Current trends in Computer Mediated Collaboration

© 2003 CDAC Mumbai (formerly NCST)

$Id: cmc-report.html,v 1.5 2003/10/28 06:08:59 philip Exp $

This report is a draft, pending edits.

Note: The original location of this document is http://www.ncst.ernet.in/vidyakash/reports/cmc-report.html and may have changed since this copy was made. I'm hosting it here because the NCST server appears to no longer exist.

  1. The Current Scenario
  2. Issues to address
  3. Future Directions
  4. Bibliography and Web Links
  5. References
  6. Contact Information

Webster defines collaboration as working jointly with others or together especially in an intellectual endeavour.

In an increasingly online world, it is necessary to have tools that allow online teams to work with each other in a productive manner. When dealing with Online Learning as well, students need to be able to work together and with a teacher to extract the most out of their course. A suitable replacement for regular student-teacher contact sessions and group discussions needs to be employed.

In this report, we shall have a look at some existing tools for collaboration, at the various features supported, standards, if any, and what the future holds in store for users of collaborative technology.

1. The Current Scenario

There already exist several online learning management systems like WebCT and Blackboard, that along with the content management modules, also offer some collaborative tools. Most of these are limited to discussion boards, white-boards and chat rooms.

The corporate world on the other hand has been using collaborative tools for several years to conduct business with non-local partners. Several groupware management suites have been developed to serve these needs. It is useful for the educational world to take a few tips from the corporate world.

1.1. Existing collaborative tools

We can classify collaborative tools into four broad categories based on the kind of collaboration that they facilitate.

No one tool can serve all the collaborative needs of a team. We must look at a combination of different classes of tools for effective collaboration [Cicognani & Maher, 1997].

1.1.1. Communication

Communication is the basic need for collaboration. If the members of a group cannot communicate with each other, then there is no group.

Traditionally, communication would happen as a meeting between all or some of the group members, or a phone call between two members. One member of the team would document the ideas brought out in these meetings (the minutes of the meeting) and distribute them to all members of the team.

Often, a team has a bulletin board (a physical board) that they use to pass asynchronous messages to each other. Leaving a message on another member's answering machine or a post-it note at their desk was also possible.

A computer based communication tool that replaces this must therefore provide

Additionally, this communication needs to be synchronous or asynchronous.

Asynchronous communication
tools include email, discussion boards and BBSes, mailing lists, Usenet, etc. Asynchronous communication is extremely important when groups are geographically distributed [Dufner et al., 1999].

Email: Email [RFC821; RFC2822] messages make up the bulk of all Internet based traffic. From a collaborative point of view, email is the primary mode of communication between faculty and students and groups of students. Email allows a faculty to respond at their own pace, but individual emails from a large number of students can get overwhelming.

Although many would consider email to be a poor man's tool for collaboration, it does have an important role to play [Goldberg, 2000].

Discussion Boards: Discussion Boards allow users to post messages in a shared area. The board may be public, or private to a group. All messages are visible to everyone, and anyone may respond to a message, although some boards may be moderated. Threads of discussion often ensue. The advantage for the faculty is that duplication of queries is reduced. There is also a chance that other knowledgeable students will respond, thereby reducing the load of the teacher. On the other hand, students with confidence problems may feel intimidated by the public nature of a discussion board, and stay away from it.

Many tools include discussion boards as part of the system. Examples include Discus, Squishdot, MyPHPBoard, OpenBulletinBoard, and integrated solutions like Moodle, Sourceforge.net, TUTOS.

Mailing Lists: A mailing list [RFC2919] is similar to a discussion board, except that access is via an email program rather than over the web. It is more convenient if one has easier access to email than to the web, but results in higher Internet traffic. Web based archives for mailing lists makes it easier to gain read-only access to messages. When posting, one must be mindful of Netiquette Guidelines [RFC1855]

The most popular mailing lists in use today are Mailman, Majordomo and LISTSERV.

Listserv http://www.lsoft.com/products/default.asp?item=listserv

Listserv is a commercial mailing list software, useful for Intranets, for setting up newsletter lists, discussion groups and direct marketing campaigns. There is also Listserv Lite from the same company.

Pricing information for lite is available on the website, while for Listserv, is available via phone from the company.

Mailman http://www.list.org/

Mailman is arguably the most popular mailing list manager in use on the Internet today. Many sites have converted from Majordomo to Mailman. Mailman is written in python, and uses pipermail for archiving. It is highly customisable, and users can choose to use their own templates and archiver.

Majordomo http://www.greatcircle.com/majordomo/

Majordomo has been around for a long time and has evolved over the years. It is written in perl and is highly customisable. Customising certain advanced features may be complicated, but this is being worked on.

Usenet: Usenet is a net-wide network of news servers based on NNTP [RFC977], each hosting several news and user groups. Messages are posted to and read from your local news server, while news servers communicate regularly to exchange messages [RFC1036] in bulk over the ether. The advantage of newsgroups is that the information is accessible from wherever you are. On the other hand, many news servers get flooded with spam, and come under the Usenet Death Penalty (UDP).

