JCSCW Vol. 16 (2007)

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  • Journal Article
    Group-Based Mobile Messaging in Support of the Social Side of Leisure
    (Computer Supported Cooperative Work (CSCW): Vol. 16, 2007) Counts, Scott
    Communication on mobile devices plays an important role in people’s use of technology for leisure, but to date this communication has largely been one-to-one. Mobile internet connectivity can support a variety of group-based messaging and media sharing scenarios. Switching to group-based messaging should enhance the social and leisure aspects of the communication, but in what ways and to what extent? An experimental system for text and photo messaging on mobile devices was tested in a research deployment to four groups of 6–8 participants who used both a group-based and one-to-one version of the system. Results highlight a significant increase in message sending, in mobile device “fun”, and in the social qualities of mobile communication when messaging group-wide, along with a few minor costs. Qualitative feedback provides further explanation of the social benefits.
  • Journal Article
    Entertaining Situated Messaging at Home
    (Computer Supported Cooperative Work (CSCW): Vol. 16, 39173) Perry, Mark; Rachovides, Dorothy
    Leisure and entertainment-based computing has been traditionally associated with interactive entertainment media and game playing, yet the forms of engagement offered by these technologies only support a small part of how we act when we are at leisure. In this paper, we move away from the paradigm of leisure technology as computer-based entertainment consumption, and towards a broader view of leisure computing. This perspective is more in line with our everyday experience of leisure as an embodied, everyday accomplishment in which people artfully employ the everyday resources in the world around them in carrying out their daily lives outside of work. We develop this extended notion of leisure using data from a field study of domestic communication focusing on asynchronous and situated messaging to explore some of these issues, and develop these findings towards design implications for leisure technologies. Central to our discussion on the normal, everyday and occasioned conduct of leisure lie the notions of playfulness and creativity, the interweaving of the worlds of work and leisure, and in the creation of embodied displays of affect, all of which may be seen manifested in the use of messaging artefacts. This view of technology in support of leisure-in-the-broad is strongly divergent from traditional entertainment computing models in its coupling of the mechanics of the organisation of everyday life to the ways that we make entertainment for ourselves. This recognition allows us to draw specific implications for domestic situated messaging technologies, but also more generally for technology design by tying activities that we tend to regard as purely functional to other multifaceted and leisure-related purposes.
  • Journal Article
    Virtual “Third Places”: A Case Study of Sociability in Massively Multiplayer Games
    (Computer Supported Cooperative Work (CSCW): Vol. 16, 39173) Ducheneaut, Nicolas; Moore, Robert J.; Nickell, Eric
    Georg Simmel [ American Journal of Sociology 55:254–261 (1949)] is widely credited as the first scholar to have seriously examined sociability – “the sheer pleasure of the company of others” and the central ingredient in many social forms of recreation and play. Later Ray Oldenburg [ The Great Good Place . New York: Marlowe & Company (1989)] extended Simmel’s work by focusing on a certain class of public settings, or “third places,” in which sociability tends to occur, such as, bars, coffee shops, general stores, etc. But while Simmel and Oldenburg describe activities and public spaces in the physical world, their concepts may apply as well to virtual or online worlds. Today Massively Multiplayer Online Games (MMOGs) are extensive, persistent online 3D environments that are populated by hundreds of thousands of players at any given moment. The sociable nature of these online spaces is often used to explain their success: unlike previous video games, MMOGs require players to exchange information and collaborate in real-time to progress in the game. In order to shed light on this issue, we critically examine player-to-player interactions in a popular MMOG (Star Wars Galaxies). Based on several months of ethnographic observations and computerized data collection, we use Oldenburg’s notion of “third places” to evaluate whether or not the social spaces of this virtual world fit existing definitions of sociable environments. We discuss the role online games can play in the formation and maintenance of social capital, what they can teach us about the evolution of sociability in an increasingly digitally connected social world, and what could be done to make such games better social spaces.
  • Journal Article
    Sustaining a Community Computing Infrastructure for Online Teacher Professional Development: A Case Study of Designing Tapped In
    (Computer Supported Cooperative Work (CSCW): Vol. 16, 39356) Farooq, Umer; Schank, Patricia; Harris, Alexandra; Fusco, Judith; Schlager, Mark
    Community computing has recently grown to become a major research area in human–computer interaction. One of the objectives of community computing is to support computer supported cooperative work among distributed collaborators working toward shared professional goals in online communities of practice. A core issue in designing and developing community computing infrastructures – the underlying socio-technical layer that supports communitarian activities – is sustainability. Many community computing initiatives fail because the underlying infrastructure does not meet end user requirements; the community is unable to maintain a critical mass of users consistently over time; it generates insufficient social capital to support significant contributions by members of the community; or, as typically happens with funded initiatives, financial and human capital resource become unavailable to further maintain the infrastructure. Based on more than nine years of design experience with Tapped In – an online community of practice for education professionals – we present a case study that discusses four design interventions that have sustained the Tapped In infrastructure and its community to date. These interventions represent broader design strategies for developing online environments for professional communities of practice.
  • Journal Article
    Local Groups Online: Political Learning and Participation
    (Computer Supported Cooperative Work (CSCW): Vol. 16, 2007) Kavanaugh, Andrea L.; Zin, Than Than; Rosson, Mary Beth; Carroll, John M.; Schmitz, Joseph; Kim, B. Joon
    Voluntary associations serve crucial roles in local communities and within our larger democratic society. They aggregate shared interests, collective will, and cultivate civic competencies that nurture democratic participation. People active in multiple local groups frequently act as opinion leaders and create “weak” social ties across groups. In Blacksburg and surrounding Montgomery County, Virginia, the Blacksburg Electronic Village (BEV) community computer network has helped to foster nearly universal Internet penetration. Set in this dense Internet context, the present study investigated if and how personal affiliation with local groups enhanced political participation in this high information and communication technology environment. This paper presents findings from longitudinal survey data that indicate as individuals’ uses of information technology within local formal groups increases over time, so do their levels and types of involvement in the group. Furthermore, these increases most often appear among people who serve as opinion leaders and maintain weak social ties in their communities. Individuals’ changes in community participation, interests and activities, and Internet use suggest ways in which group members act upon political motivations and interests across various group types.
