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Computer Supported Collaborative Writing

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  1. ComputerSupportedCollaborative Writing Henrry Rodríguez IPLab, KTH/NADA

  2. The writing process an overview

  3. Writing with computers • Writing is an activity performed daily in an office as well as academic environments. • 70’s the computer as a new technology to the writing process • Handwriting, Text process, formatting, re-use, Image + text, spelling, etc. • Saved in different formats? Sharing problems, A great number of features. Attention must be given to formatting. Lost my text! Where is the file. Find-change all, auto-correct, etc. • The amount of initial planning is less using word processors that pen-and-paper. More revision attention to the formatting aspects of the text ( Haas 1989). • Severinson-Eklundh (1990) revision on computer, more attention is paid to low-level error (e.g. misspelling, wording)

  4. What is Collaborative Writing? • is every writing a collaborative writing? • A social practice including: • Coordination • Communication (negotiation) • Cooperation • External factors

  5. Issues in Collaborative Writing cont. • Group issues: • The role play • Management of conflict • Communication issues: • Effective communication, • What to communicate about, • Communication medium • External representations: • Plans, • Comments, • Version control

  6. Complexity and Diversity • Group size : Small Vs. Large • Social status of members : Equal Vs. Hierarchical • Time : Synchronous Vs. Asynchronous • Space : Distributed or at the same place • Text length • Types of text • Different conceptions of the task among collaborators • Individual goals Vs. Group’s

  7. Issues in Collaborative Writing • Task issues: Strategies for partitioning and co-ordinating (Sharples et. al. 1993) Sequential Reciprocal Parallel

  8. Issues in Collaborative Writing • Routing proceduresthe material between the members • File naming strategies • Star routing • Ring routing • Commenting Strategies • E-mail • Inserting the comments in the original document • Annotation features in your word processor.

  9. Annotation interface • The production of annotation is affected by the annotation interface. • Time of the task (reviewing a document written by someone else) was not affected by the annotation interface. • Aligned, and interlinear condition, communicated significantly more problems than those who used the split-screen condition • Wojahn, Neuwirth, & Bullock (1998)

  10. Examples of CWr tools • Ex. 1 Grove (Ellis et.al. 91) • Synchronous text editing • Support for brainstorming • Similar systems: Aspects, ShrEdit • Ex. 2 Prep • Asynchronous editing • Support for column based annotation • Commercialised system: Common Space • Ex. 3 Instant Update • Support for centralized document management

  11. Examples of CWr tools … cont. • Ex. 4 Col•laboració • A web-based CWr tool • Email notification of comments • Ex. 5 MSWord and FrameMaker • Commenting functions • Change visualization

  12. Discussion • Why have so few collaborative writing tools been used until now ? • What will be collaborative writing software in the future ? • Extending systems of word processors currently used such as MSWord, FrameMaker • Many different types of collaborative writing systems • Integrated systems with other groupware applications

  13. Discussion • "You are not born with group skills, nor do they magically appear when you need them. You have to learn them" (Johnson et al., 1984) • writing collaboratively tends to take a bit more time than writing alone but has the potential to be far superior to individual writing, because the weaknesses and inadequacies of individuals are caught by one another, while all the strengths of the individuals are pooled.

  14. References • Haas, C. (1989). Does the medium make a difference? Two studies of writing with pen and paper and with computers. Human-Computer Interaction, Vol. X, 149-169. • Johnson, David, R. Johnson, E. Holubee, and P. Roy. (1984) Circles of Learning: Cooperation in the Classroom. Alexandria, VA Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development. • Severinson-Eklundh, K. (1990). The use of idea processors for studying structural aspects of text production. In Nordtext Symposium Text structuring - reception and production strategies, Hanasaari, Helsinki • Sharples, M. (Ed.). (1993). Computer supported collaborative writing. London: Springer-Verlag • Wojahn, P. G., Neuwirth, C. M., and Bullock, B. (1998) Effects of interfaces for annotation on communication in a collaborative task, Conference proceedings on Human factors in computing systems, pp. 456-463.