To Share or Not to Share - Distributed Collaboration in Interactive Workspaces
We followed an international research network that holds regular meetings in technology-enhanced working environments. The team is geographically distributed and uses a set of technical artefacts to support their collaborative work, including a videoconferencing system and a media space. We have been studying how mutual understanding is created between the team members and the role that visual representations play in this work. Our approach has been to analyse the initiatives and responses made by the team members. The meeting situation is complex because the team members are participating either in both video and audio, or audio only. In this multi-channel setting it often has to be clarified who is attending, and there is also a risk of team members being forgotten when they are present only on audio. The communication space is limited; when many want to participate in the communicative activity, it becomes harder to make successful initiatives; moreover, the roles of the team members seem to become accentuated in the distributed setting. The media space is restricted in that it only allows one person to be active at the time; this causes problems when several persons want to contribute simultaneously. Some of these limitations in the system are overcome through verbal articulations of actions.