Thursday, February 21, 2008

Communicating with Students via Yahoo Instant Messenger

Communicating with Millennial Students by Using the Yahoo Instant Messenger Program:
A Forthcoming Study

In the fall, I started using Yahoo Instant Messenger to communicate with my students during office hours. My office hours are in the morning and afternoon. I try to make office hours convenient for both me and my students, but sometimes both cannot be accomplished for all parties involved.

Therefore, I incorporated the use of Yahoo Instant Messenger to communicate with my students. Most of my students are millennials and they are excited about an additional way to communicate with me during office hours and outside of the workday. However, I use the "invisible" feature very frequently to avoid the "24 hour professor" syndrome.

The Future Study
I am writing a paper about my experiences, but I wanted to share then with the blog readers. Last fall, only five students from my 100+ students joined my instant messaging program. In addition, most of the students communicated with me through This spring, over 20 students have joined my instant messaging program and midterms have not occurred yet. Who knows what the number will be by the end of the semester.

Implications for Further Research
After the semester ends, the students do not delete my name from their Yahoo Instant Messenger list and I am able to maintain communication with them. This may serve as a longitudinal qualitative assessment mechanism for my virtual communication research.

My Instant Messaging Background
I have used instant messaging programs since 1998 when I was still in high school. Back then we had ICQ and I thought that program was the best thing since sliced bread. During college I made the switch to AOL instant messenger to keep in contact with my sorority sisters. In graduate school, I started using Yahoo IM,, and recently

1 comment:

  1. Hey MP!
    Just curious--Why did you opt for Yahoo instead of using Blackboard's chat feature?

    I am looking forward to learning more about your results. I've been encouraging profs to use the chat feature on Blackboard since it started including the feature and want to be sure that I'm not leading them astray! :)

    PS: I had to chuckle at your comment that ICQ was the greatest thing since slice bread. I remember when I actually had to TELL my undergrads about it!


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