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Keller gonzaga 0736_m_10143

  1. 1. COMPUTER-MEDIATED COMMUNICATION AND EDUCATIONAL GAMES 1 COMPUTER-MEDIATED COMMUNICATION AND EDUCATIONAL GAMES A Thesis Presented to the Faculty in Communication and Leadership Studies School of Professional Studies Gonzaga University Under the Supervision of Dr. Alexa Dare Under the Mentorship of Nobuya Inagaki In Partial Fulfillment Of the Requirements for the Degree Master of Arts in Communication and Leadership Studies By Stacy L. Keller May 2012
  3. 3. COMPUTER-MEDIATED COMMUNICATION AND EDUCATIONAL GAMES 3 ABSTRACT The continuous development of technology has made Computer-mediated communication the normal means of communication in many organizations. Many educators are beginning to use resources designed to prepare their students for the global world of computer-mediated communication. Even though computer-mediated communication is different from face-to-face, it does not necessarily inhibit collaboration. This study examined the success of a non-collocated team playing MoonWorld using only computer-mediated communication versus the success of a team that was collocated and able to use face-to-face communication. The data showed that there were differences in the collaboration between the two teams, but that both teams were successful despite one having the ability to communicate face-to-face. The findings suggest that if a virtual environment is designed correctly, computer-mediated communication can be used to successfully collaborate.
  4. 4. COMPUTER-MEDIATED COMMUNICATION AND EDUCATIONAL GAMES 4 TABLE OF CONTENTS Chapter 1. INTRODUCTION 4 1.1 The Problem 4 1.2 Definition of Terms 5 1.3 Organization of Remaining Chapters 6 Chapter 2. THE REVIEW OF LITERATURE 7 2.1 Philosophical Assumptions 7 2.2 Theoretical Basis 8 2.2.1 Indentifying non-verbal cues 9 2.2.2 Deficit approaches 11 2.2.3 CMC as beneficial 14 2.2.4 CMC game communication 15 2.3 Purpose of Proposed Research 16 2.4 Research Questions 17 Chapter 3. METHODOLOGY 18 3.1 Scope of Study 18 3.2 Sampling Procedures 19 3.3 Research Design 19 3.4 Reliability 22 Chapter 4. THE STUDY 23 4.1 Introduction 23 4.2 Data Analysis 23 4.3 Results 25 4.4 Discussion 31 Chapter 5. CONCLUSION 34 5.1 Limitations 34 5.2 Recommendations for Further Study 34 5.3 Conclusions 35 REFERENCES 37 Appendix 40
  5. 5. COMPUTER-MEDIATED COMMUNICATION AND EDUCATIONAL GAMES 5 Chapter 1. INTRODUCTION 1.1The Problem Computer-mediated communication (CMC) has opened opportunities for organizations and educators alike. Organizations can use CMC to save money and time when collaborating with team members throughout the country, or even the world. Educators can prepare their students for the global society by connecting them with students and experts in the field from around the world. Despite these benefits, many communication theories (Daft & Lengel, 1986; Short, Williams, & Christie, 1976; Rutter, 1987; Rice & Shook, 1990; and Rice, 1993) still focus on the negative aspects of CMC. These studies can often be misinterpreted to mean that CMC should be avoided because it can never be a substitute for face-to-face (FtF) instead of recognizing the differences between the two and using the appropriate medium. The idea that CMC is a lesser medium can discourage people from using it for things like distance learning opportunities that CMC makes possible. Teaching students how to work as a team is essential to their education, especially in the areas of science, technology, engineering, and math. So important that the National Academy of Science (NAS) highlights collaboration and teamwork in its report, “A Framework for K-12 Science Education: Practices, Crosscutting Concepts, and Core Ideas”. The virtual environment and game, MoonWorld was designed in response to the suggestions made by the NAS. The designers intended for teams playing MoonWorld to use inquiry based science to ask questions, plan and carry out investigations, interpret data, construct explanations, engage in argument from evidence, and successfully communicate their findings with their teammate.
  6. 6. COMPUTER-MEDIATED COMMUNICATION AND EDUCATIONAL GAMES 6 MoonWorld aims to help students learn to collaborate. The game is designed so that players are in world together, but on different computers. Players can be sitting right next to eachother or across the globe, either way they will need to work as a team to be successful. This is reflective of the way organizations that have employees and contractors located across the country must collaborate as well. Knowing how to collaborate using CMC is relevant and important in both education and business. 1.2 Definition of Terms Face-to-face communication (FtF): Communication that occurs between communicators who are in one another’s presence Computer-mediated communication (CMC): In the review of literature, the studies will refer to CMC as any communication used through computers. However, in the methodology and analysis sections CMC refers to only the CMC features in MoonWorld, mainly voice chat using a headset and microphone. MoonWorld: “The best way to learn is to do, but that is difficult when you want to understand the geologic evolution of the Moon. The NASA-sponsored Classroom of the Future at the Center for Educational Technologies at Wheeling Jesuit University in Wheeling, WV, has created a virtual lunar landscape in Second Life to provide you a chance to don a spacesuit and drive a rover across the surface of the Moon. In MoonWorld your avatar explores the lunar surface, closely observing the terrain, collecting samples, and making measurements to piece together the history of one part of the Moon – the Timocharis region. Your team returns to the lunar base to synthesize your data and to make sure the life support system is still pumping out air, water, and food. MoonWorld, which is funded by NASA, includes both simple and complex impact craters as well as a lava flow and a volcanic dome. Your job, based on your avatar’s collection and
  7. 7. COMPUTER-MEDIATED COMMUNICATION AND EDUCATIONAL GAMES 7 analysis of observations, measurements, rock samples, and a drill core, is to determine the stratigraphic relations between these landforms – in what sequence did they form, and what evidence supports your conclusion”. ( Collocated: In this study the term collocated will be used to describe the condition assigned to the team who play MoonWorld in the same place. This team will have the opportunity to see one another’s computer screen and use non-verbal cues. Collocation will mean “to set or arrange in a place or position; especially: to set side by side” (“Collocated”, 2012). Non-collocated: This term will refer to the team whose players will be playing MoonWorld in different rooms. They will not be afforded the opportunity to use FtF communication such as gestures. 1.3 Organization of Remaining Chapters The remainder of this paper is organized into fourth additional chapters. Chapter two, the review of literature, is divided into philosophical assumptions and theoretical framework. The framework will discuss the deficit approaches concerning CMC and studies that have shown CMC to be beneficial. The methodology chapter follows explaining the design and setup of the study. Chapter four includes data analysis of the two teams head to head, and a discussion on the implication of the data. Finally, chapter five includes a conclusion, discussion on the limitations of the study, and suggestions for future research.
