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Chapter 5. Collaborative Writing and the... > General Guidelines for Use of Techno...

General Guidelines for Use of Technology

There are obviously many choices when deciding how to communicate among a group of collaborative writers. The proper mix of synchronous and asynchronous communication, along with the technologies to support that communication, can greatly increase the effectiveness of a collaborative effort. To help you in that decision process, this section describes some of the differences between synchronous and asynchronous communication and gives some guidance about when each should be used.

Different forms of communication vary in the amount of information that can be delivered within a certain amount of time. Communication forms with more capacity for carrying information are considered rich (e.g., face-to-face interaction), whereas more restrictive forms of communication are considered lean (e.g., written letters). Generally, synchronous forms of communication (e.g., face-to-face, telephone, video conferencing) are considered richer than asynchronous forms (e.g., e-mail, written letters); and forms that include visual cues (e.g., face-to-face, video conferencing) are considered richer than those that don't include visual cues (e.g., telephone).


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