Models and Theories in Human-Computer Interaction/Easy to Collaborate but Difficult to Coordinate

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WikiBook: Easy to Collaborate but Difficult to Coordinate[edit]

In the field of HCI, computer-supported cooperative work (CSCW) is concerned with using technology to help a group of people interact and work towards a goal effectively. The WikiBook platform allows a collaborative group experience, but there are still obstacles that reduce transparency and deter true interactions.

In the reading from the Carroll textbook, he notes that distributed groups are usually not as effective as groups that work in the same location. One of the obstacles in working from geographically different locations is the difficulty in coordinating efforts. For example, more than one student has written about CSCW in relation to the WikiBook platform, but reading from one section to the next may not flow like a normal book would. Although this wasn’t part of the assignment, we all may have written a more well-rounded analysis of CSCW and WikiBooks if we had coordinated our topics—a task made more difficult in a distributed group.

Another area that suffers in distributed groups is motivation. Although seeing others’ WikiBook posts provides some motivation through social pressure, it still lacks the benefits of a synergistic experience. However, this is slightly outweighed with the lack of production blocking and the pool of ideas collected through the nominal, distributed group format. It is possible to collaborate and create a WikiBook from different geographic locations, but there are still factors that negatively impact transparency.