  8. 8. COMPUTER-MEDIATED COMMUNICATION AND EDUCATIONAL GAMES 8 Chapter 2. REVIEW OF LITERATURE 2.1 Philosophical Assumptions Computers have changed the way humans collaborate and work in teams both in the professional and educational worlds. Computer-mediated communication (CMC) has many benefits, saving businesses money and time by allowing teams separated by distance to work together. Often times this allows consultants and experts from all over the world to collaborate with teams. Similarly, educators and students can interact with experts in a given field thanks to distance learning opportunities that would have never been possible without CMC. However, CMC also can have negative effects on collaborative work because it makes communication more difficult according the traditional communication models. Communication has been defined, re-defined, modeled, and re-modeled as theorists attempt to understand and improve human communication. Wilbur Schramm’s (1954) model of communication (Figure 2.1) emphasized feedback between two communicators showing communication is more than just a sender, a message, and a receiver, but a cyclical process in which feedback can be given and interpreted at various speeds. Figure 2.1
  9. 9. COMPUTER-MEDIATED COMMUNICATION AND EDUCATIONAL GAMES 9 Sending and interpreting a message correctly is an essential part of collaborative work. CMC is often perceived as a second-rate form of communication that makes encoding, decoding, and interpreting difficult for those communicating, while FtF collaboration is perceived as the best and easiest form of communication according to communication theories such as media richness theory (Daft & Lengel, 1986) and social presence theory (Short et al., 1976). Many organizations, educators, and students can be dissuaded from using CMC collaboration, because of the negative stigma CMC has. This negative stigma can hinder them from growing and exploring new technologies, products, and ideas that could be useful in certain types of collaboration. However, the fundamental assumption in this research is that all communication can be flawed, even FtF, but that all forms of communication also have benefits. By highlighting CMC benefits, and finding if and where CMC is lacking, we can learn to use it correctly in collaborative work. Understanding the limitations and benefits of CMC can help develop virtual environments in which collaborative work is natural and easy, promoting successful group outcomes no matter what the project goal. Organizations, teachers, and students should be excited about virtual collaboration and distance learning instead of fearing it. 2.2 Theoretical Basis A lot of CMC research has focused on the ways CMC is not like FtF (Daft & Lengel, 1986; Short et al., 1976; Rutter, 1987). Their research is based on the idea that CMC is permanently flawed because it lacks qualities that only FtF can possess. Other theorist, while still focusing on the differences between CMC and FtF, have focused on human ability to adapt to CMC, and also adapt CMC to be more like FtF (Kock, 2005; Walther, 1992).
  10. 10. COMPUTER-MEDIATED COMMUNICATION AND EDUCATIONAL GAMES 10 These two areas of CMC research call for a large understanding of non-verbal cues, their purpose, and use. Specifically in collaborative environments, gestures often help clarify and explain ideas to teammates. It is important to understand the use of gestures in FtF so we can understand what happens in their absence during CMC collaborative work. This literature review will first indentify the importance of gestures and non-verbal cues. Then it will examine deficit approaches focused on the lack of cues in CMC versus FtF, and finally move to research demonstrating the usefulness of CMC. 2.2.1 Identifying Non-Verbal Cues. An understanding of non-verbal cues is necessary in order to determine if CMC is as effective as FtF. More specifically, an understanding of kinesics, or the coding system used to understand body language, is necessary. Birdwhistell (1970) believed that all body language had a communicative message and could be studied in order to determine their general meaning. Kinesics, a term developed by Birdwhistell, studies communication through posture, gesture, stance, and movement. He defined kinesics as the study of body-motion as related to the non-verbal aspects of interpersonal communication (Birdwhistell, 1970). Birdwhistell studied these behaviors by filming communicators, and then analyzed their bodily movements during communication. Unlike Birdwhistell who believed each person’s body language was unique, but part of a larger social system, Ekman and Frisen (1969) determined that there were universal meanings for facial expressions used in non-verbal communication. In addition, they determined that all non- verbal cues can be categorized in five areas; emblems, illustrators, adapters, regulators, and affect display (Ekman & Friesen, 1975).
