As I’m trying to do this blogging assignment, I am also trying to get in touch with a friend to go over our econ problem set. One of us is having terrible reception right now, and we have called each other 8 times back and forth. I can’t hear anything that he is saying, just static. I am willing to show the class my cell phone call log to prove that literally we called each other 8 times. How did people do homework 15 year ago?!? I think I’m going to write him an email, you know, the content is going to be the same, I’m just changing the medium. Or maybe I’ll IM him.

What is the difference between checking a problem set in different mediums? I’ll pick the four I would most likely deal with: 1) face to face talking; 2) cell phone; 3) IMing; 4) email.

1) When you face to face, this is classic interaction and it seems pretty straight forward. When I’m checking answers or working in a group, my main concern is to be clear and understood. In person it is very easy because we can show people how to do something if they can’t do it, and we can talk to each other, which allows us to articulate our ideas about as fast as we think them up.
2) Cell phone. Update, I just finished checking the problem set over a cell phone (his reception cleared up). While it is nice to have the instantaneous responses of conversation, I found it very laborious to try to explain a math question. I could tell my partner was also a little annoyed when I told him how to physically write out the equation (my tone suggested he did not understand simple division). If we were face to face, I would have just shown him what I wrote while I explained it to him
3) If I IM someone about homework, I hate the lag time between question and response. I’m sure we’ve all had the conversations when you are answering a question, but they type another question before you finish. There is an interrupted flow of dialogue because typing takes that much longer than saying. And if you don’t believe me, try to type an equation in AIM at the same speed you could just tell someone. I think talking is much faster.
4) Email was going to be my last resort if the cell phone reception problem didn’t resolve itself. Email is like trading monologues–it is great if you are trying to catch your parents up on a week of college and don’t feel like talking to them, but it is terrible for explaining complete homework because there are no fluid responses. While you can reply to emails, it is not the same as having a conversation or even IM conversations.
So in conclusion, if you’re going to do homework with me, let’s meet in person. Feel free to comment.