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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.


Directed reading




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