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Communication and Computer Supported Cooperative Work

Communication and Computer Supported Cooperative Work. Human Computer Interaction. Overview. All computer systems, single user or multi-user, interact with the work-groups and organizations in which they are used Need to understand normal human-human communication

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Communication and Computer Supported Cooperative Work

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  1. Communication and Computer Supported Cooperative Work Human Computer Interaction

  2. Overview • All computer systems, single user or multi-user, interact with the work-groups and organizations in which they are used • Need to understand normal human-human communication • face-to-face communication involves eyes, face and body • conversation can be analysed to establish its detailed structure

  3. Overview • This can then be applied to text-based conversation, which has • reduced feedback for confirmation • less context to disambiguate utterances • slower pace of interaction • but is more easily reviewed • Group working is more complex than that of a single person • influenced by the physical environment • experiments are more difficult to control and record • field studies must take into account the social situation

  4. Social nature of humans • Humans are inherently social creatures • We live together, work together, learn together, play together, etc. • Therefore, we need to develop interactive systems that support and extend these kinds of social interactions • Communication and collaboration

  5. Face-to-face communication • Most primitive and most subtle form of communication • Often seen as the paradigm for computer mediated communication

  6. Face-to-face communication • Transfer effects • carry expectations into electronic media • People are adaptable – eg “over” • But also expect they can use existing norms (eg: cultural) • sometimes with disastrous results • may interpret failure as rudeness of colleague • e.g., personal spacevideo may destroy mutual impression of distance happily the “glass wall” effect helps

  7. Eye contact • to convey interest and establish social presence • video may spoil direct eye contact • but poor quality video better than audio only • Establishing context – focus of the conversation

  8. Gestures and body language • much of our communication is through our bodies • gesture (and eye gaze) used for deictic reference • Deictic – “directly pointing out” (oed.com) • head and shoulders video loses this • So: close focus for eye contactor wide focus for body language?

  9. Back channels • Alison: Do you fancy that film, err[1] -`The Green' – um[2] – it starts at eight. • Brian: Great! • Not just the words! • Back channel responses from Brian at 1 and 2 • quizzical at 1 • affirmative at 2 • Back channels include: • nods and grimaces • shrugs of the shoulders • grunts and raised eyebrows • Utterance begins vague then sharpens up just enough

  10. Back channels II • Restricting media restricts back channels • Video … loss of body language • Audio … loss of facial expression • Half Duplex … lose most voice back channel responses • Text Based … nothing left! • Back channels used for turn-taking: • Speaker offers the floor (fraction of a second gap) • Listener requests the floor (facial expression, small noise) • Grunts, ‘um's and ‘ah's, can be used by the: • listener to claim the floor • speaker to hold the floor • But often too quiet for half-duplex channels • Trans-continental conferences - special problems • lag can exceed the turn taking gap • leads to a monologue!

  11. Basic conversational structure • Alison: Do you fancy that film • Brian: the uh (500 ms) with the black cat –”The Green whatsit” • Alison: yeah, go at uh(looks at watch 1.2 s) twenty to? • Brian: sure • Smallest unit is the utterance • Turn taking … utterances usually alternate

  12. Basic conversational structure • Simplest structure - adjacency pair • Adjacency pairs may nest; • Brian: Do you want some gateau? (X) • Alison: is it very fattening? (Y) • Brian: yes, very (Y) • Alison: and lots of chocolate? (Z) • Brian: masses (Z) • Alison: I'll have a big slice then. (X) • Structure is: B-x, A-y, B-y, A-z, B-z, A-x • Inner pairs often for clarification • But, simple pairing is not always possible or useful

  13. Context in conversation • Utterances are highly ambiguous • We use context to disambiguate • Brian: (points) that post is leaning a bit • Alison: that's the one you put in

  14. Context in conversation • Two types of context: • external context • reference to the environment • e.g., Brian's “that” = the thing pointed to [deictic reference] • internal context • reference to the previous conversation • e.g., Alison's “that” = the last thing spoken of

  15. Context in conversation • Often contextual utterances involve indexicals: • that, this, he, she, it • These may be used for internal or external context • Also descriptive phrases may be used: • external: “the corner post is leaning a bit” • internal: “the post you mentioned”

  16. Common Ground • Resolving context depends on meaning • participants must share meaning • so must have shared knowledge • Conversation constantly negotiates meaning • process called grounding • Alison: So, you turn right beside the river. • Brian: past the pub. • Alison: yeah - • Each utterance is assumed to be: • relevant - furthers the current topic • helpful - comprehensible to listener

