Date of Award

Spring 2002

Document Type

Legacy Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Science (BS)


Computing Sciences


College of Science

First Advisor

Virginia B. Levsen


Like most educational institutions, Coastal Carolina University's computing environment is changing rapidly. Each year the number and complexity of computers and their applications used on campus increases. New technologies allow us to communicate faster, more efficiently, and more professionally. Generally, every new technology is a step forward for speed and productivity. Thus, the success of Coastal Carolina University's online educational effort is directly tied to its ability to effectively use these new technologies, in order to improve communication among students, faculty, and staff both in real and asynchronous time. Chat rooms, a relatively new technology, serve as more then just a place where people exchange ideas, offer support, hang out, attend special events, or conduct business. Today they also enhance the overall online educational experience. The goal of this thesis is to advance the communication among students, faculty and staff here at Coastal. In pursuit of that goal, a chat room was set up for participants to join on a certain date and discuss a specific topic. Appointments were arranged with guests and chat sessions were advertised ahead of time. Coastal Virtual Discussion became the name of this Project. In this thesis, first an overview focusing on the project's main goal was given. Next, the role of technology in today's education, different technological facilities used on Coastal's campus, and the idea of virtual discussions, were examined. Following a psychological approach to the implementation of virtual communities was provided. An analysis of the data collected and the impact of virtual discussion on Coastal's community led to the concluding remarks.