Differential Participation of Males and Females in a Computer-Mediated Communication Course

  • John A. Ross University of Toronto


The narrow bandwidth of computer-mediated communication (CMC) courses reduces status differences, suggesting that men and women will participate equally in course activities. In contrast, gender differences in computing skill, attitude, experience, and family support for students' CMC activities suggest that females will have lower levels of participation. A study of interactions among 15 students enrolled in a graduate course in education found no instances of sexist language or overt exclusionary behaviour. However, women exercised less procedural leadership, had reduced influence on group products, contributed less to the advancement of their group's argument, and overall had fewer productive contributions.