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Course Announcement

From: Gerry Stahl <>
Date: 03/29/2007 06:48PM
Subject: INFO 608 Announcement

Welcome to INFO 608, Human-Computer Interaction, for Spring 2007!

I have attached a detailed course description. Please read it carefully now. It should give you an idea of what this course will be like and you can decide if that is really what you want. I hope you will be excited about the plan, but I understand that it may not fit everyone’s circumstances or interests.

Please email me by Saturday night a brief email with your name, preferred email address and preference for online meeting times (fill in below). Assume that you will check in online almost every day and will meet online for about an hour three times a week. This may sound like a lot of time, but you can get most of the course work done (except for the reading) during this time if you work well in your groups. On the weeks when papers are due you will not have to meet much online. This is the equivalent of three hours a week in a classroom, without the commuting time.

I will email you instructions for starting the course by midnight of Monday, April 2.

Feel free to email me if you have any questions,

Gerry Stahl
Associate Professor at Drexel’s I-School

Yes, I plan to take this section of INFO 608.
Name: ____________________
Email: ____________________
Preferred availability for online group meetings (all times local Philadelphia time):
_____ (a) 10:00-11:00 am, (b) Noon-1:00, (c) 2:00-3:00, (d) 6:00-7:00, (e) 9:00-10:00 pm
_____ I would like to meet on weekends as often as possible
_____ I would like to meet on weekends as little as possible
Other considerations or comments: ____________________
(See attached file: 608 overview.doc)

Course Start-up

From: Gerry Stahl <>
Date: 04/02/2007 05:39PM
Subject: [INFO 608] Online course start up

(Please excuse duplicate messages or messages to those who are not registered for INFO 608. I wanted to make sure everyone got this notice who is taking the course, dispite registration changes.)

It is time to start our interaction design experience!

We will be designing and interacting in an online environment incorporating an asynchronous wiki and the synchronous VMT Chat system. It is time to get registered for these, to read (or reread) the course overview, and to sign up for your first group meeting.

To get started,

  • go to the course wiki at:
  • click on the link under INFO 608 for "Designing Social Interaction Software". This will be the main page for this course. Bookmark it and the chat room Lobby.
  • Click on the link for the "INFO 608 Welcome Page".
  • Follow the directions there for "Week Zero start up". This will get you registered for the wiki and chat, as well as for your project group.
  • Read the directions for "Week One". This will orient you to your work for the first week.

At the time you signed up for, log into the VMT Lobby and then open the room for your group. Work with your group on the Week One projects.

Our technical environment is "under construction". It is intended to serve our needs while exploring its capabilities and designing extensions to it. Please be patient if it misbehaves or frustrates.

Problems or questions? Email me at

Enjoy the course,


Groups Forming

From: Gerry Stahl <>
Date: 04/05/2007 03:21PM
Subject: [INFO 608] Groups forming

Most of you have begun your team work for Week One of INFO 608. I have met many of you briefly in your team chat rooms.

Several people have not yet met in a team, and I am writing mainly to help you settle into a team. That includes FloydC, 4my2boyz, joepro and Lori. You should join a team in a way that will leave each team with 3 to 5 members.

Almost all of you work during the day. There is just one team that meets during the daytime: Team 1, which meets at 2:00 (Phila time). Seth_E and Elizabeth have already met twice in this team. I think that FloydC and anyone else who wants to meet in the day should join this team. You can go into the Team 1 room and leave a message in the chat or whiteboard. You can also "Send a Message" from the Lobby navigation bar on the left to Seth_E and Elizabeth to find out when they will meet again.

Team 3 meets quite late by Phila standards, with people out West -- as far away as the Koi Resort. This team includes Dave, Fernando and Tameca. They will meet again tonight at 10 pm, Drexel time.

Teams 4 and 5 both meet at 9 pm. Team 4 includes Jeeves and Helen. They need at least one more member or else they will have to join another team.

Team 5 is full, with Kevin, LisaG, Olivia, Ben and k8.

Team 6 meets a little earlier, at 8 pm. It includes Eric, Bertha and bku22.

Please let me know if I have gotten any of this wrong. It is hard to keep track of the team choices as people keep dropping and adding the course, and will continue to do so for two weeks more. The most important thing is to make sure that you are included in a team with 3-5 members (including you).

Please let me know if you are having any problems. There were problems with the bookstore getting the new version of the textbook, and many students turned to Amazon or Barnes & Noble. Others have had Java problems (very slow loading and crashes) -- we will be moving to a much faster server in a couple of weeks, which may help. But generally everyone seems to be finding their way around this complicated environment and figuring out the assignments by discussing them with their teammates. So it looks to me like things are off to a great start.


New Groups

From: Gerry Stahl <>
Date: 04/15/2007 09:34PM
Subject: [INFO 608] New groups for Weeks 3 to 5

As you finish up the WEEK TWO assignments, you should start working on forming new groups for WEEK THREE. They do not have to be totally new, but lets see if we can get four groups that each have 3 or 4 members. Also, let's try to work with some new people and to balance skills and perspectives well. There are some suggestions in the INFO 608 WELCOME PAGE under WEEK THREE and there is a space to post the new groups (A, B, C, D) in the LOUNGE. This should be a social networking experience, so try to experiment with different techniques for contacting each other through the online environment.

In comments on your WEEK ONE statements, I encouraged you to come back to these statements during the term and revise them as you develop new knowledge.

As always, feel free to contact me through any of the available media.


New System

From: Gerry Stahl/Drexel_IST
Date: 04/30/2007 05:43PM
Subject: [INFO 608] New version of VMT system

We have released a new version of the VMT software today. I apologize for having to take the server down during the afternoon. I hope that no group was inconvenienced too much. We actually upgraded to a much more powerful server.

Please go to --> to enter the system from now on. Login with your same username. Then you can either enter a chat room or go to the wiki from the link to the "VMT wiki" in the left-hand frame. (The link will put you in a page for our VMT event coming up next week; click on "Wiki Main Page" to go to "Designing Social Interaction Software").

You can enter the new Sandbox under the Orientation subject heading to try out the new tabbed interface, that includes a working whiteboard as well as a summary one and several browsing tabs. Your chat rooms for Week 5 will have this new tabbed interface.

Please let me know if you encounter any bugs or performance problems.



Final Dates

From: Gerry Stahl/Drexel_IST
Date: 05/29/2007 08:19PM
Subject: Re: INFO 608 Reflection Paper & Textbook Journal DUE DATES

According to the course overview, the final papers are due by midnight, Tuesday, June 12. This is the final deadline for all work associated with INFO 608.

If you are graduating this quarter, your work will have to be in one week earlier (June 5) in order for me to submit your grades on time. My understanding is that this only affects Ben and Seth.

I am looking forward to reading your papers, as well as seeing your final designs and reviews. I hope that these help you (individually and in groups) to consolidate your experience in this course.


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