positive, playful atmosphere for tutors and students.

New media may lead us, therefore, towards new, more beneficial ways of interacting with students. By providing new sets of cues (and, perhaps, by masking face-to-face cues), computer media may prompt people to interact in new ways with each other.

and . . .

Stuart Blythe
Purdue University