September 1996

Root Page of Article: Barriers to Getting Educators Online, by Denise Ethier and Jennifer Gold

Barriers to Building Community: Recruiting the "Right" People

Part of recruiting the "right" people--those who have the most potential to contribute and benefit from CMC--is partly based on chance. Although NCIP has strategies for reaching the right audience, we are often befuddled when it comes to explaining why a potentially "perfect" person does not log on. In some cases, people may go so far as to inform others about NCIPnet, but never follow through themselves. Others, who may not have appeared right to us (due to either role or position) surprise us by being the most active participants. Therefore, in addition to the more concrete barriers of access, time, or inadequate training, an individual's lack of enthusiasm or other attitudes toward the medium may be a barrier to making use of CMC.

Recruitment is further complicated by trying to correctly determine what people want. Although we often believe that we understand the kinds of resources and conversations people are interested in most, we are sometimes surprised when people's choices are different than our own. A topic we might have felt was going nowhere could all of a sudden be the hot topic of the week! Indeed, Nancy Baym agrees in her article entitled, "The Emergence of Computer-Mediated Communication" when she writes, "Rather than seeing participants in CMC as operating in ways dictated by the available resources of rules, appropriation implies that participants pick and choose from what is available, at times using things in unexpected ways, at times not using some of the possibilities" (Baym, 1995). --

Contents Archive Sponsors Studies Contact