  17. Focus and breakdown • Context resolved relative to current dialogue focus • Alison: Oh, look at your roses – • Brian: mmm, but I've had trouble with green fly. • Alison: they're the symbol of the English summer. • Brian: green fly? • Alison: no roses silly! • Tracing topics is one way to analyse conversation. • Alison begins - topic is roses • Brian shifts topic to green fly • Alison misses shift in focus = breakdown

  18. Focus and breakdown • You can classify utterances by the task they perform in the conversation • Substantive • – directly relevant to the development of the conversation • Annotative • – points of clarification, elaboration etc • Procedural • – talking about the process of collaboration itself

  19. Focus and breakdown • Alison is giving Brian directions, using a whiteboard • Alison: you go along this road until you get to the river • Brian: do you stop before the river or after you cross it? • Alison: before • Brian: draw the river in blue and the road in black • Alison: So, you turn right beside the river • Brian: past the pub • Alison: yeah … is there another black pen? This one is running dry. substantive annotative annotative procedural substantive substantive procedural NB: The final utterance is “procedural technical” and indicates that the system has become apparent to the participants

  20. Breakdown • Breakdown happens at all levels: • topic, indexicals, gesture • Breakdowns are frequent, but: • redundancy makes detection easy(Brian cannot interpret “they're the symbol of the English summer”) • people very good at repair(Brain and Alison quickly restore shared focus) • Electronic media may lose some redundancy= breakdown more severe

  21. breakdown • Alison: Isn’t that beautiful • Points to a large male deer (stag) standing next to a tree • Brian: the symmetry of the branches • He thinks she pointed to the tree • Alison: how some people can dislike them I cannot understand! • Brian: Yes – the park rangers should shoot all those damn deer before they kill the trees off for good! • Alison: (silence) • NOTE: Brians reference to symmetrical branches MAY have sounded to Alison like a reference to the stag’s antlers!

  22. Speech-Act Theory • A specific form of conversational analysis • Utterances characterised by what they do, they’re acts • e.g., “I'm hungry” • propositional meaning – hunger • intended effect – “get me some food” • Classic example: “I now pronounce you man & wife”

  23. Speech-Act Theory • Basic conversational acts (illocutionary points): • Promises • Requests • Declarations • Assertions • Counters • Reneges • Withdrawals

  24. Speech-Act Theory • Speech acts need not be spoken • e.g., silence often interpreted as acceptance

  25. Speech-Act Theory • Generic patterns of acts can be identified: • Conversation for action (CfA) • Seeks to obtain a specific request • Conversation for clarification (CfC) • Usually embedded in CfA - to clarify the requested action • Conversation for possibilities (CfP) • Looking towards future actions • Conversation for Orientation (CfO) • Building a shared understanding

  26. Conversations for action • Circles represent ‘states’ in the conversation • Arcs represent utterances (speech acts) • Simplest route 1-2-3-4-5: • Alison: have you got the market survey on chocolate? [request] • Brian: sure [promise] • Brian: there you are [assert] • Alison: thanks [declare] • More complex routes possible, e.g., 1-2-6-3 • Alison: have you got – [request] • Brian: I've only got the summary figures [counter] • Alison: that'll do [accept]

  27. Text based communication • Most common media for asynchronous groupware • exceptions: voice mail, answer phone • Familiar medium, similar to paper letters • but, electronic text may act as speech substitute!

  28. Text based communication • Types of electronic text: • Discrete: directed messages, no structure • Linear: messages added (in temporal order) • Non-Linear: hypertext linkages • Spatial: two dimensional arrangement

  29. Text based communication • Most obvious loss, no facial expression or body language • weak back-channels, so it is difficult to convey: • affective state - happy, sad, angry humorous • illocutionary force - urgent, important, deferential • Participants compensate by flaming and smilies ;-)

  30. Grounding constraints • Establishing common ground depends on grounding constraints • Co-Temporality: - instant feedthrough • Simultaneity: - speaking together • Sequence: - utterances ordered

  31. Grounding constraints • These constraints are often weaker in text based communication than in face-to-face conversation • e.g., loss of sequence in linear text:network delays or coarse granularity = overlap

  32. Grounding constraints • Bethan: how many should be in the group? • Rowena: maybe this could be one of the 4 strongest reasons • Rowena: please clarify what you mean • Bethan: I agree • Rowena: hang on • Rowena: Bethan what did you mean? • Message pairs 1&2 and 3&4 composed simultaneously • i.e., lack of common experience • Rowena: 2 1 3 4 5 6 • Bethan: 1 2 4 3 5 6 • Above shows breakdown of turn-takingresult of poor back channels

