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An assessment of the experimental literature on electronic support of group work

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... In the questionnaire, H-groups reported that DOLPHIN was significantly harder to use than the N-groups (p<.05), a result not surprising considering the added functionality of the hypermedia, and which could partially explain their lower satisfaction. The lower group satisfaction in the H-condition is consistent with other results found when groups use a new technology (McLeod, 1992;Olson et al., 1993). Using the electronic whiteboard may be analogous to using familiar markers on a whiteboard, and this may have resulted in higher satisfaction for regroups. ...
... Therefore, it seems plausible to expect similar differences in group process and product if DOLPHIN use were to be compared to Tivoli use. Some studies have addressed the impact of technology on groups in face-toface meetings (e.g. for a meta-analysis see McLeod, 1992; or for the impact of a simple collaborative editor ShrEdit, see Olson et al. 1993). We feel that our study extends this direction by looking at finer distinctions between groups who use different forms of technology. ...
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In this paper, we report on an empirical evaluation of selected aspects of DOLPHIN, a meeting room environment of computers networked with an electronic whiteboard Our results show that in a face-to-face meeting, the use of DOLPHIN'S hypermedia functionality changed the nature of the product and the way groups worked, compared to using only electronic whiteboard functionality Groups organized their ideas into network, rather than pure hierarchical, structures. These were more deeply elaborated, contained more ideas, and had more relationships between the ideas. The problem solutions were also |udged to be more original. Groups were more likely to use a top-down planning strategy, and to exhibit a different temporal work pattern. The results suggest that work groups can benefit from using hypermedia in problem solving
... In addition to comments and gestures, the time spent on design activities is also known as one of the critical aspects in comparing different groups [51]. McLeod [53] conducted a meta-analysis of numerous empirical studies that explored the relations between group process, supporting tools, and outcomes. He found that many studies viewed ''the time needed to complete a task'' and ''the satisfaction of group members'' as important variables to compare different groups. ...
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With the number of people with visual impairments (e.g., low vision and blind) continuing to increase, vision loss has become one of the most challenging disabilities. Today, haptic technology, using an alternative sense to vision, is deemed an important component for effectively accessing information systems. The most appropriately designed assistive technology is critical for those with visual impairments to adopt assistive technology and to access information, which will facilitate their tasks in personal and professional life. However, most of the existing design approaches are inapplicable and inappropriate to such design contexts as users with visual impairments interacting with non-graphical user interfaces (i.e., haptic technology). To resolve such design challenges, the present study modified a participatory design approach (i.e., PICTIVE, Plastic Interface for Collaborative Technology Initiatives Video Exploration) to be applicable to haptic technologies, by considering the brain plasticity theory. The sense of touch is integrated into the design activity of PICTIVE. Participants with visual impairments were able to effectively engage in designing non-visual interfaces (e.g., haptic interfaces) through non-visual communication methods (e.g., touch modality).
... Another approach is to compare sets of data on their overall sequential organization-such as between the two conditions in our laboratory study, which we described earlier (for further examples, see reviews by Hollingshead & McGrath, in press;McLeod, 1992). One effect of using different technology conditions could be to change the sequential organization of the users' behavior. ...
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Statistical and grammatical techniques are reviewed as an integrated approach to exploratory sequential data analysis (ESDA) for categorical data. The first step is the identification and validation of the categories to be analyzed. The main statistical techniques discussed are log-linear modeling and lag sequential analysis. These methods allow for the statistical evaluation of a wide range of general and specific hypotheses about sequential structure. Grammatical techniques based on definite-clause grammars are described and illustrated, and the complex issue of measuring the goodness of fit of a set of patterns is discussed. Throughout the article, examples from our own research illustrate how the various techniques are used, especially in concert, while carrying out ESDA. In Section 6, several other human-computer interaction and computer-supported cooperative work applications of these techniques are discussed.
... The alignment will inevitably take place only with respect to certain aspects of the group's or individuals' requirements, and this partial alignment may have implications in terms of the nature of decision outcomes. McLeod (1992), for example, suggests that factors such as equality of participation may improve when a GDSS is introduced, but the degree of consensus attained by the group and satisfaction with the decision outcome may decline. Such ndings suggest that the socio-cognitive impacts of GDSS on the development of shared meanings and their e ectiveness as the basis for collaborative working are both complex and signi cant. ...
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This study reports how the introduction of a simple collaborative tool changed the way groups of people did an interesting problem solving task, the design of an automatic post office. The designs produced by the groups supported with this tool were of higher quality than those who worked with conventional whiteboard and paper and pencil. They liked the process a little less, probably because it was a new tool. But, more surprising was the fact that those supported with the tool did less extensive exploration of the design space. Our expectation was just the opposite. It appears that the tool helped the supported group keep more focused on the core issues in the emerging design, to waste less time on less important topics, and to capture what was said as they went.
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A simple collaborative tool, a shared text editor called ShrEdit, changed the way groups of designers performed their work, and changed it for the better. First, the designs produced by the 19 groups of three designers were of higher quality than those of the 19 groups who worked with conventional whiteboard, paper and pencil. The groups with the new tool reported liking their work process a little less, probably because they had to adapt their work style to a new tool. We expected, from the brainstorming literature and recent work on Group Support Systems, that the reason the designs were of better quality was that the supported groups generated more ideas. To our surprise, the groups working with ShrEdit generated fewer design ideas, but apparently better ones. It appears that the tool helped the supported groups keep more focused on the core issued in the emerging design, to waste less time on less important topics, and to capture what was said as they went. This suggests that small workgroups can capitalize on the free access they have to a shared workspace, without requiring a facilitator or a work process embedded in the software.
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Hypermedia structures have beenintegrated with CSCW functionality to develop theDOLPHIN system, an electronic meeting roomenvironment. In this paper, a study is reportedinvestigating how the DOLPHIN environment affectsgroup work. Different aspects of group problem solvingwere examined to understand the effects of workingwith hypermedia: the group's product, cognitivefactors, and the group process. The results showedthat groups can easily work with hypermediastructures, and that these structures influence groupsto produce a different product, to use a differentstrategy, and to use a different collaborative style,namely of dividing up their labor. The experimentalresults are explained in a model which suggests theinvolvement of both procedural and semantic componentsin hypermedia use. We discuss wider implications ofhypermedia for CSCW and group work.
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User interfaces for groupware systems rarely reflectthe different requirements for support of theirend-users. Here we present an approach to designingmulti-user interfaces for cooperative systems whichbuilds on previous work from the HCI community in thearea of end-user customisation. Using this approach wehave developed an approach and a system prototype basedon tailorable views, or Tviews, which allows end-usersengaged in group working to configure theircooperative system interfaces to support theirdifferent tasks, preferences and levels of expertise.Tviews are user interface components which can bedragged and dropped over representations ofapplication objects to customise presentation,interaction and event updating properties, and canthemselves be tailored using high-level, incrementalcustomisation techniques. We discuss the implicationsof this work for CSCW system development by referenceto studies of work carried out by the CSCW communitywhich point to a need for more flexible and tailorablesystem interfaces.
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