Research Output

Messenger in The Barn: networking in a learning environment.

  This case study describes the use of a synchronous communication application
(MSN Messenger) in a large academic computing environment. It draws on data
from interviews, questionnaires and student marks to examine the link between use
of the application and success measured through module marks. The relationship
is not simple. Total abstainers and heavy users come out best, while medium level
users do less well, indicating the influence of two factors. The discussion section
suggests possible factors. The study also highlights the benefits of support and
efficiency of communication that the application brings. Although there have been
many studies of synchronous communication tool use in the office and in social
life, this is one of the first to examine its informal use in an academic environment.


Rutter, M. (2008). Messenger in The Barn: networking in a learning environment. ALT-J : Association for Learning Technology journal. 17, 33-47. doi:10.1080/09687760802649863. ISSN 0968-7769



instant messaging; computer-mediated communication; social computing; informal communication; ethnographic research

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