Google groups (http://groups.google.com/) provides one of the easiest web interfaces to Usenet

Google provides a web interface to most newsgroups. They have also archived and indexed all posts for several years. Google took over Dejanews and inherited their entire database.

Blogs: Although Blogs have been around for only five years, [Blood, 2000] they have already created a major impact on the web. Google has problems with indexing blog pages turning up several empty pages among the top results.

Blogs are used primarily to publish links to sites that one finds interesting, but many people also use them to publish their thoughts. As such, blogs could be well utilised in an online learning scenario, with experts on a topic posting their thoughts, and others commenting on them.

Blogger (http://www.blogger.com/) was one of the first publicly usable blogs. Updates are via the web interface. Requires no knowledge of HTML. Offers standard features including spell checking, archiving, post dating, etc.

Blosxom (http://www.blosxom.com/) is a lightweight weblog application. It's biggest plus point is how easy it is to extend blosxom with plugins. The main system is only 150 lines of code, and it has a large plugin library.

LiveJournal (http://www.livejournal.com/) A web based journalling system, users may get either a paid account, or must be invited by an existing user. Users can build communities. Additional features include a Friends page, where the latest stories from blogs on people in your friends list are included. Livejournal also has several clients that allow updating of a journal without using the web interface.

Movable Type (http://www.movabletype.org/ can be installed on your own site. Offers features like categorisation, and IP blocking.

Synchronous communication
tools include chat, instant messaging, whiteboards, MUDs, MOOs, etc. While chat and IM are simple user to user text communication, MUDs and MOOs create entire environments for users to participate in. Users may take on avatars to indicate their personalities.

Chat: There are many forms of Chat, IRC being the most common. Chat allows many users to communicate with each other in a single chat room. Conversations can get chaotic as the number of users increase.

IRC

Internet Relay Chat [RFC1459; RFC2810; RFC2811; RFC2812; RFC2813] is the most widespread chat protocol available on the Internet. It allows for the creation of chat rooms and for any number of users to participate in one or more rooms. Some Chat servers require registration. Popular chat servers are: Talkcity, openprojects, etc.

IM: Instant Messaging started in the early '80s with the Unix network talk program. In recent years, it has gained in popularity with companies like ICQ, AOL, Yahoo and Microsoft all providing their own IM protocols that vary widely. IM has created new means of socialising among groups [Nardi et al., 2000].

IMPP

Instant messaging presence protocol [RFC2778; RFC2779] is a draft (currently in RFC stage) for Instant Messaging. Most IM companies do not follow this standard.

Jabber http://www.jabber.org/

Jabber is an open XML protocol [Saint-Andre & Miller, 2003] for the real-time exchange of messages and presence between any two points on the Internet. The first application of Jabber technology is an asynchronous, extensible instant messaging platform, and an IM network that offers functionality similar to legacy IM systems such as AIM, ICQ, MSN, and Yahoo. Unlike the other protocols, the Jabber protocol is open and extensible. Additionally, the network is decentralised, with anyone allowed to host their own server. A server may be located internal to a local area network, making it ideal for private messaging applications.

MSN http://messenger.msn.com/

MSN messenger appears to be the most popular IM client around. This is possibly so because most people get an account with MSN messenger when they sign up for a hotmail account. Contrary to popular belief, it isn't necessary to have a hotmail account to get a MSN Messenger account. One only requires a valid MSN Passport.

The current version of the MSN IM protocol is closed, but there are unofficial guides [Mintz, 2002] about it.

Yahoo http://messenger.yahoo.com/

Along with MSN messenger, Yahoo seems to be the most popular IM tool around. Apart from the regular features, Yahoo also allows invisible login and messaging. Yahoo also has a chat interface with the Yahoo Chat servers. One needs to register a yahoo id to be able to use Yahoo messenger. Registering for a yahoo mail account automatically gives you a yahoo id.

The current version of the Yahoo Messenger protocol is closed, but there are unofficial documents [Mani, 2002; Tellis, 2002] about it.

MUDs and MOOs: A MUD (Multiple User Dungeon [MUD FAQ 1.1]) is a computer program, that users can log into and explore. Each user takes control of a computerised persona/avatar/incarnation/character. You can walk around, chat with other characters, explore dangerous monster-infested areas, solve puzzles, and even create your very own rooms, descriptions and items.

MOO (Multi-User Domain Object Oriented) is a computer program that allows multiple users to connect via the Internet to a shared database of rooms and other objects and interact with each other and the database in synchronous time.

Although MUDs and MOOs originated as games, their multi user nature lends them well for any kind of collaboration [Mehlenbacher et al., 1994] - one only needs to design the correct environment. Instead of monster-infested dungeons, one could design schools and colleges, with classrooms, canteens, corridors, and in fact, a complete virtual university. The use of MUDs in education is not new [Fanderclai, 1995], with work dating back to 1993.

It is easy to get lost in a MOO if one jumps right in, but useful guides [Holmevik & Haynes, 2000] and FAQs [MUD FAQ] exist to help the novice.

MUDs and MOOs are text based, but adding a 3D graphical shell around them could make use more intuitive [Prince et al., 2002].