  11. 11. COMPUTER-MEDIATED COMMUNICATION AND EDUCATIONAL GAMES 11 Some non-verbal cues important to consider when thinking about CMC versus FtF are what Ekman and Friesen would call emblems. This includes touch, glance, eye contact, proximity, gestures, facial expression, sounds, silence, tone, and posture. Depending on what mode of communication is being used, all or some of these may be absent. Collaborative work is task orientated making gestures important for demonstrating and explaining things to group members. An important gesture considered in past research concerning CMC was pointing (Bly, 1988; Kraut et al., 2003; Anderson et al, 2007). Pointing is a gesture that is absent in many CMC media, but can often be used in FtF to clarify meaning and give direction. Previous research done with MoonWorld (Reese, 2012) explored gestures in collaboration and emotion. Particularly, Reese (2012) studied achievement in collaboration in MoonWorld including use of gestures to show emotion. She asked, “What is the relationship between achievement, scientific practices, and collaboration for a team of educators during professional development?” The results from coding (Figure 2.2) shows that players used gestures twelve times in the short time of the video that was coded, indicating that even though players are located in a virtual world together they still often use gestures to communicate. Reese had not intended to focus her research on gestures, but once she observed how often the players were using emotional and instructional gestures she decided to included this in her coding that had originally planned to focus on the collaboration between players.
  12. 12. COMPUTER-MEDIATED COMMUNICATION AND EDUCATIONAL GAMES 12 Figure 2.2 She concluded that, “after MoonWorld professional development (30 minutes of mentored mission training followed by mission), MoonWorld educators successfully collaborate to engage in scientific practices, apply cross-cutting concepts, and build content knowledge” (Reese, 2012). The gestures coded seemed to be a big part of collaboration. Research has also suggested that collocated players give more feedback to one another than players who were non-collocated. In addition, they also found that FtF dialogues were shorter than those of the players using CMC. Doherty et al. (1997) suggest that this is because collocated players could see the face of their partner. FtF provides more information than those using CMC. Much of the research done on FtF versus CMC can be considered deficit theories, or theories that focus on the negative aspects of CMC. 2.2.2 Deficit Approaches. Before computers were mainstream, communication theorists were busy researching the affects communicating via telephone had on the quality and effectiveness of communication. Social presence theory (Short et al., 1976), media richness theory (Daft & Lengel, 1984; Daft & Lengel, 1986), and the cuelessness model (Rutter, 1987) emerged from telephonic communication research.
  13. 13. COMPUTER-MEDIATED COMMUNICATION AND EDUCATIONAL GAMES 13 Daft and Lengel developed media richness theory in the 1980’s based on the idea that all communication media have a different capacity to process information efficiently and effectively (Daft & Lengel, 1984). They assume that two forces influence communication in an organizational setting, uncertainty and equivocality. The “richness” of the medium determines whether uncertainty and equivocality are reduced or increased. They demonstrate the “richness” of communication media on a spectrum, defining richness as the ability of information to change understanding within a time interval (Daft & Lengel, 1986). On this spectrum, face-to-face communication is the richest, and letter writing is the least rich. This means that face-to-face communication is the most efficient without wavering in clarity making it the richest. Letter writing is the least efficient and most equivocal, but useful in conveying “standard data” or complex messages (Daft & Lengel, 1986). Daft, Lengel, and Trevino (1987) found more support for their initial work. They observed that managers who used FtF for personal interaction and collaboration, and other media for task-oriented work were more successful than the managers who did not. Rice and Shook (1990), and Rice (1993) also found that FtF was preferred for personal communication, but non- FtF media were suitable for task-oriented situations, supporting media richness theory. Further studies (e.g. Sproull & Kiesler, 1987) showed the negative consequences CMC had on group work. Specificially, groups felt less cohesive when using CMC versus FtF. This could because of the increase in uncertainty and equivocality in CMC or because of a lack of personal interactions and non-verbal cues. Where media richness theory is concerned with the increase of uncertainty and equivocality in non-FtF communication, social presence theory is concerned with the decrease in interpersonal communication, suggesting that media other than FtF are impersonal,
  14. 14. COMPUTER-MEDIATED COMMUNICATION AND EDUCATIONAL GAMES 14 individualistic, and task-oriented (Short, Williams & Christie, 1976). Like media richness theory, social presence theory implies that simple tasks and standard data can be communicated through CMC. Moreover, non-verbal cues such as gestures, facial, expressions, tone, and appearance are absent making it difficult to communicate emotion and establish roles. If true, this would hinder collaborative work and make it difficult to accomplish tasks if communicators have only CMC media available to use. Specifically, media richness theory would argue that the presence of gestures could make the message clearer and feedback easier and more efficient. Anderson et al. (2007) found that players gestured more in FtF conditions than in CMC. Sproull and Kiesler (1992) developed the reduced social cues model showing the negative aspects of the lack of social context cues. Although they discovered that geographical location, position within an organization’s hierarchy, and situational variables such as relationship between the sender and receiver as social context cues absent in electronic mail, they concluded that CMC media that diminish social cues may work better for task related efforts. By studying the way people communicate through electronic mail, they found that people overestimated their own contribution to communication and underestimated their group messages (Sproull & Kiesler, 1992). They concluded that lack of social cues creates difficulty in managing people and regulating communication. In addition, lack of social cues may cause communicators in a group to act differently than they would using FtF, and result in extreme decisions. To summarize, social cues may be absent in some forms of CMC. When these social cues are missing, the communicators may lose their sense of identity, and stop following “rules” or “social norms” they use in FtF communication. Although this model shows a deficit in CMC media, it also implies that lack of social cues can benefits the communicators in some situations, as they are not distracted by things like appearance and status.
