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Mark Pearl


Aims if this chapter

  • Explain what is meant by communication and collaboration
  • Describe the social mechanisms that are used by people to communicate and collaborate
  • Outline the range of collaborative systems that have been developed to support this kind of social behaviour
  • Describe some of the new forms of social behaviour that have emerged as a result of the proliferation of mobile devices, web-based services, and applications


Social mechanisms in communication and collaboration

Underlying the various forms of communication are mechanisms and practices that have evolved to enable us to maintain social order. Three core forms of social mechanisms that are used…

  1. The use of conversational mechanisms to facilitate the flow of talk and help overcome conversational breakdowns
  2. The use of coordination mechanisms to allow people to work and interact together
  3. The use of awareness mechanisms to find out what is happening, what others are doing, and conversely to let others know what is happening

Three basic rules for conversational analysis…

  1. The current speaker chooses the next speaker by asking an opinion, question, or request
  2. Another person decides to start speaking
  3. The current speaker continues talking

Kinds of Conversations

  • Informal
  • Formal

Designing collaborative technologies to support conversation

A central concern is to allow people to communicate collaboratively when they are not physically co-located.

Communicating in physically different locations can be achieved with a variety of communication medium including...

  • Email
  • Videoconferencing
  • Videophones
  • Chat rooms
  • Online MUDS (multi user role playing environments)
  • MOOS (text based environments that grew out of MUDS)

Communicating in co-located settings with a  number of shareable interfaces including…

  • Smart boards
  • Digital Table tops

Coordination Mechanisms

To help us we use a number of coordinating mechanism including…

  • verbal and non-verbal communication
  • schedules, rules, and conventions
  • shared external representations

People adapt the social protocols used in face-to-face collaboration when using collaborative technologies

Cell phones, web based social and community services have brought about significant changes in the way people keep in touch

Posted on Thursday, November 3, 2011 8:34 PM UNISA INF 3720 | Back to top

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