MUDs and MOOs that we've reviewed are:

AIME http://aime.sourceforge.net/

The Advanced Interactive Mudding Environment is a text based MUD engine with and Object Oriented design, built in C++. It has some predefined environments and also a builder section where one can build ones own environments.

SMM++ Mud Client http://sourceforge.net/projects/smm/

SMM++ Mud Client is a graphical Mud Client with a text interface and mapping capabilities. While navigation through the mud is done through textual commands, like in all other MUDs, the graphical interface does display a map of the entire environment to make navigation easier.

1.1.2. Information Sharing (document sharing, whiteboards, etc.)

Document Sharing: Document sharing tools allow multiple people to see and sometimes, edit the same documents. One has the option of either placing your documents in a publicly viewable location, e.g., your website, where others can view them, or in a publicly editable location. Wikis may be used for shared document editing.

Whiteboards: A whiteboard is a drawing area that can be shared across the network. Participants in the whiteboard meeting can all view and make changes to the drawing - depending on permissions.

Many integrated tools include whiteboards as part of their collaborative suites. See the section on integrated systems for more of these. Among specific whiteboard applications are:

Babylon (http://www.visopsys.org/andy/babylon/) provides a simple whiteboard and chat interface. Written in Java, it has a separate client and server. It may be deployed on a local network. The client may also be run as a Java applet embedded in your browser window.

Coccinella (http://hem.fyristorg.com/matben/) adds whiteboard functionality to Jabber. The whiteboard is a shared desktop, that supports text, drawings, images and multimedia. Additional formats can be added through plugins. Coccinella is written in Tcl/Tk.

DrawBoard (http://drawboard.sourceforge.net/) is a java applet used to make graphical teleconferences, much like Microsoft Netmeeting.

1.1.3. Co-Development (CVS, wiki, etc.)

CVS: is a document versioning system usable by multiple users simultaneously. It allows several persons to work on the same code base, automatically resolving conflicts in edits. A good logging mechanism allows developers to browse through the version history of any document in the system.

Microsoft provides a similar product called Visual SourceSafe.

Wiki: The WikiWikiWeb (http://c2.com/cgi/wiki/) is a place where anyone may edit a document online. Anyone may create, edit or delete a document. The advantages of Wikis are that the collective knowledge of many experts may be harnessed. On the negative side however, there is no security, which means pranksters can also do anything.

Wiki has been extremely successful, and there's even an encyclopaedia [Wikipedia] developed internationally using Wiki.

1.1.4. Integrated systems (Groupware)

Group support systems and groupware tools can help in the management of an online course and provide an integrated approach to collaboration. While research findings regarding the impacts of GSS on learning performance are somewhat mixed, early indications are encouraging and suggest that GSS may have a positive impact under certain situations [Tyran & Sheperd, 2001].

Following are some of the integrated systems studied:

Amphora Light http://www.amphora.ee/freeware/

Amphora Light is an open-source Web-based groupware server written in Python and Zope. It offers basic office functionality: document sharing, calendars, tasks, contacts, discussion, internet databases and Web email in the context of a hierarchical organisation and flexible access rights.

BioCoRE http://www.ks.uiuc.edu/Research/biocore/

BioCoRE is a collaborative work environment for biomedical research, research management, and training. It offers scientists (working together or alone) a seamless interface to a broad range of local and remote technologies such as discipline-specific and general tools, data, and visualisation solutions. It features powerful yet easy-to-use tools, among them co-authoring papers and other documents, running applications on supercomputers, sharing molecular visualisation over the Internet, notifying project team members of recent project changes by email, chatting, keeping a lab book, and other practical features.

Group Office http://group-office.sourceforge.net/

Group office is an easy to use group ware suite, with a very clean user interface. Offers standard features of multiple users, sharing files, scheduling, etc.

Moodle http://www.moodle.org/

Moodle aims to be a complete LMS. It provides users with communication tools, including discussion boards that can be made part of a course.

Netmeeting http://www.microsoft.com/windows/netmeeting/default.asp

Microsoft Netmeeting is a real time collaboration and conferencing client. It delivers a complete Internet conferencing solution for all Windows users with multi-point data conferencing, text chat, whiteboard, and file transfer, as well as point-to-point audio and video. For Unix users, a compatible client called GnomeMeeting exists.

OpenGroupware http://opengroupware.org/

OpenGroupware is touted as the missing link in the OpenOffice suite. It offers all standard group management options, including integration with Microsoft Outlook, Ximian Evolution, Mozilla Calendar, Apple iCal and KDE KOrganiser. Ease of installation varies from very easy (on Debian) to cumbersome (on RedHat).

Sourceforge http://sourceforge.net/

The Sourceforge site creates a collaborative development network. It includes tools for communication - discussion forums and mailing lists, for document sharing - documentation, patch, news submission, workflow management - tracker, collaborative development - cvs, as well as email and website space.

See also: http://savannah.gnu.org/

TUTOS http://www.tutos.org/

The ultimate team organisation software is a groupware management system. It provides users with collaborative tools, as well as customer relationship management tools. An interesting feature included in TUTOS is support for teams distributed over various timezones.

