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Social media and the Internet are transforming society, providing new benefits but also new hazards. Some have suggested that online communication and collaboration may lead to decreased civility, mutual understanding, and communicative clarity, as compared with face-to-face methods. Such negative trends can occur, but are they inevitable? We have been investigating whether online communication tools can actually support more skillful communication and deeper mutual understanding, especially in situations involving conflict, controversial topics, or differences in goals and perspectives.
Leah Wing serves on the faculty at the University of Massachusetts/Amherst. She has been a mediator and trainer for educational institutions, government agencies, and non-profits since 1985. She is the founding director of the Social Justice Mediation Institute. Leah, co-director of the National Center for Technology and Dispute Resolution, heads it's Art of Conflict Transformation program.
Tom Murray is a Senior Research Fellow at UMass with degrees in Computer Science, Educational Technology, and Physics. He has been PI for several federally funded research grants. He has an interdisciplinary orientation and has published in the areas of deliberative dialogue, cognitive tools, inquiry learning environments, adaptive hypermedia, online collaboration, ethics education, applied philosophy, and knowledge engineering over 25 years.
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