  33. Maintaining context • Recall context was essential for disambiguation • Text loses external context, hence deixis (cf: deictic)linking to shared objects can help • 1. Alison: Brian's got some lovely roses • 2. Brian: I'm afraid they're covered in green fly • 3. Clarise: I've seen them, they're beautiful • Both (2) and (3) are responses to (1) • but the transcript suggests green fly are beautiful • Hypertext can maintain ‘parallel’ conversations

  34. Pace and Granularity • Pace of conversation - the rate of turn taking • face-to-face - every few seconds • telephone - half a minute • email - hours or days • face-to-face conversation is highly interactive • If initial utterance is vague feedback gives cues for comprehension • lower pace = less feedback = less interactive

  35. Pace and Granularity • Coping strategies attempt to increase granularity: • eagerness - looking ahead in the conversation game • Brian: Like a cup of tea? Milk or lemon? • multiplexing - several topics in one utterance • Alison: No thanks. I love your roses.

  36. The Conversation Game • Conversation is like a game • Linear text follows one path through it • Participants choose the path by their utterances • Hypertext can follow several paths at once

  37. Group dynamics • Workgroups constantly change: • in structure • in size • Several groupware systems have explicit roles • But roles depend on context and time • e.g., M.D. down a mine is under the authority of the foreman • e.g., a General can be under a Private during an Int. Briefing • and may not reflect duties • e.g., subject of biography, author, but now writer

  38. Group dynamics • Social structure may change: democratic, autocratic,and group may fragment into sub-groups • Groupware systems rarely achieve this flexibility • Groups also change in composition • new members must be able to ‘catch up’

  39. Physical environment • Face-to-face working radically affected by layout of workplace • e.g., meeting rooms: • recessed terminals reduce visual impact • inward facing to encourage eye contact • different social-power positions • Traditional cognitive psychology is all in the head

  40. Physical environment • Distributed cognition suggests we look to the world • Thinking takes place in interaction with other people and the physical environment • Implications for group work: • importance of mediating representations • group knowledge greater than sum of parts • design focus on external representation

  41. What is CSCW? “…a generic term which combines the understanding of the way people work in groups with the enabling technologies of computer networking, and associated hardware, software, services and techniques.” (Wilson, 1991) • Any work that is being done between two or more individual where the collaborative nature of the work is supported by computer technology

  42. A Lesson in CSCW History • Paul Cashman and Irene Grief (1980s) • Workshop focusing on development of computer systems to support people in their work activities • A gathering of people from various disciplines • Shared an interest in how people work • Understand how technology could support people’s work

  43. A Lesson in CSCW History • The term "computer-supported cooperative work“ coined to describe this shared interest • First open CSCW conference in 1986 in Austin, Texas with 300 people attending • Began as an effort by technologists to learn from economists, social psychologists, anthropologists, organizational theorists, educators, and anyone else who could shed light on group activity

  44. Why CSCW? • Build tools that support better communication • E-mail, computer conferencing, voice messaging, Electronic Meeting Systems (EMS) • Build tools that support better sharing of work tasks, activities and processes • Remote file sharing, shared drawing and editing tools, shared whiteboards • Determine how to effectively build interfaces that support group communication and sharing • Study existing workgroup collaboration in order to determine how to best support it with technology

  45. CSCW Basics • Multidisciplinary • Software design, organisational behaviour, psychology, communication theory, anthropology, etc. • Key issues • Group awareness • Multi-user interfaces • Concurrency control • Group communication and coordination • Shared information space • Focus is on how groups work and how technology can help them work better • Field of study that deals with the design, adoption and use of groupware and issues surrounding the use of groupware

  46. Groupware • Groupware is a term for applications written to support the collaboration of several users. • Groupware can support different activities: • direct interpersonal communication • ideas generation and decision making • sharing computer objects. • It can be classified in several ways: • by where and when it happens • by the sort of information shared • by the aspects of cooperations supported • Implementing groupware is more difficult than single-user applications: • because of network delays • because there are so many components to go wrong • because graphical toolkits assume a single user

  47. Why Groupware? • Rethinking business processes and functions because • People no longer need to work in the same place - expertise • The cost of employee communication is significantly lowered • Getting the status of work in progress is easier

  48. Electronic Mail Supports the asynchronous communication of individuals Media Spaces Videoconferencing with computer added features Video switching to set up subgroups of meeting participants and add cooperative features to the video exchange Electronic Meetings Electronic meeting rooms Desktop video conferencing Electronic Whiteboards Newsgroups Chat Systems Electronic Calendar Management Systems Shared Calendar Systems Helps group members plan meetings and share availability information Shared calendar systems tell employees how busy someone is, who they are working with, what projects they are working on Worksharing Systems Work Monitoring Systems Decision Support Systems Workflow Systems Multi-player Games Types of Groupware

  49. NetMeeting E-mail

  50. CS Meeting Rooms

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