1.2. When to use what

Given the different types of collaborative tools available, how does one decide which ones should be used, and when? No one tool can provide all the collaborative needs of a team [Graveline et al., 2000]. Depending on the situation, different tools need to be used.

1.2.1. Place-time paradigm

Collaboration tools may be classified by the place-time paradigm [Johansen, 1988]. The classification is as follows:

1. Place-time paradigm
  TIME
SAME DIFFERENT
P
L
A
C
E
S
A
M
E
  • Electronic meeting systems
  • Electronic meeting systems
  • Email
  • Shared files
  • Electronic bulletin boards
  • Discussion databases
  • Workflow systems
  • Group calendaring
D
I
F
F
E
R
E
N
T
  • Video teleconferencing
  • Shared whiteboards
  • Text chat
  • Shared applications
  • Email
  • Shared files
  • Electronic bulletin boards
  • Discussion databases
  • Workflow systems
  • Group calendaring

2. Issues to address

2.1. Elements of successful collaboration

There are 10 key elements [Hall, 1999] that influence the effectiveness of collaboration between teams. These apply regardless of whether the collaboration is computer mediated or face to face. These elements were outlined for the Intelligence Community, and reflects the current scenario in corporate adoption of groupware tools. The academic community, while already ahead in the social aspects of adoption, can use these guidelines to choose which groupware tools will offer the most benefit.

Culture of sharing. For collaboration to succeed, all collaborators must be willing to share ideas with the rest of the team.

Common goal. The virtual team must have a common goal on which to focus. Milestones can be met while targeting this goal. All motivation is directed towards achieving the goal.

Process and workflow. The employment of a groupware solution must be driven by business process and workflow, and not the other way around. Find a tool to meet a need.

Trust. A virtual team can only succeed if the members trust each other to provide reliable information, and proceed according to established protocol for the team.

Rules of engagement. Rules about how and when groupware systems are going to be used need to be laid out and adhered to. These need to take into account the comfort levels of all team members with using these systems.

Mutual benefit. To become popular amongst users, a groupware tool must hold a perceived benefit for the user that exceeds the effort needed to maintain it. For example, calendaring systems have to be beneficial to the persons who maintain the calendar, and not just their managers.

Management support. Management must be willing to communicate the need for groupware management systems. Resources need to be committed and successes need to be acknowledged.

Team rewards. Recognition and rewards have to be made to teams and not to individuals. Emphasis must be on teamwork rather than specialised knowledge, information sharing rather than individual performance, co ordination rather than restricted access to information.

Training. Most users shy away from new tools because of lack of training. By providing useful training, adoption of groupware can be increased.

Critical mass. Finally, a tool becomes self sustaining only once it reaches critical mass. After a certain number of users start to use it, others will join in on their own. It is important to encourage adoption until this critical mass is achieved.

2.2. Issues for teachers

In CMC, a teacher's role is primarily as a facilitator and a moderator. While teachers may participate in discussions, these are generally at predefined times. Most discussions will take place between students. A teacher must take the role of guiding students especially less able students [Berge & Collins, 1995b], moderating discussions, and establishing accepted use guidelines [Lai, 1995].

There may be cases of shy/introverted students, students who lack self confidence. It is the teacher's role to encourage these students to participate in discussions.

CMC allows learners the freedom to explore alternative pathways-to find and develop their own style of learning [Berge & Collins, 1995c]. How do teachers cope with these alternative pathways and changes in the use of technology to facilitate learning?

2.3. Issues for students

Students need to be aware of Netiquette Guidelines [RFC1855] before participating in Usenet groups, Mailing lists, or Interactive Chat sessions. The guidelines list several issues and how to deal with them. In particular, students need to mindful of the fact that without facial expressions and vocal tone, it is hard to determine a person's mood while they type a message. The use of emoticons can help here.

CMC promotes self-discipline and requires students to take more responsibility for their own learning [Berge & Collins, 1995a]. Very often, a student, or a group of students will have to interact with each other without the presence of the teacher. The teacher may simply provide access to learning materials, but it is the student who has the responsibility of making use of it.

2.4. Technical issues

The tools used will depend on the available technology. Asynchronous textual communication can take place over even slow links. Real time communication may require slightly faster links. Voice and Video require high bandwidth and may not be present in all places [McDaniel, 1996].

For a technology to gain widespread use, it must be affordable by its general users [Berge & Collins, 1995c]. Other social issues can be tackled after the user has primary access.

2.5. Issues for designers of tools

As a designer of a CMC tool, one must keep in mind the final usefulness to the users of a system. CMC is a largely human oriented discipline, which leads to several hard to solve problems. We have a lot to learn from the areas of Computer-Human Interaction, and Psychology of users. One does need to understand the personality of ones users. Different kinds of people react differently to the same stimuli [Mishra, 2002]. How does one build a system to satisfy everyone?

