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Socialization in the "Virtual Hallway": Instant Messaging in the Asynchronous Web-based Distance Education ClassroomThis research reports the findings from a survey that examined the differences in communication between students who used Instant Messenger (IM) services and those who did not in the same asynchronous distance education Web-based course. It was found that students who used IM services found it easier to communicate, felt a stronger sense of community, and had more venues for informal and social communication about not only class material, but also information about the school and their common degree program. In traditional classroom buildings, the common spaces such as hallways provide the venue for this informal communication; IM services can enhance the distance education environment by providing the â virtual hallwaysâ for students and instructors to meet.