  15. 15. COMPUTER-MEDIATED COMMUNICATION AND EDUCATIONAL GAMES 15 2.2.3 CMC as beneficial. Many studies have disputed media richness theory. Markus (1990) found that managers often use email for complex messages and tasks. Fulk, Schmitz, and Steinfield (1990) and Kock (2005) discuss in detail studies that have shown little support for media richness theory including: Kinney and Dennis (1994), Kinney and Watson (1992), and Dennis Kinney, and Hung (1999). In some cases, research has shown that the “richness” of a medium does not matter, or can be worked around. Particularly, studies have shown that in task related communication the richness of the medium does not matter (Kock, 2005; Daft et al., 1987; Rice & Shook,1990; Rice, 1993). In other situations, such as Social information processing theory developed by Joseph Walther, the research showed that lack of FtF in CMC can be worked around. Walther’s research focuses on the absence of non-verbal cues. This argues that even if non-verbal cues are absent, people will implement other cue systems available to them, adapting to the circumstances (Walther, 1992). Kock (2005) is also concerned with humans adapting to CMC when he looks at media richness theory through the lens of evolution. His theory is called media naturalness theory because he believes FtF is the most natural form of communication from an evolutionary standpoint, but that we can mimic this naturalness through CMC. He lists five requirements of natural communication through CMC, or what he calls, e-communication (Kock, 2002): 1. A high degree of collocation, which would allow the individuals engaged in a communication interaction to see and hear each other 2. A high degree of synchronicity, which would allow the individuals engaged in communication interaction to quickly exchange communicative stimuli
  16. 16. COMPUTER-MEDIATED COMMUNICATION AND EDUCATIONAL GAMES 16 3. The ability to convey and observe facial expressions 4. The ability to convey and observe body language 5. The ability to convey and listen to speech Where Daft and Lengel call these qualities “rich,” Kock (2002) calls them “natural”. Media richness theory says that a manager will choose a medium based on the appropriate richness for the task. If they cannot use their preferred method, the task outcome will be low. Kock (2002) considers cognitive effort, communication ambiguity, and physiological arousal as variables instead of task outcome allowing for positive outcomes when using a medium that may not be as natural as FtF. Earlier research by Kock (1998) considered that those using CMC might even over compensate when using CMC, achieving better results. 2.2.4 CMC game communication. Kock (2002) concludes that we need CMC media to solve communication problems, but we should try to make CMC as much like FtF as possible, while preserving the qualities of CMC that make them useful (e.g. convenience). CMC affords that distance no longer hinder a student’s ability to learn from an expert thousands of miles away nor does it hinder and organization from collaborating with valuable team members across the world. CMC can help collaboration and not hinder it if we understand the human tendencies in CMC. Educational games are innovative ways to engage and educate students. Many of them, such as MoonWorld, teach the students to collaborate in inquiry science tasks. Reese (2012) found that MoonWorld does not just teach concepts, but causes collaboration in scientific practices and cross-cutting concepts. In the case of many educational games, CMC is appropriate and easy to use in the virtual environment.
  17. 17. COMPUTER-MEDIATED COMMUNICATION AND EDUCATIONAL GAMES 17 Keating and Sunakawa (2010) explored how gamers are able to adapt to the virtual collaborative environment. What they call “participation cues” account for the player’s ability to adapt to collaboration in a virtual world while being collocated. Participation cues is the name given to cues used by players who are in a virtual world together, but also sitting next to each other in the “real” world. Keeting and Sunakawa use participation cues to account for the ways players communicate in both worlds at the same time. Their study included observing groups of gamers collocated, but interacting in a virtual world. After filming the gamers for seven hours, the group observed gestures, body language, gaze, and conversation. Keating and Sunakawa (2010) found that the groups developed their own way to communicate. They were able to manipulate chat features to show emotion (bold, italic, capital letters), the speed and tone of their voices during conversation conveyed meaning, etc. 2.3 Purpose of Proposed Research The gamers observed by Keating and Sunakawa (2010) were able to use participation cues to successfully collaborate and complete tasks in a virtual gaming world. However, they did not observe task outcome if non-verbal cues are absent. Other theories and models, such as media naturalness theory have suggested that CMC has its place especially in task-oriented situations. Virtual world, educational computer games are currently trending in a generation of learners with a high competency level in CMC. This study looks specifically at the success of task completion and the quality of work in collocated and non-collocated players. According to media richness theory, collocated players will be able to use FtF communication including non-
  18. 18. COMPUTER-MEDIATED COMMUNICATION AND EDUCATIONAL GAMES 18 verbal cues making their communication easier. The interest in this study is exploring the validity of media richness theory and the theories and models based upon it. Media richness theory, which rates the richness of a medium based on the reduction or increase in uncertainty and equivocality, features FtF as the richest way to communicate. The theory implies that communicators using CMC media will struggle to communicate more than those using FtF. However, Daft and Lengel (1986) found that CMC media is better to communicate “standard data” and complex messages. Like media richness theory, social presence theory (Short & Williams, 1976), Rice and Shook (1990), and Rice (1993) found that non-FtF media were suitable for task-oriented situations supporting media richness theory. These theories initially seem to imply that effect of CMC collaboration and education are negative, really have found that CMC can benefit educational and organizational collaboration. 2.4 Research Questions RQ1-Is FtF the best way for collaboration in an educational game? RQ2-Do learners playing an educational game non-collocated using computer-mediated communication experience the same success as collocated players using face-to-face communication?