If people do not use, or only occasionally use a tool, then the usefulness of the tool is questionable [McDaniel, 1996]. It is likely that users will choose other means of communication - like a telephone - to exchange information about each other. A computer based tool must be able to replace the usefulness and convenience of a similar non computer based tool in widespread use.

While it is the responsibility of a teacher or moderator to direct a discussion, intelligent CMC environments can aid in this task. Guidelines and recommendations of educational researchers can be automated [Kreijns et al., 2002].

2.6. Social Issues

CMC deals extensively with Humans, and social interactions [Kreijns et al., 2002] between users are a primary issue when designing and using these tools. Social issues can loosely be classified into the following four, possibly overlapping criteria. These will include issues for students, teachers and designers alike.

Accessibility issues: Persons with disabilities, physical impairment, disfigurement, or speech impediments, which hinder their equal participation in face-to-face encounters, do not face the same problems in an online environment. CMC promotes an equalisation of users [Berge & Collins, 1995a] which breaks through these barriers. It is however important that any tools developed follow accessibility guidelines [WCAG; US508] specified by various standardisation bodies.

Cross-cultural issues: CMC promotes collaboration between geographically and culturally diverse groups. It is important to remember that certain language constructs in one part of the world could have very different meanings in other parts of the world. Identifying what each of these are is seldom possible for new comers. In general, users must keep a cool head, and get things clarified when in doubt. It is a common practice in several companies to have a standard list of unused words [Medley et al., 1998]. It must also be ensured that persons making up the majority of a group do not pick on minorities. Judicious use of smileys/emoticons can help ease tensions and provide visual cues that are taken for granted in face-to-face communication.

Ethical issues: Whenever information is published on the Internet, several ethical issues come up. As long as the group that publishes the information is controlled, it may be possible to adhere to set guidelines. In CMC, the users of the system are often untrained students. The possibility of copyrighted materials being published exists and must be dealt with. Copyright law is complicated and beyond the scope of this report, but papers that explain the subject well [Medley et al., 1998] may be referred to.

Privacy issues: With centralised collaboration services, the issue of protection of a user's data becomes important. Users need to be able to trust that the systems they use are safe and will protect their data from unauthorised access [Godefroid et al., 2000]. There is no worse deterrent for the adoption of a technology than the general perception that it invades the user's privacy.

3. Future Directions

Integration of Synchronous with Asynchronous: The future of collaborative tools will see an integration of the synchronous with the asynchronous. Online, synchronous, meetings may be carried on at a later date using asynchronous tools. Whiteboard sessions may be recorded and played back, synchronised with any textual/audio conversation that may have taken place at the time.

Some work is currently on to integrate instant messaging tools with mailing lists. An online meeting will be logged, and the log mailed to the mailing list. Further meetings may refer to a thread in the mailing list.

3D Gaming Engines: may also be used as a collaborative medium. Current engines like the ones from Quake (http://www.planetquake.com/), and Unreal (http://www.planetunreal.com) allow a user to redefine the worlds in which the game is played. These may be used to develop complete virtual universities with intuitive and interactive graphical user interfaces.

These gaming engines have already been used in educational applications, relating to interior design, architecture and modelling [DeLeon, 1999; Mindek, 2002], and have the potential to expand into other areas of education too.

Research is currently underway to study the social and communicative aspects of game play [Manninen, 2002] and collaborative browsing [Setten & Moelaert-El Hadidy]

Intelligent CMCL: Research into Intelligent Computer Mediated Collaborative Learning environments is still in its early stages. Systems that can support the moderator by automating guidelines and recommendations can prove extremely useful. Additionally, evaluating a student based on participation in the online classroom is also something that would be worth automating.

4. Bibliography and Web Links

4.1. Books

How to Make Collaboration Work: Powerful Ways to Build Consensus, Solve Problems, and Make Decisions
David Straus, Publisher: Berrett-Koehler Pub; (September 2002), 250 pp.
This book deals with collaboration in general, it is not specific to computer mediated collaboration. It does however touch on several points that are important to any form of group collaboration.

MOOniversity: A Student's Guide to Online Learning Environments
Jan Rune Holmevik & Cynthia Haynes, Publisher: Longman; (December 1999), 170 pp
This is the first and only textbook that gives a comprehensive overview of educational MOOs. A combination text, tutorial, and reference book, this convenient resource guides students through the exciting and challenging world of synchronous Internet writing and learning environments.

A review of this book appeared in Vidyakash News Vol. 2 No. 1.
http://www.ncst.ernet.in/vidyakash/newsletter/1/2/review.shtml

4.2. Comparisons and studies

MAINS Associates: Collaborative Tools
http://www.mainsgate.com/collab.html
MAINS Associates has some case studies on collaborations between teams, and have also developed tools.

Putting courses online: Theory and Practice
http://www.ils.unc.edu/disted/cmi/final2.html
Mark Koyanagi lists some of the usage of computer mediated collaboration that he has experienced and that is in use at UNC.

Super brain
http://www.dsv.su.se/jpalme/DSV-CMC-Home-page.html
Super brain at Stockholm University, Sweden, has studies on various CMC systems, why people use them, and listings of software.

