Wood+Fassett - Remote Control Identity Power and Technology...

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Remote Control: Identity, Power, and Technology in the Communication Classroom Andrew F. Wood and Deanna L. Fassett Instructional communication researchers, by focusing attention on “how-to” matters and forays into conventional areas of study (i.e., immediacy, apprehension), neglect a nuanced treatment of student and teacher identity. Such a perspective is relatively disembodied and fails to engage actual classroom interactions. By engaging in autoethnographic analysis of their experiences with instructional technology, the authors reveal a more complex understanding of how instructional identities interact. In particular, the authors advocate an understanding of power that is distributed, embodied, and malleable. Keywords: computer-mediated communication, instructional technology, power, autoethnography My desktop e-mail icon flashes. More messages. I’m one mouse click away from sexual gratification, a second mortgage, and a get-rich opportunity announced by a Nigerian diplomat. Scrolling down, the more insistent e-mails announce their presence with bold-faced (even color-coded) headers: “One more question about your assignment,” “Could you review this draft?” “Did you get my e-mail?” Scanning one particularly crisis-soaked missive, I think about the office hours I used to enjoy. Chatting with students during office hours provides rich opportunities to work individually with them, assessing their progress through the course and identifying potential areas of concern that may hinder their successful completion of the term. Along the way, I figured they might get to know me a little more as I have gotten to know them. I’ve always decorated my space with family photos, vacation mementos, and other items that offer insight into my personality and interests. I don’t necessarily expect that students will gain any particular pleasure in viewing this memorabilia. Indeed, a fair amount of students drop by strictly for task-oriented interactions and do not seem to notice the office at all. Even so, I enjoy those moments when students appear to catch a glimpse of my interests beyond the classroom, to see a more complete reflection of me. In return, I feel freer to converse more frankly and directly, even while attempting to retain a sense of decorum and awareness of the power differences within the professor–student relationship. It seems, though, that fewer students care to queue at my door. Instead, my electronic stack of e-mails continues to grow. The icon flashes again. 1 This is an exploration born of frustration, born of our shared difficulty to find mirrors in our field’s literature for our own pedagogical practices. Our shelves sag beneath the weight of well-worn copies of Communication Education , copies that yield studies of how we might encourage seniors or “silver surfers” to use the Internet to communication (CMC) might affect the immediacy, the closeness we share with our
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This note was uploaded on 09/08/2010 for the course COMM 100W at San Jose State.

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Wood+Fassett - Remote Control Identity Power and Technology...

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