  19. 19. COMPUTER-MEDIATED COMMUNICATION AND EDUCATIONAL GAMES 19 Chapter 3. SCOPE AND METHODOLOGY 3.1 Scope of the Study Educational games have continuously changed and improved as technology and the internet improves. These games now take advantage of rich virtual worlds and distance learning opportunities. The educational computer game, MoonWorld, was selected as the tool to conduct this study because of its educational attributes and its multi-player collaborative virtual environment. In addition, its system allows the researcher to measure success of the teams by the concepts they learned. For example, players are taught how to play the game and they have a number of tasks to complete, in addition to questions they must work together to answer. By measuring the amount of tasks each player or team completes and reviewing the correct and incorrect answers to questions, the researcher can determine success. The game features a talk system that players can use to communicate, a text chat window, and avatar features to facilitate communication in the environment. Players who have never played the game before must collaborate with their teammate to navigate, and solve problems together in this environment. The researcher filmed players’ interaction with one another and their gestures and verbal interaction was transcribed and coded. Important verbal and non-verbal cues included gaze at one another and gaze at one another’s computer screen, pointing, and shaking head yes or no based on previous research using the game that determined the types of teamwork MoonWorld players use (Reese, 2012). In this study, Reese videotaped players and transcribed verbal communication, and gestures to determine the best way to collaborate.
  20. 20. COMPUTER-MEDIATED COMMUNICATION AND EDUCATIONAL GAMES 20 By coding the players’ interaction and then determining their success in the game as a team, the researcher made assumptions about the use of CMC versus FtF in a virtual learning environment and distance collaborative work in general. 3.2 Sampling Procedures Participants were recruited based upon computer experience. It was important to recruit players who are comfortable with computers and virtual worlds tom minimize training time and maximize the amount of time teams were in world alone. In addition, all participants had to be novices to MoonWorld so that one player was not more experienced than the other, otherwise collaboration and new concepts learned may not be measurable. 3.3 Research Design The teams collected rock samples at every station and then answered questions about the rock sample and the terrain at the station. The number of tasks completed was important because if the teams did not work together properly using their compass, they would not go to the correct stations, and if they would not go to the stations in the correct order, they would not be able to collect samples and complete questions. Success was defined by the number of tasks completed, and the percentage of questions answered correctly. First participants were guided through and introduced to the game by an educator specifically trained to assist players in MoonWorld. This person called a “mentar”1 in MoonWorld, was in world with the players until the teams felt comfortable enough to be alone. The game is designed so that the first five stations are training stations, and Reese (2012) found 1 Mentar is the name given to the person/avatar who accompanies players in MoonWorld. This person is trained to help players understand the concept and the functions of the game, and guide them through the first five training stations. In the case of youths playing MoonWorld, the mentar accompanies the players through the whole game to ensurethat all players are safe and following the rules. In this study the mentar only remained with participants for the training stations.
  21. 21. COMPUTER-MEDIATED COMMUNICATION AND EDUCATIONAL GAMES 21 that players who are trained navigate through the game, and implement game tools better. Once the players understood the concept of the game the mentar left them on their own, working as a team of two to collect samples and collaborate to answer questions. The collocated players played in a computer lab seated next to one another. A camera filmed their faces from the front, and an additional camera filmed the players from behind, showing their computer screens and hands. The non-collocated players played in separate rooms with a camera on each player. The mentar was in world with each team, but was not in the same room with either team to avoid giving the collocated team an advantage. The researcher was present to ensure that there were no technical problems with the computers, game, or video equipment. Each team had a total of two hours in world, including their time with the mentar. Only time spent in world without the mentar was transcribed and coded. Furthermore, since one team went further than the other, only stations both teams visited were considered for data. The researcher transcribed the part of the video after the mentar leaves the team. All verbal interaction was recorded in a word document, and for the collocated team any gesture was noted with a unique symbol, such as an asterisk, to easily search and count the gestures. After observing the tape, the researcher coded the interactions and counted how many times a non-verbal cue, specifically gestures and gaze, occurred. This was adapted from Reese’s (2012) report, but instead of observing emotional gestures, it observed operational and instructional gestures. The chart below shows the operational/instructional gestures that were coded in this study versus emotional gestures that were previously studied and coded in MoonWorld research:
  22. 22. COMPUTER-MEDIATED COMMUNICATION AND EDUCATIONAL GAMES 22 Operational/Instructional Gestures Emotional Gestures Eye Contact with partner Gesturing with hands to show excitement Shaking head yes or no Covering face with hands Gesturing with Hands Clapping Looking in teammate’s direction Smiling at teammate Pointing at teammate’s computer screen Frowning at teammate Pointing at their own screen During transcription, the length of each interaction was noted. Whenever a player began and ended speaking the time code was recorded. If players spoke at the same time, or over one another they were measured separately. Also, each time the team began to talk about a new topic the researcher numbered the interaction so that when the transcription was finished, each team had a counted number of interactions, and each player’s contribution to the collaboration was measurable in seconds. For the collocated team, researcher noted the gestures and gaze within the transcript as well. Once the video was coded, noting non-verbal cues and verbal interaction, the researcher compared the amount of team interaction with the success of the team. The number of rock samples collected and the number of elevations/distances requested were used to measure the teams’ ability to complete tasks. The number of questions answered correctly or incorrectly measured the success of the teams’ collaboration and ability to work together to learn in the MoonWorld.