TERENA
http://www.hgmp.mrc.ac.uk/Documentation/gnrt/group/
TERENA has a guide to network resource tools. Amongst these are collaboration and communication tools, including descriptions and links to some existing software.

See also: RFC1580/FYI23

WebMonkey: The Weblog Tool Roundup
http://hotwired.lycos.com/webmonkey/02/18/index3a.html
Joshua Allen has reviewed several weblogging tools covering their plus and minus points, and their relevance to the average user. The review is published on WebMonkey and includes links to all products reviewed, and a few that were not.

UMUC
http://www.umuc.edu/virtualteaching/module1/async.html
The University of Maryland and University College has put up a virtual resource site for teaching with technology. Many of the tools required for online courses are explained here, and their hardware and software requirements are listed. Among the resources include explanations of Synchronous and Asynchronous communication tools.

4.3. Journals and Magazines

Chief Information Officer Magazine: Collaborative Tools
http://www.cio.com/research/current/tools/
CIO Magazine looks at Collaborative tools from the corporate point of view. It also has relevance to academia. There are references to other articles on this page.

Chief Learning Officer Magazine
http://www.clomedia.com/default.asp
While this magazine deals primarily with E-Learning, it does often carry articles on computer mediated collaboration tools and techniques.

Computer-Mediated Communication Magazine
http://www.december.com/cmc/mag/
This magazine provides excellent articles on the use of computer mediated communication in education. It contains online back-issues from 1994.

Computer Supported Cooperative Work (CSCW)
http://www.kluweronline.com/issn/0925-9724
The Journal of Collaborative Computing is a quarterly on computer mediated collaboration. Back issues till 1995 are available online. Issues 3 and 4 from 2001 are available without subscription.

Education and Information Technologies
http://www.kluweronline.com/issn/1360-2357
The Official Journal of the IFIP Technical Committee on Education is a quarterly journal on education. It contains very good articles and book reviews. The March 2002 issue is available online without subscription.

4.4. LMS

Communication Tools provided by Blackboard
http://www.utexas.edu/cc/blackboard/tutorials/student/communication.html
Blackboard provides students with access to email, discussion boards and what they call a virtual classroom. The virtual classroom includes chat, whiteboards and a Q&A area. They also provide group areas where each project group can create private shared data. Other features include student roster and student web pages

Communication Tools provided by WebCT
http://help.webct.com/files/student_tour_3/comm_tools.html
WebCT provides students with access to chat, discussion boards, email and whiteboards. These tools work separately and are not integrated with each other. While the whiteboards allow you saving of images, chat logs are not saved for future reference.

4.5. Tool listings

Network World: Collaborative tools resources
http://www.nwfusion.com/careers/2001/0924manside.html
This site provides a list of collaborative tools for use by virtual teams.

Web Enable: Collaborative Tools for the next millennium
http://www.web-enable.com/technology/collaborativecomputing.asp
This site provides a list along with features of several collaborative tools.

WebMonkey: The Weblog Tool Roundup
http://hotwired.lycos.com/webmonkey/02/18/index3a.html
Joshua Allen has reviewed several weblogging tools covering their plus and minus points, and their relevance to the average user. The review is published on WebMonkey and includes links to all products reviewed, and a few that were not.

5. References

Berge & Collins, 1995a

Berge, Z. L. and Collins, M. P. (Eds.), Computer-Mediated Communication and the Online Classroom, Vol. 1, Hampton Press, New Jersey, 1995

Berge & Collins, 1995b

Berge, Z. L. and Collins, M. P. (Eds.), Computer-Mediated Communication and the Online Classroom, Vol. 2, Hampton Press, New Jersey, 1995

Berge & Collins, 1995c

Berge, Z. L. and Collins, M. P. (Eds.), Computer-Mediated Communication and the Online Classroom, Vol. 3, Hampton Press, New Jersey, 1995

Blood, 2000

Blood, Rebecca, Weblogs: A History and Perspective, September 2000
http://www.rebeccablood.net/essays/weblog_history.html

Cicognani & Maher, 1997

Cicognani, Anna & Maher, Mary Lou, Models of Collaboration for Designers in a Computer-Supported Environment, Third International IFIP WG5.2, Workshop on Formal Aspects of Collaborative CAD, Conference Proceedings, IFIP, KCDC, pp. 99-108, 16-19 February 1997.

Available online at http://www.arch.usyd.edu.au/~anna/papers/ifip97a.html

DeLeon, 1999

DeLeon, Victor J., VRND: Notre-Dame Cathedral - A Globally Accessible Multi-User Real-Time Virtual Reconstruction, Proceedings of 5th International Conference on Virtual Systems and Multimedia, 1999, VSMM Society, 1, pp. 484-491.

