HCI2010 – Carina Roels embarking on a Phd and teaching project management through e-learning

The 5th and last speaker of the morning for the Group Awareness Workshop was very interested in improving motivation for online learning.

Carina’s main interest has been in her teaching of project management. She clearly articulated how difficult it is for people, even in face to face situations, to understand what is project management. She has taught to a variety of people from technological and business backgrounds.

She delineated between group awareness, knowing who we work with and how, and larger community awareness, which is a different kind of awareness. Then she presented the question all clients and business ask, “is e-learning as good as face to face learning?” The answer is irrelevant, we will have to use online learning to educate efficiently and broadly. Sticking to face to face methods simply is not cost effective anymore. Her Phd will focus on looking at self and group motivation over multiple online cross-cultural project management courses.

Can’t wait to see what she comes up with in the next few years!

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HCI2010 – Virginie Demeure illustrates findings on students use of online learning time

What do you do online? Now think about what you do online while you are supposed to be working with your co workers or group partners? Do your fingers itch for google every 3 seconds? Do you check facebook every time you get stuck?

Now imagine trying to design around all that and get students and collaborators to work together AND keep focused.

This is what Virginie Demeure was talked about as the 4th speaker in the Group Awareness Workshop; including an analysis of students’ temporal patterns when they are learning collaboratively online.

She spoke of the differences between task dependent measures and task independent measure. Task dependent measures of work conducted online, include looking at how much work happens online in a space of time, or how many clicks are needed to accomplish a task, etc.  I am most interested in task independent measures, this is when learners will report their own perspective of how much time was used to conduct different kinds of work. This self reported student data is then see the log of what they actually do. That way they can check the students self-reporting accuracy, which is something we have been very interested in during the course of the Patterns of Play project, as we show players game log data visualizations to them and ask for their self reports on the patterns.

She talked in detail about the various mechanisms within the EURO-CAT tool used for monitoring the temporal patterns students self-report and the log data the team uses to compare to what students report. These consist of bars similar to the ones we see in project management Gantt charts and the collaborators slide the bars back and forth to indicate during which hours they are usually conducting certain activities. It is an OK way to do it for a prototype, but I can’t help wishing it could be more game-like still.

Virgine Demeure presents at HCI2010

HCI2010 – Margarida Romero talks on teamwork and group learning on computers

More from the Group Awareness Workshop:

Margarida Romero opened the third talk of the day by sparking a moment of what I call “epiphany under my nose” or in other words “of course.” She presented us with the idea of how teamwork can be strongly affected by how team mates perceive each other, online! In profiles people pick up on whether some one is smart but lazy of time constricted or if someone is not so brilliant but dedicated to the project. When people collaborate in real world environments, we can pick up on someone’s level of investment and commitment to the project using body language and other cues. When working in online collaborative environments people make these same value decisions about you based on your profile.

So be careful how you fill out those profiles.  Usually we have only fixated on these things when deciding to use facebook professionally, but Margarida continues on to describe three distinct task types and group dynamics which are created through a combination of the design of the collaborative task and the perceptions players form of each other from profiles”:

Individual Competitive – “this is about me working for myself on my own, my own knowledge will solve this task”

Complimentary – “we work in the same direction”

Cooperation – “we work together”

This was all interesting and good, but I still tend to think they use far too many surveys to assess the prototypes they are making. These laundry lists of ratings and time logs turn people off, and I know its just a research context, but why can’t the evaluation tools used to check the prototype be more game like them selves?

Margarida Romero at HCI2010

HCI2010 – Dr. Niki Lambropoulos Delivers Group Awareness Guidelines

Dr. Niki Lambropoulos
Dr. Niki Lambropoulos

Dr. Niki Lambropoulos, the organizer and 2nd speaker for the Group-Awareness in Online Work, Learning & Games Workshop, bamboozled me with so much information I don’t know where to dive into all the rich interesting things she presented.

First I learned two new acronyms from Dr. Niki. Why what acronyms you ask, well  CSCW? computer supported cooperative work and its partner CSCL? Computer-supported collaborative learning. She oulined how the foundations of all collaboartion are aligning goals, times, and activities. Niki brought up how the spectrum of working together is based on the 3 C’s –  communication coordination convergence, just like many of the design process focusing on iteration as well as divergent and convergent progression of the project. What this means is that people need to join in on one idea in the end to collaborate.

Dr. Niki put is simply, “we don’t know how to be together.” It is a tough job to get a learner learning and a group collaborating, she says “playing together requires effort and technique.” we need to have methods and tools to work effectively and efficiently online.  She mentioned how our social awareness changes online, that our presence and perception of being real in an online environment can change how we work together online.

Her final slide displayed it all quite succinctly:

“We are socio-cultural beings.”

– Get serious about collaboration

– Play, work, & learn together

– Learn the techniques

– Design the tools

– Make the effort to be together