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Introduction. IMD09120: Collaborative Media Brian Davison 2011/12. Contents. General introduction – main themes Module overview A little history Short break Social psychology Statistical evaluation Summary: Grudin’s 8 challenges. Introduction. What are computers for?

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IMD09120: Collaborative Media

Brian Davison 2011/12

  • General introduction – main themes
  • Module overview
  • A little history
  • Short break
  • Social psychology
  • Statistical evaluation
  • Summary: Grudin’s 8 challenges
  • What are computers for?
    • Doing difficult maths
    • Communication
  • Email: invented in 1971 - accounted for 75% of Internet traffic by 1973
    • Hobbes Internet timeline
  • The main themes of this module are
    • Social psychology of cooperation
    • Computer Mediated Communications (CMC)
    • The evaluation of social systems using statistical methods
  • Social behaviour is an essential human characteristic
  • It is biologically based
  • Individuals have differences which affect social situations
  • Social situations influence individual behaviour

  • Provides a medium for communication
  • Can facilitate or be a barrier
  • Can distract from the social behaviour itself
  • Can generate new phenomena


Planning, decision-making, problem-solving, team-working, developing, trading, negotiating, co-authoring, discussing, critiquing, providing mutual support, maintaining a community

  • People
  • Activities
  • Contexts
  • Technology

As a job, for fun, as part of a community, as a friend, as a professional, as a parent, in an office, outdoors, at home, while travelling, in a foreign country, in a competition

is collaborative media all about hci
Is Collaborative Media all about HCI?
  • No
  • HCI is about the individual’s communication with the system across the user interface
  • CM is about the communications behaviour between people using the system as a channel
  • The design of the interface is important, but not the main focus
is cm all about social networking
Is CM all about social networking?
  • No
  • Social networking is an obvious example of a social phenomenon
  • Not clear that collaboration is the central focus
  • Not the same as testing
  • Testing: Does it work?
  • Evaluation: How well does it work?

Does it have the intended effect?

Which option is better?

evaluation problems
Evaluation problems
  • No hard and fast facts
  • Must be based on collected data
  • Often relies on pooled opinion
  • Statistical methods deal with variation
statistics in this module
Statistics in this module
  • Basic concepts
  • Different types of test
  • How to interpret statistical results
  • How to define an experiment
  • How to draw conclusions from the results
  • Minimum maths
  • Maximum use of Excel functions
module structure
Module structure
  • Lectures
    • Theoretical concepts
  • Practicals
    • Statistics
    • Prototype building
  • Tutorials
    • Group exercises
    • Discussions
    • Assessment preparation

2 components:

  • Week 9: Critical assessment of an existing collaborative system and proposed redesign
  • Week14: Prototype of your redesign and evaluation using the instrument provided
  • Note the timing: One week each
a little history
A little history

1971: Email

1973: Plato Notes

1978: CBBS

1984: Computer Supported Cooperative Work (CSCW)

1985: The WELL

1988: Internet Relay Chat (IRC)

1989: Lotus Notes

1990: Mosaic Web browser

1990: LambdaMOO

1996: ICQ chat

1997: Blogs

1997: SixDegrees

2003: MySpace

2003: Second Life

2006: Facebook

  • Education was one of the first beneficiaries of collaborative systems
definition of cscw
Definition of CSCW

“ … the design of computer-based technologies with explicit concern for the socially organised practices of their intended users.” (Suchman, 1989)

the study of work in situ which involves people

working cooperatively (i.e. not in parallel)

towards some common end or goal

using networked ITsystems

some basic vocabulary
Some basic vocabulary
  • Time
    • Synchronous: working together at the same time
    • Asynchronous: working together at different times
  • Space
    • Co-located or face to face (f2f ): in the same physical space
    • Remote: in different places
the place time matrix
The place-time matrix

After Applegate, 1991

  • There are two predominant metaphors
    • Shared information spaces
      • Sites
      • Navigation
      • Pages
      • Go to...
      • Save...
    • Conferencing
      • Conversation
      • Thread
      • Participate
main themes
Main themes
  • The social psychology of cooperation
  • Computer Mediated Communications (CMC)
  • Statistical evaluation
social psychology
Social psychology


Social psychology

Cognitive psychology

Social thinking: How we perceive ourselves and others, our judgements, beliefs and attitudes

Social influence: Cultural and social pressures that affect our behaviour

Social relations: Prejudice, aggression, attraction, helping, group identity

studying cooperation
Studying cooperation
  • Anthropological and naturalistic animal studies (especially in primatology)
  • Experimental and social psychological
  • Mathematical
  • Explicit CSCW studies

A General Form of the Prisoner’s Dilemma


  • Cooperate
  • Defect


individual variation
Individual variation
  • Personality preferences are one type of variation
  • Myers-Briggs Type Indicator



  • Extravert
  • Sensing
  • Thinking
  • Judging


  • Introvert
  • Intuitive
  • Feeling
  • Perceiving










effects and biases
Effects and biases
  • Identified behaviours that are more or less predictable
  • eg Spotlight effect
common sense
Common sense?
  • Paul Lazarsfeld (1949) studied American WWII soldiers:
    • Better-educated soldiers suffered more adjustment problems

ie – Intellectuals were less prepared for battle stresses

    • Southern soldiers coped better in hot climates that Northerners

ie – Southerners were more accustomed to hot weather

    • White privates were more eager for promotion than black privates

ie – Years of oppression had damaged achievement motivation

    • Southern blacks preferred Southern to Northern white officers

ie – Southern officers were more accustomed to interacting with them

hindsight bias
Hindsight bias
  • I knew it all along...
  • That’s just common sense...
  • It’s obvious...

theory formulation
Theory formulation
  • You must try to discover the rule that connects the three numbers below.
  • To work it out, you may propose different sets of three numbers, and I will tell you whether they obey the rule.

12 24 48

confirmation bias
Confirmation bias
  • The tendency to seek confirmatory evidence for one’s own belief
  • This is natural – everyone does it
  • This is one reason we need statistics
  • Allow us to draw objective conclusions based on the mathematical characteristics of populations and samples
  • Population: whole group we are interested in
  • Sample: a small number drawn from the population for testing
samples and populations
Samples and populations

General public


UG students

Napier UG students

SoC UG students

IMD students

Year 3 IMD students

Is a high-cue environment more effective than low-cue for small group decision making?


  • Central tendency
    • Mean
    • Median
    • Mode

Number of scores

  • Spread
    • Variance
    • Standard deviation

Agreed measure of effectiveness

comparing distributions
Comparing distributions



Number of scores



Agreed measure of effectiveness

eight challenges for developers
Eight challenges for developers
  • Jonathan Grudin wrote a seminal paper in 1994 on what the key issues are in designing for groupware

1. Disparity in work and benefit

2. Critical mass and the prisoner’s dilemma problems

3. Disruption of social processes

4. Exception handling

5. Unobstrusive accessibility

6. Difficulty of evaluation

7. Failure of intuition

8. The adoption process.


Difficulty of evaluation

  • The almost insurmountable obstacles to meaningful, generalisable analysis and evaluation of groupware prevent us from learning from experience
  • Group applications necessarily must be evaluated from multiple perspectives

Failure of intuition

  • Intuition in product development environments is especially poor for multi-user applications, resulting in bad management decisions and an error prone design process.
what s next
What’s next?
  • Statistics tutorial
  • Personality typing
  • Next week:
    • Social psychology
    • Statistics practical exercises
    • Group exercises – what is your Myers-Briggs type?