  23. 23. COMPUTER-MEDIATED COMMUNICATION AND EDUCATIONAL GAMES 23 3.4 Reliability Each team’s verbal communication was transcribed the same way, and each interaction was numbered the same way in each group. To ensure this, the researcher referred to the team whose interaction was transcribed first. For example, non-collocated (NCL) team was transcribed first and the researcher considered their discussion on the different attributes of the rocks at station six to be separate interaction instead of just one, the same was done when transcribing the collocated (CL) team at station six even though their conversation was different. Both transcriptions were done manually and typed in a word document with times, and non-verbals for the CL team. Once finished, the researcher printed the transcript and watched the video through to guarantee correct transcription and coding. When coding the CL team, the researcher focused only on the non-verbal items listed prior to the study
  24. 24. COMPUTER-MEDIATED COMMUNICATION AND EDUCATIONAL GAMES 24 Chapter 4. THE STUDY 4.1 Introduction The data for this pilot study was obtained from two teams of two who were filmed playing MoonWorld at the Center for Educational Technologies on campus at Wheeling Jesuit University. There are two sets of data: data from the team who played collocated (CL) and data from the team who played non-collocated (NCL). This chapter will explain first how data were collected, reviewed, and coded, then explore the results found, and then finally a discussion on the implications of the results in terms of media richness theory. 4.2 Data Analysis Each team had two hours to play MoonWorld. They were guided through the preparatory stations by the mentar, or an educator trained to train the teams. The mentar showed the teams game features and explained what they need to do at each station. This research focused on the collaboration between just the two players, and not the mentar. The CL team did not have time within their two hours to make it to the end of the game, however the NCL team did. So the data analyzed was based on the stations the CL was able to reach. For the NCL team, videos from each work station were synced and placed side by side. Figure 4.1 shows the NCL video setup. Once synced and clipped to include only stations that the CL team visited, the video was transcribed. The CL team was recorded with a camera filming the players’ screens and hands while another recorded their faces from the front. These videos also had to be synced in order to see actions from each angle simultaneously, and the video was clipped to only include stations the team went to without their mentar. The angles shown in Figure 4.2 show the view during transcription and coding.
  25. 25. COMPUTER-MEDIATED COMMUNICATION AND EDUCATIONAL GAMES 25 Figure 4.1 Figure 4.2 The time each player began to speak and finished speaking was noted during transcription, and each time a new topic was discussed a new number was assigned to that interaction. For example, if a team was discussing the setting in order to answer a question, and then they began discussing what type of rock they picked up, the two topics were considered two separate interactions. For the CL team, specific non-verbal cues were coded including players looking at one another at the same time or one player looking at the other, looking at their
  26. 26. COMPUTER-MEDIATED COMMUNICATION AND EDUCATIONAL GAMES 26 teammate’s computer screen, shaking their head yes or no, and pointing. Verbal interactions were totaled for each team, and each player’s verbal participation was measured in seconds for each interaction. Game data was recorded in MoonWorld and served as a measure for each team’s success. The number of correct and incorrect answers was important because it shows the team’s ability to collaborate and inquire as a team. Number of rock samples collected and number of elevations/distances requested were important because teams were specifically tasked to do this at each station during their instruction. Finally, game data and communication data were compared to determine the difference in success and communication in the team collocated versus the team that was non-collocated. 4.3 Results Each team had strengths and weaknesses in their collaboration. Neither team necessarily did better or worse than the other based on both measurements (tasks completion and questions answered correct or incorrect), but each team excelled in a different measurement. The CL team only made it to station 12 while the NCL team completed all 16 stations and went on to the research facility. This could be because the CL team took longer to make decisions when answering the questions. Figure 4.3 shows the amount of interactions and time of each interaction measured in seconds. The participant’s avatars were named SF1 and SF2 in the NCL team, and V and J in the CL team. Their avatar names were used to identify them in the transcription and coding. The figure shows that the number of interactions were similar as the NCL team totaled 87 and the CL team 84. By looking at the figure it is also visible that the CL team had more lengthy interactions. However, although the CL may have spent more time in
  27. 27. COMPUTER-MEDIATED COMMUNICATION AND EDUCATIONAL GAMES 27 certain interactions, the average interaction between the CL players was 11.50 seconds, similar to the NCL team who averaged 10.84 seconds per interaction. This shows once again that despite their different ways of playing the game both teams had a similar amount of interaction. Figure 4.3
  28. 28. COMPUTER-MEDIATED COMMUNICATION AND EDUCATIONAL GAMES 28 One difference that is very visible when looking at player contribution is t hat the CL team were very much concerned with working together and sharing the burdens, while the NCL team was more leader/follower collaboration, and made decisions quickly when answering questions. Figure 4.4 shows each players contribution to the collaboration. The percentages in figure 4.4 are based on the length (in seconds) of each person’s verbal contribution, while the percentage for non-verbal interactions is based on the number of cues coded for each player. In the NCL team, SF1 took on a leadership role reading and answering questions when SF2 could not find the Q&A box. SF2’s contributions were very valuable including picking up rock samples, making suggestions during Q&A, and helping to navigate. The NCL team worked very well together, but tended to take on a role, instead of splitting each duty equally. In contrast, the NCL team’s verbal and non-verbal interaction was almost equal. Players V and J did the same things (both opened Q&A, picked up rocks, used to compass to get to next station). Figure 4.4
