Supporting Workspace Awareness in Distance Learning Environments: Issues and Experiences in the Development of a Collaborative Learning System
Contributor(s)The Pennsylvania State University CiteSeerX Archives
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AbstractIn recent years, we have witnessed an enormous growth in networks and related technologies. Course materials are increasingly published on web servers, and students are encouraged to access these at leisure. Distance learning via the WWW shifted the education paradigm from teacher-centered instruction to user-centered collaborative learning. Systems that allow users to learn collaboratively are increasingly interesting to scientific communities and learning organizations. We initially designed and prototyped a collaborative system to support collaborative learning over the Internet. A usability study of the first prototype revealed the importance of awareness information. Our review of three wellknown collaborative systems finds that such systems today also lack support for awareness information, especially workspace awareness. We then consider various types of awareness in collaborative learning situations and set out the design requirements of our system. From these requirements, we have designed and prototyped several awareness widgets for a typical collaborative tool: the shared electronic whiteboard. These widgets help learners maintain awareness of other learners&apos; interactions with the shared workspace.