Interaction!

Class today was great. 🙂 Thoughtful debate about face-to-face and computer-mediated communication (F2F, CMC) ~ are they both, equally, “interpersonal communication”? We’ll tease this out a bit through our use of the class weblog: how will it compare to the interactions we have in class?
We only got through a small portion of what I’d planned, but the time was well-spent and will serve us well as we develop norms for classroom discussion.
The goal of today was to demarcate what we’ll study in this class, compared to other communication courses. The group charged with the task of giving us an initial definition of interpersonal communication came up with: “Any form of interaction between two or more people.” We took each part of this definition and wound up reducing “any form” to F2F (mostly) and some CMC – physical presence, in the moment, simultaneous give & take, responsive. We eliminated all forms that are essentially monologic or performance-oriented (to an audience), and mass media. The word “between” took on a lot of meaning to several; and “interaction” emphasized connection and contact…we kept adding to this things like the importance of emotion and timeliness, as well as distinguisheing between intra– and inter-personal.
I went ahead with the reading assignment (on listening) even though we didn’t get through all the small group share outs today. Most folks (if not everyone!) seem to be listening carefully, but there’s nothing wrong with moving ahead on two fronts simultaneously. 🙂

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