  29. 29. COMPUTER-MEDIATED COMMUNICATION AND EDUCATIONAL GAMES 29 The teams experienced a difference in success as well. The NCL team was immersed in the game and completed more tasks than the CL team. They collected more rock samples (Figure 4.5) and requested more distances and elevations at each station (Figure 4.6). However, the CL team spent more time on the questions, carefully collaborating to choose each answer. They answered more questions correctly than the NCL team, because both players were sharing the work and answering questions (Figure 4.7). Both teams were about equal in incorrect answers, but the CL team seemed more precise, taking more time on each question considering and deducing each possible answer. Figure 4.5 Figure 4.6 Station
  30. 30. COMPUTER-MEDIATED COMMUNICATION AND EDUCATIONAL GAMES 30 Figure 4.7 It took the CL team 32:32 to complete 12 stations. When one of the teammates disagreed, they would look at the other player’s screen. Or when one teammate was hesitant to reply back to a question or comment made by their teammate, they would look at their teammate to confirm if they heard them. Table 4.1 shows an example of the difference in collaboration between the NCL and CL teams at the same station. Both teams answered this question correct, but went about collaboration differently. Table 4.1 NCL Team CL Team 1-(reading) Describe the setting here. 9:53-9:55 V-Have you looked at the Q and A yet? (V looks a J’s screen ) 11:57-11:59 1-Bright ray, crater central mountain, line of craters, basic crater outer wall, crater floor, crater rim, wall, floor, mound, crater terrace, lava flow, lava plain, and volcanic dome. 9:57-10-17 J-I’m looking now 11:59-12:01 2-Does it look like a lava flow? 10:19-10:20 J-I think it looks like one of the lava ones 12:06-12:10 2-Or would you say base of crater? 10:21-10:22 J- Either (J looks at V’s screen) lava flow or lava plain 12:11-12:14
  31. 31. COMPUTER-MEDIATED COMMUNICATION AND EDUCATIONAL GAMES 31 1-Oh! Wait no! Because see look up on the hill. It does look like it comes down. 10:22-10:27 J-Maybe plain because its flat 12:16-12:18 2- Mmm hmm 10:27 V-Umm I think maybe plain 12:17-12:20 1-I think that’s a good idea…to go with 10:28-10:30 J-Oh I was thinking flow because it looks like it’s coming down from the crater 12:20-12:24 1-Lava flow. Because it looks like it’s a stream. 10:31-10:32 V-Oh what angle did you use (V looks at J’s screen) 12:25-12:27 2- Mmm hmm. It looks like uhh… 10:33-10:34 V-Ohhh! I see what you mean 12:28-12:30 1-Are you comfortable with me putting that or? 10:34-10:37 (J looks at V’s screen) 2-Sure 10:37 V-Okay Yeah that’s a good point. It does look like its flowing 12:30-12:34 1-(to self) Let’s see…(reading as she answers question) lava flow… 10:39-10:43 The two main advantages of FtF that the CL team used were looking at their teammate and looking at their teammate’s screen (Figure 4.8). Figure 4.8
  32. 32. COMPUTER-MEDIATED COMMUNICATION AND EDUCATIONAL GAMES 32 The CL team implemented the non-verbal cues 98 times. It is possible that the cues helped them in answering the questions because they could see their teammate’s computer screen. However, it may have been a distraction and not allowed them to become fully immersed in the virtual world, accounting for the NCL team completing more tasks. The CL team often implemented non-verbal cues when they unsure about what they were doing or when they did not know the answer to a question. It seems that the non-verbal cues did not help them, but simply made them feel more comfortable. Figure 4.9 shows the correlation between the use of non-verbal cues and the number of questions correct and incorrect. The CL team used more non-verbal cues, as shown in red, when they answered questions incorrectly. Figure 4.9 4.4 Discussion Keating and Sunakawa (2010) provide insight to the results. The CL team may not have been as immersed in the virtual world because they were participating in two worlds, virtual and real, simultaneously. Keating and Sunakawa studied players who already had experience in the
  33. 33. COMPUTER-MEDIATED COMMUNICATION AND EDUCATIONAL GAMES 33 game they were playing. The players in this study learned a new game, new concepts, and collaborate. It may not have been possible for them to develop and use participation cues as Keating and Sunakawa defined them. This goes back to the idea that selecting the correct medium for collaboration is essential. Research since the development of media richness theory (Daft & Lengel, 1986) has continuously shown that CMC can be very effective in task-related collaboration (Kock, 2005; Daft et al., 1987, Rice & Shook, 1990; Rice, 1993). In the case of educational virtual worlds, it seems that a player more easily immerses themselves in the game if they are not distracted by being collocated with their teammate. The NCL team completed more tasks, and were very task- oriented as predicted by the studies mentioned above. Looking at the results through the lens of media richness theory, the CL team was able to process information more effectively because the opportunity to look at one another, and more importantly one another’s computer screen reduced uncertainty. The findings seem to support Daft and Lengel’s (1986) research that found CMC to be appropriate for task related collaboration. The research presented supports past research. When looking at educational virtual worlds, the players may be collocated or non-collocated depending on the type of collaboration desired. The pilot study indicates if the desire is for careful consideration and collaboration, FtF communication is appropriate. If the collaboration is strictly task-oriented being collocated is not necessary. Therefore, the answer to the first research question asked in this study, “Is FtF the best way for collaboration in an educational game?” is no. The research showed that using FtF communication did not give the CL too much of an advantage over the NCL team. However, it
  34. 34. COMPUTER-MEDIATED COMMUNICATION AND EDUCATIONAL GAMES 34 did change the type of collaboration. The NCL team succeeded in task related collaboration and designated roles for each player, while the CL team carefully answered each question and shared duties equally. The second research question in this study was, “Do learners playing an educational game non-collocated using CMC experience the same success as collocated players with FtF available to them?” This research showed that both team experienced the same amount of success, but not the same success. The NCL team completed more tasks, but the CL worked better together and collaborated more carefully in answering the questions.
