HCI-CSCL: Midterm Conceptual Design Paper

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Submit a paper of about 5 single-spaced pages containing your conceptual design for supporting the CSCL research community. Use the definition of conceptual design from Chapter 11 of the INFO 608 textbook. Do not provide a prototype of a physical design.

Discuss why you think this is a good conceptual design.

Take advantage of all that you have learned in the course.

Try to be creative and to really push a vision of collaboration support that goes beyond what is currently available. Do not simply design minor functionality that is temporarily missing from current software, but think about how researchers around the world could be brought together to explore ideas and digital resources collaboratively.

You may certainly discuss your ideas with other people in the class (or elsewhere), but you must submit your own individual paper, giving credit to others where appropriate.

Place a title, your name and the date at the top of your paper. Number the pages. Save your paper with a file name of your last name and "_design" (e.g., stahl_design.doc). Submit your Word document as an attachment to an email to: Gerry.Stahl@drexel.edu.

Email your paper by midnight of the due date. Grades will be substantially reduced for late papers.

Ranking by Instructor

My top choice to help the CSCL research community is the Summary Maker, presented by Zdravko Tyankov and Constantine Lazarakis. I would like to see this integrated into a collaborative process in which the user groups can modify the automatically generated summaries as well as define their parameters and use the summaries for their collaborative literature searches.

My second choice is the way that the following people thought about using current technologies within systems to support CSCL researchers: Joe Detri (social networking), Cristina Trebour (collaboration issues), Sarah Westley (professional networks), Justin Patterson (hypertext).

Gerry 22:47, 7 May 2008 (EDT)

Group B

Wing Lung Suen
CSCL Toolbar
The toolbar provides a convenient interface to coordinate many features that could be useful for CSCL researchers. The functions should be based on analysis of human needs and ways of working. The toolbar can provide a simple, easy-to-use interface for coordinating many functions for communication and sharing of information. The paper itself wanders a bit and is not clearly focused. It does not describe how the toolbar is able to coordinate shared work.
Zdravko Tyankov
The Social Summary Maker
Excellent. Summaries are an important service for CSCL researchers doing literature searches. The use case description would make a good basis for designing a prototype interface. The Web 2.0 extensions are great for making the application part of a social interactive process among researchers. Very clear, well structured presentation. Nice bibliography showing research on Web 2.0.
Dorian Bowen
The Global Film Archive
This well-thought-through conceptual design for a film archive sounds like the work of an impassioned researcher of film. Similar issues exist for CSCL researchers. Especially until recently, conference proceedings were not centrally published, archived or even indexed. Other documents, including videos from the conferences, have not been collected. Journal articles were scattered in journals of many different fields. Dissertations were not collected together. There is no funding to create an archive of CSCL materials. How can researchers work together to make these documents more accessible? How can the community index, catalog, archive, analyze, annotate and inter-link these documents as they are used, through collaborative procedures and mechanisms? How does the global film archive relate to a Web 2.0 system like YouTube?
Constantine Lazarakis
Automatic Summarization Interface Extension for the support of the CSCL Community
This is an excellent conceptual design of a function that could truly help the CSCL research community. Automated summary of papers retrieved in literature searches would be very useful. This analysis goes into some of the relevant issues and techniques of summarization. It begins to look at how the technology might be adapted to the specifics of the field of CSCL. It shows evidence of some good research on this topic, carefully considered.
Jolene Noyes
Textual dictionary consisting of computer lingo
This brief essay proposes a function to inform the user about abbreviations and other slang that is typically used in chats and other online communication. Some of it comes from SMS. The field of CSCL has some special slang of its own, like “CSCL” and “F2F”. While smiley faces are fairly universal, some “emot-icons” are specific to certain countries. CSCL literature merges terminology from several academic fields, and so it might also be useful to include definitions of some of this professional jargon. Because language changes so fast, it might be necessary to allow users to add new terms and definitions as they come up.

Group C

Joe Detri
CSCL Extended to Support Social Networking
The use of User Profiles (like in Facebook), Groups, Blogs, and Search are explained and multiple scenarios illustrate how they could be used by newcomers to the CSCL community. Clear and well described functions.
Greg Felber
CSCL in Education
This is a thoughtful paper on designing CSCL software and using it. It is largely based on early readings in the course. However, it does not address the task of supporting CSCL researchers themselves as a community.
Robert Krause
Closed Captioned Video
While others complain that CSCL is too text-oriented and propose text-to-speech and VOIP extensions, this paper wants to convert video sound into closed captioned text. Although there may be a few videos with significant content for the field of CSCL, there is so much more written in books, papers and textual web pages that this seems like a relatively low priority.
Jason Lee
Semantic Knowledge Tags, Tabs, and Lenses
This paper introduces three conceptual metaphors: tags, tabs and lenses. Tags are used to associate a keyword to some text. A given text can be tagged with several keywords and tags can be linked together in hierarchies or ontologies. It is unclear if these tags apply to whole web pages or to specific sections of a web page. The Semantic Web is usually conceived of as XML mark-up of web text, which is quite different from delicious-type tags of pages. Tabs are based on the metaphor of tabs on file folders that contain multiple documents. The relation of tags to tabs is unclear. Lenses has to do with translation between different languages, and thus seems unrelated to the semantic web and categorization. While individuals can build useful systems of tags, it is unclear how communities will develop, refine, negotiate and understand shared hierarchies of tags or tabs.
Amanda Tockert
Handicapped accessible features
This brief and rambling discussion touched on issues of supporting handicapped people and other issues. Using computers is often a tremendous help for people with handicaps and a significant equalizer. Hardware and software developers have made information, communication and collaboration accessible to people with less than full vision, sight, speech or mobility. Although this is outside of the field of CSCL, it is interesting that a school for the deaf was one of the founding sites of CSCL research and continues to be involved.