Dufner et al., 1999

Dufner et al., Web-CCAT: a collaborative learning environment for geographically distributed information technology students and working professionals, Communications of the AIS, Vol. 1 No 3es, March 1999

Fanderclai, 1995

Fanderclai, Tari Lin, MUDs in Education: New Environments, New Pedagogies, Computer-Mediated Communication Magazine, Vol. 2 No. 1, pp 8, January 1995

Godefroid et al., 2000

Godefroid, P. et al., Ensuring privacy in presence awareness: an automated verification approach, Proceedings of the 2000 ACM conference on Computer supported cooperative work, pp. 59-68, December 2000

Goldberg, 2000

Goldberg, M., Synchronous vs Asynchronous: Some thoughts, OTL Newsletter (Online), August 29, 2000
http://booboo.webct.com/otln/murray.htm

Goldberg, 2001

Goldberg, M., The Asynchronous Spectrum, OTL Newsletter (Online), January 31, 2001
http://webct.com/esl/ViewContent?contentID=2339758

Graveline et al., 2000

Graveline, A., Geisler, C. & Danchak, M., Teaming together apart: emergent patterns of media use in collaboration at a distance, Proceedings of IEEE professional communication society international professional communication conference and Proceedings of the 18th annual ACM international conference on Computer documentation: technology & teamwork, 2000

Two teams working at a distance to complete a software specifications project were observed using a mix of email, web archiving, synchronous chat, and applications sharing. Extending Media Richness Theory, the multiplicity of communication situations these teams faced in terms of group management, interpersonal work, task work, and tools/media issues is described.

Hall, 1999

Tamara Hall, PhD, Intelligence Community Collaboration - Baseline Study - Final Report, December 1999
http://collaboration.mitre.org/prail/IC_Collaboration_Baseline_Study_Final_Report/toc.htm

Holmevik & Haynes, 2000

Holmevik, Jan Rune & Haynes, Cynthia, MOOniversity: A Student's Guide to Online Learning Environments, Allyn and Bacon, 2000

A review of this book appeared in Vidyakash News Vol. 2 No. 1.
http://www.ncst.ernet.in/vidyakash/newsletter/1/2/review.shtml

Johansen, 1988

Johansen, R., Groupware: Computer support for business teams. New York: The Free Press, 1998.

Kreijns et al., 2002

Kreijns, K., Kirshner, P. A. & Jochems W., The Sociability of Computer-Supported Collaborative Learning Environments, Journal of International Forum of Educational Technology & Society & IEEE Learning Technology Task Force, Vol. 5 No. 1, January 2002.

Available online at http://ifets.ieee.org/periodical/vol_1_2002/kreijns.html

Lai, 1998

Lai, Kwok-Wing, Computer-mediated communication for teenage students: a content analysis of a student messaging system, Education and Information Technologies, Vol. 2 No. 1, pp. 31-45, 1998.

Mani, 2002

Mani, Venkat, Yahoo Messenger Protocol (ver 9) (Online), http://www.venkydude.com/articles/yahoo.htm, 2002

Manninen, 2002

Manninen, T., Towards Communicative, Collaborative and Constructive Multi-player Games, In Proceedings of Computer Games and Digital Cultures Conference. June 7-8, 2002, Tampere, Finland. Tampere University Press, pp. 155-169.

McDaniel, 1996

McDaniel, Susan E., Providing Awareness Information to Support Transitions in Remote Computer-Mediated Collaboration, ACM CHI96, 13-18 April 1996.

Medley et al., 1998

Medley, M. Dee, Rutherfoord, Rebecca H., Anderson, G. Ernest, Roth, R. Waldo & Varden, Stuart A., Ethical issues related to Internet development and research, ACM SIGCSE Bulletin, Vol. 30 No. 4, December 1998, pp 61-76.

Mehlenbacher et al., 1994

Mehlenbacher, B., Hardin, B., Barrett, C. & Clagett, J., Multi-user domains and virtual campuses: implications for computer-mediated collaboration and technical communication, Proceedings of the 12th annual international conference on Systems documentation: technical communications at the great divide, pp. 213-219, 1994

This paper represents an Internet tool that has the potential to increase collaboration among professional technical communicators, and describes an electronic tool built at NCSU called the TechComm-VC (Virtual Campus), a Multi-User Domain, or MUD.

Mindek, 2002

Mindek, Eric, Educational models in the Quake gaming engine, Thesis Project (Online), The Advanced Computing Center for the Arts and Design, Ohio State University, 2002.
http://www.accad.ohio-state.edu/research/research_restaurant.htm

Mintz, 2002

Mintz, Mike, MSN Instant Messenger Protocol - Draft 2 (Online), http://www.hypothetic.org/docs/msn/index.php, April 2002

Mishra, 2002

Mishra, Punya, P3-DOC: Psychological and Pedagogical Principles for Designing Online Courseware (Online Presentation), Vidyakash 2002, December 2002.
http://www.ncst.ernet.in/vidyakash2002/speakers/20021217-punya.ppt

MUD FAQ, MUD FAQ 1.1

Smith, Jennifer & Cowan, Andrew, The MUD Faq (Online), http://www.mudconnect.com/mudfaq/, 1996-1999

See Also http://www.mudconnect.com/mudfaq/mudfaq-p1.html#q1 for why the D in MUD stands for Dungeon.