  • Journal Article
    Expert Recommender: Designing for a Network Organization
    (Computer Supported Cooperative Work (CSCW): Vol. 16, 39356) Reichling, Tim; Veith, Michael; Wulf, Volker
    Recent knowledge management initiatives focus on expertise sharing within formal organizational units and informal communities of practice. Expert recommender systems seem to be a promising tool in support of these initiatives. This paper presents experiences in designing an expert recommender system for a knowledge-intensive organization, namely the National Industry Association (NIA). Field study results provide a set of specific design requirements. Based on these requirements, we have designed an expert recommender system which is integrated into the specific software infrastructure of the organizational setting. The organizational setting is, as we will show, specific for historical, political, and economic reasons. These particularities influence the employees’ organizational and (inter-)personal needs within this setting. The paper connects empirical findings of a long-term case study with design experiences of an expertise recommender system.
  • Journal Article
    Architecture, Infrastructure, and Broadband Civic Network Design: An Institutional View
    (Computer Supported Cooperative Work (CSCW): Vol. 16, 2007) Venkatesh, Murali; Chango, Mawaki
    Cultural values frame architectures, and architectures motivate infrastructures-by which we mean the foundational telecommunications and Internet access services that software applications depend on. Design is the social process that realizes architectural elements in an infrastructure. This process is often a conflicted one where transformative visions confront the realities of entrenched power, where innovation confronts pressure from institutionalized interests and practices working to resist change and reproduce the status quo in the design outcome. We use this viewpoint to discuss design aspects of the Urban-net, a broadband civic networking case. Civic networks are embodiments of distinctive technological configurations and forms of social order. In choosing some technological configurations over others, designers are favoring some social structural configurations over alternatives. To the extent that a civic network sets out to reconfigure the prevailing social order (as was the case in the Urban-net project considered here), the design process becomes the arena where challengers of the prevailing order encounter its defenders. In this case the defenders prevailed, and the design that emerged was conservative and reproduced the status quo. What steps can stakeholders take so that the project’s future development is in line with the original aim of structural change? We outline two strategies. We argue the importance of articulating cultural desiderata in an architecture that stakeholders can use to open up the infrastructure to new constituents and incremental change. Next, we argue the importance of designing the conditions of design. The climate in which social interactions occur can powerfully shape design outcomes, but this does not usually figure in stakeholders’ design concerns.
  • Journal Article
    Book Review
    (Computer Supported Cooperative Work (CSCW): Vol. 16, No. 6, 2007) Button, Graham
  • Journal Article
    Telehealth in Context: Socio-technical Barriers to Telehealth use in Labrador, Canada
    (Computer Supported Cooperative Work (CSCW): Vol. 16, No. 6, 2007) Peddle, Katrina
    Currently telehealth is being offered as an innovative solution to austerity, staffing issues and problems accessing care in Canada’s rural communities. Despite the current enthusiasm for telehealth in provincial and federal policy documents, many of these promises have not been realized. The Labrador region is a large and sparsely populated area that was vested with a federal “Smart Community” project to increase the region’s technological capacity, making it one of the most connected locales in the country. While telehealth was a key component of the SmartLabrador plan, there has been limited uptake of newly available technologies for the purposes of mediating distance in health care. My work critically examines the factors surrounding this lack of uptake, and takes the work of Harold Innis as a starting point when analyzing the breakdown of time and space in Labrador. Focused around qualitative field research conducted in Labrador in 2003, I explore spatialization, structuration and work practice as they relate to telehealth use and non-use in the region. I review federal and provincial telehealth policy to provide a macro context for the study, which I then link to meso and micro levels of analysis in organization structures and situated work practice. I examine telehealth in the user context from the health care provider perspective. This reveals several constraints that have limited the usage of new technologies for health communication in Labrador. The user context must be considered in the design of telehealth programs and policy if the desired outcomes for telehealth are to be realized. The barriers to telehealth use are not simply technical, but relate to issues of privacy, culture and trust. I discuss these and other barriers with a focus on the needs of the Labrador community.
  • Journal Article
    Improving the Effectiveness of Virtual Teams by Adapting Team Processes
    (Computer Supported Cooperative Work (CSCW): Vol. 16, No. 6, 39417) Rice, Daniel J.; Davidson, Barry D.; Dannenhoffer, John F.; Gay, Geri K.
    Results are presented from a study on virtual teams and whether appropriate early training can positively influence their effectiveness. Sixteen teams that worked together for periods ranging from three months to three years were studied. Team processes that emerged naturally from long-duration teams were formalized and taught to shorter duration teams. These shorter duration teams comprised three different cohorts, each of which received different levels of training. It was found that the adoption of formal procedures and structured processes significantly increased the effectiveness of virtual teams. Tasks that lend themselves to a structured approach were most effectively accomplished during virtual meetings, whereas face-to-face interactions were better for relatively unstructured, discussion intensive tasks. The performance of a virtual team was significantly improved when team processes were adapted to the affordances of the CMC environment. It is shown that this adaptation can occur very rapidly if teams are trained on the technology as well as on work processes that best exploit it.