Group F

Gabyo Jose
Voip supporting CSCL Community
This paper argues for extending a system like VMT with VOIP. While it assumes that voice chat is better than text chat, it does not consider the possible disadvantages, such as scalability and noise. Blackboard does include voice support and it would be interesting to explore that. There is no argument given why VOIP is particularly suited to the CSCL community. The ISLS Board of CSCL researchers does use phone conferencing and has many problems with it, including the fact that only one person can talk at a time.
Cristina Trebour
Collaboration across the country
The author reviews five issues that confront the goal of supporting CSCL researchers online. For each of these issues, a possible approach is suggested. In some cases, a sample interface dialog box is sketched. While brief, the paper raises some of the tough issues in a clear and straight-forward way.
Chris Dixon
A virtual environment
The motivation for the design of a virtual environment is based on a number of technological issues. There is no consideration at all about what the needs are of the user community: CSCL researchers. Consequently, the proposed environment is a rather generic one that is not designed to meet the specific needs of researchers — such as conducting literature searches, designing experiments, writing/reviewing/critiquing papers.
Javier Lanchang
Collaborative Calendar
A scenario of a CSCL researcher sets the stage for this conceptual design of a collaborative calendar. First, a group of students is formed into small groups based on a survey of psychological characteristics. The groups are matched with researchers from around the world and a calendaring system is used to coordinate their meetings. Course management is also integrated into the calendar system. The collaboration among CSCL researchers is situated by this scenario into a teacher-centered classroom setting. What if the first researcher just wanted to collaborate with the other researchers about curriculum design? Would you have the researchers take a skills survey in order to group them? Would there be any need for the management components?
Sarah Westley
Professional Networks
As proposed, professional networks are based on social networking sites like LinkedIn and FaceBook, but are modified and expanded to include and share information of importance to CSCL researchers. Such professional networks do not yet exist according to the searches conducted by the author of this paper, although LinkedIn is used mainly for professionals and the topic of “communities of practice” is a huge research area. Many researchers have created their own personal websites to make public information about their professional identity. But to support searching and networking, it may be necessary to standardize the format of such information by a site like Facebook. Suppose you were a researcher interested in designing and developing professional network software, what would it take for you to be able to find other researchers interested in the same thing who you might want to contact for collaboration?

Group H

Mike Johnson
White Board 2.0
The use of an interactive whiteboard is described in a classroom setting. The technology behind it is also described. Interactive whiteboards are not innovative — they are widely used in schools. They are generally used in ways that do not transform the style of teaching and learning in the classrooms. There are no interface design issues discussed in the paper — or any need for this. While it is claimed that collaborative learning can be supported, the whiteboard is described as being used in a teacher-centered classroom. There is no mention of how CSCL researcher would use this.
Justin Patterson
Hyperlinks to keyword explanations
This hypertextual report proposes an extension to text chat for CSCL researchers who are new to the field. Key terms in the chat will be automatically recognized by a keyword list and they will be linked through a hypertext system to multiple sources of information about the definition of the terms within the CSCL research context. The presentation of the conceptual design of this proposed functionality takes into consideration a number of issues raised by Don Norman and other HCI and CSCL writers. This functionality seems like it might be useful to novice researchers. The considerations discussed suggest issues for the design of an interface to support this functionality. In terms of hypertext theory, it might be interesting to include back-links in the design — i.e., all the locations in chat, etc. that link to a given keyword. That would provide hints about who is interested in the given term and what they think about it.
Eric Poole
Pods for redesigning the environment
After reviewing a number of problems that the class had with its technical environment (VMT), the paper proposes a set of online media and suggests allowing the student groups to configure their preferred set of these media by arranging software “pods”. It is not clear how the group would decide how to do this — what system would they discuss the decisions in. How might the group decisions conflict with those of other groups, the class as a whole, individual group members or the instructor. For instance, how could groups share with other groups if they are not using some of the same pods? How would this scale to use by a larger, less well-defined community, like the CSCL research community? How would the pods be integrated so that one could drag-and-drop between them, use history scrollbars or use graphical referencing across pods?
Richard Porter
No paper submitted. Expected on Thursday.
Chanthy Yoeun
Private workspaces
A combination of private and public workspaces is proposed. In addition, automatic translation into a selected language is assumed. It is not clear why CSCL researchers would need either of these. In order to engage in CSCL research (to read the literature and to participate at conferences), one must be fluent in reading English. Why is a special private workspace needed — why not just use one’s normal private tools like Word? The point is to support communication throughout the world community. From the description, it is not clear that the proposed system would be web-based, but that seems natural for a collaboration system these days. Also curious was the reference to an encyclopedia for a definition of CSCL when we are reading so many primary sources as part of the course and there is so much more available online.

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