Computer Mediated Communication Course Description

Computer Mediated Communication
Course Segment, 3p, Description

Last update: 14 May, 2004 by Jacob Palme E-mail:

Course codes: SU: INT2, *:48.

An abbreviated course segment description is also available in Swedish.

Schema in the spring of 2004.

Changes Compared to Previous Year

In 2001, this course segment was changed as follows: The technical information about Electronic Mail was moved to the course segment *:96 INTPROT. The whole book Electronic Mail is no longer course reading. Instead, the book Computer-Mediated Communication, Linguistic, Social and Cross-Cultural Perspectives, edited by Susan Herring, is used as course reading, together with some compendiums with collected papers.


Professor Jacob Palme, phone +46-8-16 16 67, e-mail:


The objectives of this course segment are to give an understanding of software for Computer Mediated Communication between humans (CMC).


Participants should have previous experience with the usage of electronic mail and have a basic understanding of computers and how they work and are used.


  • Overview of CMC applications
  • Social aspects of E-mail and CMC
  • Research on CMC
  • Ethical and legal aspects
  • Theories, values and attitudes
  • Cost/benefit aspects and CMC
  • Choices in designing CMC systems


The lectures will be in Swedish, but the exam and group task can be done in English and the main textbook will be in English. It is possible to take this course segment without knowledge of Swedish, since most of the course segment material is in English and since if you do not go to the lectures, you can read the book and written material instead. If you want the exam in English, you should notify Jacob Palme well in advance of the date of the exam.

Approximate Lecture Schedule

See the schema for a particular term for more exact information about what will be said when. Topic information may not exactly follow the schema.

Application overview
Research on CMC
Effects, cost-benefit
Values and ideologies
Speech act theory and software based on speech act theory
Law and ethics
A personal history of CMC
Spare time
Chats, muds and moos

Course segment reading

Main course book:

Herring, Susan C. (ed): Computer-Mediated Communication Linguistic, Social and Cross-Cultural Perspectives, John Benjamins Publishing, 1996.

Papers copied to course segment participants:

These papers will be sold by Studerandeexpeditionen at DSV.

Computer Mediated Communication Course Segment, 3p, Segment Description (=the document you are reading now).

Work task specification.

Copies of some chapters from Jacob Palme: Electronic Mail. Artech Books 1995.

Palme, Jacob: Copies of overhead pictures about Computer-Supported Cooperative Work (partly in Swedish).

Alan Dix et al: Groupware: In Human-Computer Interaction Prentice Hall, 1993, ISBN 0-13-437-211-5, pp 423-468.

Alan Dix et al: CSCW Issues and Theory: In Human-Computer Interaction Prentice Hall, 1993, ISBN 0-13-437-211-5, pp. 469-514.

Sara Kiesler et al: Social Psychological Aspects of Computer-Mediated Communication, in American Psychologist (1984) 39 (10) pp. 1123-1134.

Wanda J. Orlikowski: Evolving with Notes: Organizational Change around Groupware Technology, Internet.

Charles Dunlop and Rob Kling: Social Relationships in Electronic Communities, from Computerization and Controversy: Value Conflicts and Social Choices, Academic Press 1991, ISBN 0-12-224356-0.

Donald Broady: Kulturens fält: Om Pierre Bourdieus sociologi, 1998.

Jacob Palme: Some chapters from the book "Electronic Mail".

Jacob Palme: Can computer decide what is right and wrong?

Jacob Palme: A personal history of CMC.




Work task

Work task specification for this course segment is available in English or Swedish. The work task should be done in groups of 2-3 students, but students with special reasons (such as work) may supply the work task individually. Preface form to be used when submitting the task is available in HTML and RTF format.

There will be no teacher supervision during the times reserved in the terminal room during the course. These times are only meant for writing the report from the work task.

Sample exams with solutions

Warning: The course content has changed in 1997 and again in 2001. In 1997, more technical material was added, and the length of the course was extended from 3 to 4 weeks. In 2001, the technical material added in 1997 was removed, the extent was again reduced to 3 weeks, and the course book was changed. This means that old exams may contain questions on issues not included in the course. In particular, the last two exam questions in 1997-2000 covered technical issues not included in the course any longer in 2001.


All students must register in advance for the exam.

  • One written examination (3,5 points in 1997) plus
  • One written task (0,5 points).

No documents except ordinary language dictonaries can be brought to the exam.

What is important for the exam

There can be questions on the exam on anything in the course material. Do not forget the additional papers, there are often questions on them in the exam, questions which are not covered only by the book.

I try to make questions on important principles, not on detailed issues or names. However, I may regard things as important, which you might regard as a detail.

The detailed technical questions in exams before 2001 will not occur in 2001, since the course content has been changed so that this is not any more included in the course.

If you do not go to the lectures: Read carefully the copies of overhead slides provided for some of the lectures. They contain information which may not be anywhere else in the documentation.

Mailing List or First Class Conference

Important information about this segment will be distributed through an e-mail mailing list and a First Class conference. The same information will be sent to both the mailing list and the First Class conference, so students can choose to subscribe to either.

All course participants should either register for this list or regularly access the First Class conference.

To register for the mailing list, send a message to: which contains the text:

SUB EPOST Nils Nilsson

where "Nils Nilsson" is replaced by your name (not your e-mail address).

Important: This text should be in the text of the message, not in the Subject!

You should get a confirmation message from LISTSERV saying that you have been added to the list.

After doing this, you can send questions about the course by e-mail to The question and my answer will be published both through the mailing list and in First Class, even if you send the question only to the mailing list.

If you prefer to get the information through First Class, get an account at the DSV First Class server, and move the INTPRO meeting, and its submeetings (INTPRO Dokumentation, INTPRO Handledning and INTPRO Fritt forum), to your First Class desktop. However, if you prefer to use First Class, you should still send your questions to the teacher by e-mail to and not write them in the first class conference. Your questions, and the teachers's answers, will still appear in the First Class conference.

At the end of the course, you can unsubscribe from the mailing list, by sending a message to which contains the text:


Get a working e-mail address

In order to take part in this course, you have to have a working e-mail address, where you read your mail regularly. Note that DSV can give you an e-mail address on our computers, if you do not have any. You can also get free e-mail accounts with a number of Internet providers.

If you have an e-mail account outside from DSV, but also have a Unix account at DSV (such an account automatically includes an e-mail account), and if you read your e-mail more regularly on the account outside of DSV, then you should arrange for forwarding of e-mail from the DSV account to the external mail account. There is a simple description on how to do this.

E-mail at DSV

Students at DSV can get their own e-mail accounts. Here is more information about the e-mail services provided by DSV (in Swedish).

URL of this web page: