CS4458 Computer-Supported Cooperative Work 2012

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Alternative URL: http://tinyurl.com/ULCSCW12




  • 9-11 am Monday EM009


  • 9-11am on Wednesday in CS305a


  • 5 multiple choice tests on Sulis, from the material presented in class and recommended readings- (5x8)40%
  • Individual class presentation and poster on selected topic - 25%
  • Group project- selection and evaluation of collaborative tools - 35%

Mark to grade translation table

               30% D2          56% B3
               35% D1          60% B2
               40% C3          64% B1
               48% C2          72% A2
               52% C1          80% A1

CS4558 Computer Supported Cooperative Work


This course will introduce students to the CSCW and groupware field. It will cover basic concepts in the field and include an examination of software systems designed to support cooperative work - their design, use and evaluation. Issues such as peripheral awareness, ownership of information, common information spaces, media spaces, group support systems, coordination mechanisms and contextual factors in the workplace will be studied. Students will use some groupware technologies, and do a project in the course.


  • Understanding Cooperative Work as a form of work: Communication, collaboration and cooperation at work.
  • Computer support for cooperative work: Groupware systems. The role of technology in supporting /disrupting cooperative work. Strengths and Weaknesses of Audio and Video enhanced systems.
  • The role of the social sciences in CSCW. Field Studies. Ethnographic studies of work.
  • Collaborative Software Systems; Commercial systems - design goals and experiences of their use. Synchronous and asynchronous systems.
  • The problems of evaluation. Methods for evaluation. Issues of organizational context.
  • Hands-on experience with specific groupware systems. Group evaluation.
  • Key unresolved issues in the field, based on current debates and future directions.
  • Incorporating insights from social sciences into system design;
  • Relation of CSCW to Scandinavian tradition of systems development - cooperative design.


Individual assignments - presentations during the tutorial

  • Each of you will have to pick up a topic to work on and present in class.

You will get 20 minutes for the presentation and 5 minutes for discussion. A structure presented in class will give you an idea about what to include in your presentation. A week after the presentation (at latest), you will have to upload your slides and an A1 poster to Sulis in order to be graded.

8 Feb 2012

The social effects of technology in the home

    • Lynne Baillie and David Benyon. 2008. Place and Technology in the Home. Comput. Supported Coop. Work 17, 2-3 (April 2008), 227-256. DOI=10.1007/s10606-007-9063-2

15 Feb 2012

Coordination, collaboration and communication in Software Development

22 Feb 2012

Articulation work and coordination in Open Source; Learning; Social Media

29 Feb 2012

Emergency and disaster. Social Media. Distributed Work

7 Mar 2012

Media Spaces; Virtual Environments; Awareness; Arts

14 Mar 2012

The dual character of work; Social Media. Arts.

21 Mar 2012

Healthcare. Common Information Spaces. Distributed Work

28 Mar 2012

Virtual environments. Media Spaces. Computer Supported Collaborative Music


  • Systems for emergency preparedness and large-scale rapid deployment (e.g. disaster relief)
  • The Open Source phenomenon as CSCW application
  • Art installations: CSCW and the arts, media, museums, etc.
  • Virtual Environments
  • Collaborative Filtering (social bookmarking, social citations, social shopping)
  • Methodologies and tools for design and analysis of collaborative practices
  • Music sharing as a computer supported collaborative application
  • Creating media spaces through collaborative work
  • Social and organizational effects of introducing technologies
  • Computer-Supported Cooperative Music
  • CSCW at home: cooperative work in the family
  • Music sharing as a computer supported collaborative application
  • The concept of awareness in CSCW
  • The dual character of work: the work needed for making work happen
  • Organisational memory and organisational forgetting
  • Computer Supported Cooperative Care/Health
  • Web 2.0, Enterprise 2.0, Mashups
  • Computer-Supported Cooperative Learning in the era of Web 2.0
  • The problems of evaluation. Methods for evaluation. Issues of organizational context.

Course material

  • Baecker, R. (ed.) Readings in Groupware and Computer-Supported Cooperative Work: Assisting Human-Human Collaboration. San Mateo, CA: Morgan Kaufmann.
  • Greif, I. (ed.) 1988 CSCW: A Book of Readings. San Mateo, CA: Morgan Kaufmann.
  • Selected papers from European CSCW (1989-) and ACM CSCW (1986-) Conferences.
  • Selected material from CSCW Journal (Kluwer) (1992-).

Groupware technologies presented in tutorials

Reading a research paper

  • How to read a paper resources;
  • Rebecca E. Grinter, W. Keith Edwards, Mark W. Newman, and Nicolas Ducheneaut. 2005. The work to make a home network work. In Proceedings of the ninth conference on European Conference on Computer Supported Cooperative Work (ECSCW'05), Hans Gellersen, Kjeld Schmidt, Michel Beaudouin-Lafon, and Wendy Mackay (Eds.). Springer-Verlag New York, Inc., New York, NY, USA, 469-488.

Multiple choice tests (5x8) 40%

Test 1- deadline 22 Feb

    • Lynne Baillie and David Benyon. 2008. Place and Technology in the Home. Comput. Supported Coop. Work 17, 2-3 (April 2008), 227-256. DOI=10.1007/s10606-007-9063-2
    • Rebecca E. Grinter, W. Keith Edwards, Mark W. Newman, and Nicolas Ducheneaut. 2005. The work to make a home network work. In Proceedings of the ninth conference on European Conference on Computer Supported Cooperative Work (ECSCW'05), Hans Gellersen, Kjeld Schmidt, Michel Beaudouin-Lafon, and Wendy Mackay (Eds.). Springer-Verlag New York, Inc., New York, NY, USA, 469-488.

Test 2- deadline 6 Mar 2012

Topics covered:

  • Social and organisational effects of technology;
  • Coordination; articulation work;
  • Distributed work
  • Synchronous and asynchronous communication&collaboration
  • Open Source as application domain
  • Crisis management (reformulated from Disaster management!) as application domain

Test 3- deadline 20 Mar 2012

Topics: Awareness and CSCW in Arts and Public Places

Test 4- deadline 13 Apr

Test 5- deadline 20 April

Individual assignments (25%)

  • In connection with a topic discussed in class, each week a number of 2-3 students will take responsibility for organising a discussion on the topic.
  • All students will have to read the papers selected for the specific topic.
  • The students who are leading the discussion will make brief presentations of the topic (max 15 min) using any means they will find appropriate (slides, reading excerpts, free presentation).
  • In the remaining 10 min,they will ask for questions/contributions from the audience.
  • One week after the discussion, the student will have to hand in a poster on the topic, including potential suggestions from the discussion.
  • There will be 10% for presenting, 5% for facilitating the discussion, and 10% for the poster.
  • What should be on your poster:
    • Title
    • Your name and student number
    • An introduction to the topic (describe the question or topic that you have chosen)
    • A review of what the papers claim, and how the arguments are supported
    • What category would the papers belong to? (conceptual/theoretical, case study, ethnographic study, experiment, survey); Describe the research method(s) used for the study.
    • What were the strong and weak points of the paper, according to you?
    • References

Group assignments (35%)

Assignment briefing

  • the students will form groups of 3-4, choosing a combination of tools to be used throughout the semester (communication-coordination-collaboration).
  • during week 13 (16 April on) each group will give a presentation including:
    • sample logs of online communication
    • a group diary - possibly as a blog
    • a description of the collaborative tools employed, tasks performed, problems encountered
  • Each group of 3-4 will choose one tool from each category:
  • 1. Collaborative editing tools (wiki, Google Docs)
  • 2. Communication tools (mailing list, IM, Skype, Twitter,text messages)
  • 3. Coordination& miscellanea (project blog, Sulis forum, Google calendar, To-do lists, virtual room , etc)
  • Each of you has to take responsability for presenting one of the applications, encourage your team mates to use it and define the rules of usage throughout the project. You will also gather information about significant incidents (successes, failures, communication breakdowns)- collecting evidence like screenshots, chat logs or interviewing the group members about the specific incidents.
  • For each application, you will have to:
    • try it out with your colleagues - check its functionalities and figure out how to use it and for what purposes.
    • write an approx 500 words description of the tool,
    • find 1-2 CSCW (or IS) papers that refer to that specific application or to one of the same category (Gabriela can help with this task); summarize the problems presented in the paper(s) and show how your own experience confirms or disproves the paper's findings.
    • describe and illustrate 1-2 episodes from your own experience with using that specific tool/application.

The topics for the group assignment

  • For each topic, you will have to
    • draw a profile of your users
    • select applications they could master
    • develop a scenario of collaboration
    • enact that scenario with your colleagues.
A. Organise an Exhibition for a Museum
  • You have to come up with a scenario regarding the collaborative tools that could be used by art curators to prepare and promote an exhibition. Motivate your choice of tools and plan for the interaction with the public during the preparation and after the opening of the exhibition.
B. Organise a Tour for your Band
  • Pick up appropriate collaborative tools to organise a tour for a music band. Think about the activities involved, the tools the members and the manager would be comfortable with, and plan for the interaction with the public.
C. Teach a Course on behalf of ULSU
  • Develop a scenario for preparing an online course on fund raising that would be based on SULIS. SULIS allows the creation of project sites, along with the ordinary course module sites. Draw an outline for the course, decide on what functionalities of SULIS are you going to use (shared folder, assignments, quizzes, blog, wiki, forum, polls) and what other tools would you need for coordinating with the students).
D. Keep in touch with discharged pacients
  • Develop a scenario for a hospital that would allow the staff to keep in touch with the discharged pacients and collaborate with them in maintaining a record of the evolution of their condition. The pacients and their families would have access to the medical records and would be able to update them daily, while the medical staff would be able to monitor these records and take appropriate action.
E. Organise work in a software development team
  • You are the members of a distributed software development team. You live in different locations and you all work from home. What are the tools you need to articulate your work - i.e. divide the work and integrate the code components each of you will produce? Plan for testing and packaging as well.
F. Flooding allert system
  • Devise a communication and coordination mechanism between regional authorities, state agencies, private businesses and citizens that will allow to send out allerts in the case of a flooding situation, and coordinate action to cope with the effects.
G. Prepare for giving a concert in Second Life
  • Explore the tool support necessary for a band whose members are in different locations around the world to collaboratively play a gig in Second Life. Evaluate what is available in Second Life and pick up complementary tools that would allow you to coordinate.
H. Organise collaboration in a virtual environment
  • You are working in a multinational company and you were assigned the task of organising online weekly meetings for a management team. Explore available tools for the meetings themselves, and also complementary tools for preparing, writing minutes and keeping track of action items resulted from the meeting.

Groups and topics for the assignment

Add names and topics next to each group. Use A, B, C for identifying the topics. There will be 6 groups of 3 and 1 group of 4.

  • Group 1: Evan Murphy, Stephen Savage, John Slattery, Turlough O'Shea -- Topic A
  • Group 2: Gahan Raj, Kathleen Berns & Jason Browne -- Topic B
  • Group 3: Neon Blues -- Simon Harper, Andrea Harte, Alan O'Sullivan -- Topic B
  • Group 4: Kathryn Conway, Joanne Tobin & Maire Kirby -- Topic E
  • Group 5: Aisling Flynn, Jennifer Murtagh, Stefan O'Shea -- Topic H
  • Group 6: Kenneth Baker, Ciaran Smith, David Brew, Adam McDermott -- Topic

Group presentation schedule

Monday, 16 April 2012
  • Monday - 9:10 - 9:45 Group 6
  • Monday - 9:45 - Group 5
  • Monday - 10:15 Group 2
Wednesday, 18 April 2012
  • Wednesday - 9:10 - Group 4
  • Wednesday - 9:45 - Neon Blues
  • Wednesday - 10:15 - Group 1

Outline for the class presentation

  • title page
  • outline of the presentation
  • 2-3 slides for each tool
  • examples of situations that occurred - both war and success stories
  • reflection (see below)
  • conclusion

Outline for the final group report

  • Title page - Pick up a name for your project and add the names of the authors, date and module
  • Table of content
  • Introduction - collaborative work in general, what tools you picked up and what was the role of each of them - even if they are not presented in detail later. If you used mobile phones to coordinate, mention it.
  • Tool 1 - for each mention the category it belongs to, the general use (collaboration aka working together on something, coordination and/or communication), the functionalities you have used the most. Add links to the literature, showing how your own observations prove or disprove the findings in the literature, and presenting examples from your work.
  • Tool 2 -same
  • Tool 3 -same
  • Discussion/reflection:
    • What worked well in your collaboration and what could be improved?
    • What part of the work was done working apart, and what part working together in the same room?
    • Would it have worked out without meeting in person at all?
    • Were you ever frustrated because of the technology?
    • If you'd start again, would you pick up a different tool? What would you do different?
  • Conclusion: what do you think were the most important 3 things you have learned from this collaboration.
  • References
  • Max 20 pages in total, with screen captures and everything (excluding title page, TOC, references and appendices).
  • If you wrote a blog, or have chat logs, you can attach them as appendices.

A few suggestions for literature resources

Google Calendar, Google Docs

Project Management tools
  • Chen et al(2003) A Collaborative Project Management Architecture, HICSS '03
  • Knotts et al (1998)[www.computer.org/comp/proceedings/hicss/1998/8233/01/82330623.pdf A Project Management Tool for Computer-Supported Cooperative Work During Project Planning]
  • Hilko Donker and Malte Blumberg. 2008. Collaborative process management and virtual teams. In Proceedings of the 2008 international workshop on Cooperative and human aspects of software engineering (CHASE '08). ACM, New York, NY, USA, 41-43. DOI=10.1145/1370114.1370125


  • 28 February - groups defined
  • 1-7 March - each group decides on the applications they want to use, create accounts and decide on weekly online meetings
  • 30 March - 500 words description of the apps ready, papers identified, incidents documented
  • 11 Apr - draft of presentation and draft paper uploaded into Sulis for feedback
  • 16&18 Apr 2012 - presentations
  • - group report and slides submitted via Sulis


  • presentation 15%
  • group report 20%
  • all group members will receive the same mark

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