You are here:

Use Patterns of Visual Cues in Computer-Mediated Communication

Quarterly Review of Distance Education Volume 10, Number 2, ISSN 1528-3518


Communication in the virtual environment can be challenging for participants because it lacks physical presence and nonverbal elements. Participants may have difficulties expressing their intentions and emotions in a primarily text-based course. Therefore, the use of visual communication elements such as pictographic and typographic marks can be important in the communication of intent and meaning. Quantitative measures were used to analyze the use of several images and characters in computer-mediated communication in 1 graduate-level course delivered completely online in fall 2004 and 2005. Results show course participants used a number of different visual cues in order to express themselves. A strong relationship between the number of elements and categories used by participants in the threaded discussion posts and chat sessions existed. However, there was a very weak relationship between the use of visual cues between the instructor and learners. In addition, content analysis was used to qualitatively analyze discourse in the threaded discussion fora. The investigation revealed several use patterns in asynchronous and synchronous communication. (Contains 2 tables and 4 figures.)


Bolliger, D.U. (2009). Use Patterns of Visual Cues in Computer-Mediated Communication. Quarterly Review of Distance Education, 10(2), 95-108. Retrieved March 8, 2021 from .

This record was imported from ERIC on April 19, 2013. [Original Record]

ERIC is sponsored by the Institute of Education Sciences (IES) of the U.S. Department of Education.

Copyright for this record is held by the content creator. For more details see ERIC's copyright policy.