  35. 35. COMPUTER-MEDIATED COMMUNICATION AND EDUCATIONAL GAMES 35 Chapter 5. CONCLUSION This research was intended to look at the differences between CMC and FtF communication in collaboration and education, particularly, collaboration in virtual educational games. In MoonWorld, success was seen in both the NCL and CL teams, although their success was different, both teams succeeded in their own way. The data showed that the CL team took advantage of the ability to look at one another and one another’s computer screens. However, there was no evidence to show that the NCL team severely suffered for lack of FtF qualities. 5.1 Limitations of the Study This research was designed to be a pilot study that would open doors for additional communication research in MoonWorld. Since it was a pilot, only one team was assigned to each condition, therefore, it is difficult to make a generalizable conclusion with such little data. Players have different learning styles, personalities, and communication preferences, all of which must be considered when assessing. In addition to the limitations caused by sample size, the game also offers technical limitations. For example, in the CL team it was visible that the graphics on one screen were better than the graphics on the other. If their screens were the same, they may not have looked at one another’s screen as many times. Also, the game is in need of a more robust system, and some of the functions do not work properly every time. For example, player J in the CL team could not get their compass to show up so technical glitches had to be worked out before the team could even begin to play. This could affect how engaged a player becomes in the game. Technical glitches can cause many variables. 5.2 Recommendations for Further Study
  36. 36. COMPUTER-MEDIATED COMMUNICATION AND EDUCATIONAL GAMES 36 In order to collect more conclusive data this study should be repeated with a larger sample. With a larger sample, more conditions can be assigned to each group. For example, do females or males benefit more from FtF communication in collaboration? This study noted that the CL team was made up of two females and the NCL team was one female and one male, would the results have differed if gender had been considered when assigning teams? In addition to gender, a further study could consider the relationship between players who are non-collocated. Does knowing one’s teammate in advance help a team playing non- collocated, and inversely if players do not know who their teammate is will it be more difficult to communicate using CMC? 5.3 Conclusions It seems that being collocated was not an advantage to the CL team in terms of achievement in the game. The feedback emphasized in Schramm’s (1954) model of communication was evident in both teams. All players listened to their teammates and were able to receive and encode information before successfully giving feedback to their teammate. Lack of FtF did not seem to hinder the NCL team’s communication process. Even in the CL team who were able to use FtF, the non-verbal cues did not necessarily help the team achieve more in the game, but it served as reassurance or comfort when they were unsure about themselves. As indicated by previous studies, (Daft et al., 1987; Kock, 2005; Rice & Shook, 1990; Short et. al., 1976) groups using CMC do well if the work is task-orientated. However, using FtF helped foster teamwork in the CL team, while the NCL team was more leader/follower. This is supported by Sproull and Kiesler’s (1987) research that indicated groups using CMC felt less cohesive than groups using FtF.
  37. 37. COMPUTER-MEDIATED COMMUNICATION AND EDUCATIONAL GAMES 37 The media richness theory cites the deficits in CMC. However, the findings from the present study show that the richness of a medium does not matter for teams collaborating to accomplish tasks in a virtual world. Daft and Lengel (1986) based the richness of a medium on the reduction or increase in uncertainty and equivocality. This study showed that FtF, the use of gaze and gestures in particular, did not reduce uncertainty or equivocality. The CL team used non-verbal cues when they felt uncertainty, but the majority of the time it did not assist in answering the question correctly. The media richness theory does not consider is that all communication media are flawed in some way, even FtF. It is in knowing that these flaws exist in CMC and working to compensate for them that groups can successfully communicate and collaborate over distances. Organizations and educators should not fear CMC media for collaboration because the benefits of the tools are often far greater than the deficits.
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  41. 41. COMPUTER-MEDIATED COMMUNICATION AND EDUCATIONAL GAMES 41 APPENDIX A Gonzaga University Institutional Review Board Letter of Approval
  43. 43. COMPUTER-MEDIATED COMMUNICATION AND EDUCATIONAL GAMES 43 APPENDIX B Wheeling Jesuit University Institutional Review Board Letter of Approval
  46. 46. COMPUTER-MEDIATED COMMUNICATION AND EDUCATIONAL GAMES 46 You are invited to voluntarily play MoonWorld and participate in a pilot study I am conducting. Information gathered in this study will be used to meet the requirements of a Masters in Communication and Leadership degree from Gonzaga University. I appreciate your willingness to volunteer. Please carefully review and sign the consent form below. Sincerely, Stacy L. Keller I ________________________ agree to play the game MoonWorld understanding that I am being videotaped and my actions in the game are being recorded. I give permission to Stacy Keller and MoonWorld researchers to use information and images gathered for their research. By signing below I am indicating that:  I am 18 years of age or older  I will participate in the research project by playing MoonWorld for a maximum of two hours  I consent to being videotaped while playing MoonWorld  I consent to having my actions in the game recorded  I have completed all necessary MoonWorld consent forms in addition to this form _______________________________________________ ______________________ Signature Date