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Groupware, CMC and CSCW:
Technologies to support Distributed Collaborative Work?
This, the final section of the course, will examine some of the technologies that might be used to support Distributed Collaborative Work. It will begin by looking at groupware as a technology to support Collaborative Work before considering some of the issues that are raised when that work becomes distributed. The concept of Computer Supported Co-operative Work is examined and two themes are discussed in relation to Distributed Collaborative Work.
The first theme is the need for an awareness of others when undertaking cold or loosely coupled Distributed Collaborative Work. Technologies to support this form of work will tend to focus on the provision of asynchronous static social clues about the sender or content. The second theme is the need for a consideration of the social dimension to work when undertaking hot or on-line Distributed Collaborative Work. Here the need is for technologies that provide a more dynamic environment where interaction can be more open and spontaneous.
Further material about the notion of 'co-operative work', and the distinction between HCI and CSCW, can be found in Perspectives on HCI and CSCW, a web page from a previous version of the this course.
You may also find Current Issues in Web Usability (by Jakob Nielsen) and Usability First (which contains sections on groupware and associated design and usability issues) of use for this and the next strand of the course.
- Eight challenges for groupware developers. (.pdf)
Computer support has focused on organizations and individuals. Groups are different. Repeated, expensive groupware failures result from not meeting the challenges in design and evaluation that arise from these differences. This article briefly outlines the origins of groupware, describes eight specific problem areas, and finally examines groupware successes in search of better approaches to supporting work in group settings.
- Ehrlich, K., Designing Groupware Applications: A Work-Centered Design Approach, in Beaudouin-Lafon (Ed.), Computer Supported Cooperative Work, Wiley and Sons Ltd, pp. 3-27, 1999.
- Bowker G.C.. Star S.L.. Turner W. and Gasser L. Social Science Technical Systems and Cooperative Work: Beyond the Great Divide NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, 1997
- Khoshafian, S. and Buckiewicz, M. Introduction to Groupware, Workflow, and Workgroup Computing, John Wiley and Sons, Inc. 1995
- Coleman, D and Raman K, eds. Groupware: Technologies and Applications. Prentice Hall, 1995.
- West M. A., Garrod S. and Carletta J. (1997). Group Decision-Making and Effectiveness: Unexplored Boundaries. In Cooper C.L. and Jackson S.E. Tomorrow's Organizations Wiley pp. 293-317
- Edelson D C, Pea R D, Gomez L M (1996), The Collaboratory Notebook, Communications of the ACM, April, 39(4)
- Grudin, J. (1993) 'Groupware and Cooperative Work: Problems and Prospects', in Baecker, R. M., Readings in Groupware and Computer-Supported Cooperative Work, Morgan Kaufman Publishers, pp. 97-105.
- Johnson-Lenz, P. and Johnson-Lenz, T. (1982). 'Groupware: the process and impacts of design choices', in Kerr and Hiltz (eds.), Computer-Mediated Communication Systems, Academic Press.
- Design Principles for Online Communities
The key challenges the Internet community will face in the future are not simply technological, but also sociological: the challenges of social interaction and social organization. This is not to diminish the difficulties of creating new technologies, but rather to emphasize that even these tasks will pale besides the problems of facilitating and encouraging successful online interaction and online communities. The focus of this paper is on graphical virtual worlds that have added a 2-D or 3-D visual representation of a space to supplement the more traditional text communication that occurs systems such as MUDs or IRC.
- What Should a Collaborative Technology Be? A Perspective From Dewey and Situated Learning
Computer and communications technology are slowly becoming one and the same. Simultaneously, policy makers both in the workplace and in education are placing an increased emphasis on collaboration. Despite the technology push and the policy pull, there is little by way of a clear vision for the nature and purpose of collaborative technology . In order to develop such a vision, this paper offers a distinction between a technological situation for collaboration and a collaborative technology. It builds this distinction on the results of research on situated learning and the educational philosophy of John Dewey.
- Workspace Awareness for Groupware
A short paper that introduces the concept of workspace awareness as a key for groupware systems to support the fluid interaction present in face-to-face collaboration. It discusses why workspace awareness is difficult to support in groupware systems, and presents a conceptual framework that groupware designers could use as a starting point for thinking about and supporting awareness.
- Timewarp: Techniques for Autonomous Collaboration
This paper presents a set of techniques for supporting autonomous collaboration - collaboration where participants work independently for periods, and then join together to integrate their efforts. This paper argues that autonomous collaboration can be well-supported by systems in which the notion of time is made both explicit and editable, so that the parallel but divergent states of a shared artifact are exposed in the interface.
- Workspace-Based Intuitive Collaboration in Virtual Enterprises
This paper presents the architecture and user interface of a generic framework for supporting collaboration in virtual enterprises. It aims to provide users with an intuitive interface which is independent from the underlying components like application sharing, audio/video and file transfer. The user interface relies on a room metaphor with simple drag and drop or clicking actions for carrying out functions like conference initiation, invitation, file transfer or application sharing.
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