Nardi et al., 2000

Nardi, B. A. et al., Interaction and outeraction: instant messaging in action, Proceedings of the 2000 ACM conference on Computer Supported Cooperative Work, pp. 79-88, 2000

Prince et al., 2002

Prince et al., 3-D live: real time interaction for mixed reality, Proceedings of the 2002 ACM conference on Computer supported cooperative work, 2002

RFC821

Postel, Jonathan B., Simple Mail Transfer Protocol, RFC 821 (Online), http://www.rfc-editor.org/rfc/rfc821.txt, August 1982.

RFC977

Kantor, Brian & Lapsley, Phil, Network News Transfer Protocol, RFC 977 (Online), http://www.rfc-editor.org/rfc/rfc977.txt, February 1986.

RFC1036

Horton, M., Standard for Interchange of USENET Messages, RFC 1036 (Online), http://www.rfc-editor.org/rfc/rfc1036.txt, December 1987.

RFC1459

Oikarinen, J. & Reed, D., Internet Relay Chat Protocol, RFC 1459 (Online), http://www.rfc-editor.org/rfc/rfc1459.txt, May 1993.

RFC1580

EARN Staff (?), Guide to Network Resource Tools, RFC 1580 (Online), http://www.rfc-editor.org/rfc/rfc1580.txt, March 1994.

RFC1855

Hambridge, S., Netiquette Guidelines, RFC 1855 (Online), http://www.rfc-editor.org/rfc/rfc1855.txt, October 1995.

RFC2778

Day, M., Rosenberg, J. & Sugano, H., A Model for Presence and Instant Messaging, RFC 2778 (Online), http://www.rfc-editor.org/rfc/rfc2778.txt, February 2000.

RFC2779

Day, M., Aggarwal, S., Mohr, G. & Vincent, J., Instant Messaging / Presence Protocol Requirements, RFC 2779 (Online), http://www.rfc-editor.org/rfc/rfc2779.txt, February 2000.

RFC2810

Kalt, C., Internet Relay Chat: Architecture, RFC 2810 (Online), http://www.rfc-editor.org/rfc/rfc2810.txt, February 2000.

RFC2811

Kalt, C., Internet Relay Chat: Channel Management, RFC 2811 (Online), http://www.rfc-editor.org/rfc/rfc2811.txt, April 2000.

RFC2812

Kalt, C., Internet Relay Chat: Client Protocol, RFC 2812 (Online), http://www.rfc-editor.org/rfc/rfc2812.txt, April 2000.

RFC2813

Kalt, C., Internet Relay Chat: Server Protocol, RFC 2813 (Online), http://www.rfc-editor.org/rfc/rfc2813.txt, April 2000.

RFC2822

Resnick, P. (Ed.), Internet Message Format, RFC 2822 (Online), http://www.rfc-editor.org/rfc/rfc2822.txt, April 2001.

RFC2919

Chandhok, R. & Wenger, G., List-Id: A Structured Field and Namespace for the Identification of Mailing Lists, RFC 2919 (Online), http://www.rfc-editor.org/rfc/rfc2919.txt, March 2001.

Saint-Andre & Miller, 2003

Saint-Andre, P. & Miller, J., XMPP Instant Messaging, Internet Draft, draft-ietf-xmpp-im-05, http://www.ietf.org/internet-drafts/draft-ietf-xmpp-im-05.txt, March 2003

Setten & Moelaert-El Hadidy

Setten, Mark van & Moelaert-El Hadidy, Ferial, Collaborative Search and Retrieval: Finding Information Together (Online),
https://doc.telin.nl/dscgi/ds.py/Get/File-8269/GigaCE-Collaborative_Search_and_Retrieval__Finding_Information_Together.pdf

Tellis, 2002

Tellis, Philip, Yahoo Messenger Protocol v 9 (Online), http://libyahoo2.sourceforge.net/ymsg-9.txt, November 2002

Tyran & Sheperd, 2001

Tyran, C. K. & Sheperd, M., Collaborative Technology in the Classroom: A Review of the GSS Research and a Research Framework, Information Technology and Management, Vol. 2 No. 4, 2001

US508

Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act (29 U.S.C. 794d), as amended by the Workforce Investment Act of 1998 (P.L. 105-220), August 7, 1998
http://www.usdoj.gov/crt/508/508law.html http://www.section508.gov/content/learn/laws-and-policies

Warschauer, 1997

Warschauer, M., Computer-mediated collaborative learning: Theory and practice. Modern Language Journal, 81(3), p. 470-481, 1997.

WCAG

Chisholm, W., Vanderheiden, G. & Jacobs, I. (Eds.), Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 1.0, W3C Recommendation 5-May-1999,
http://www.w3.org/TR/WAI-WEBCONTENT/

WikiPedia

WikiPedia
http://www.wikipedia.org/

Wikipedia is a multilingual project to create a complete and accurate open content encyclopaedia. The idea is that if you are an expert in a particular field, then you're probably the best person to write about that field.

6. Contact Information

Report by Philip S Tellis, Staff Scientist, ETU Division, NCST, Juhu
Email: philip@ncst.ernet.in philip@bluesmoon.info
Phone: 26201606 ext 372

This report is part of the Vidyakash Project.