1) Read the article: “In Defense of Cheating” by Don Norman; accessible via: http://www.jnd.org/dn.mss/InDefenseOfCheating.html and comment on the following issue:

do you agree or disagree with Norman’s position? Why?

I totally agree with it. The experience of school is very seperated from the rest of the experience of life. I spent four years working in the IT industry and travelling, in between my AA degree, and attending CU to finish my BS. I can safely say that I have a different perspective than most on school. I came back to finish my degree with very specific things I wanted to learn (and corresponding things I wasn't very interested in learning).I've regularly had professors say "Oh, this policy is the way it is, because that's the way it is in the real world, and we want to teach you about the real world". Well, I was in the real world, and know that it isn't that way. Rarely are deadlines solid. If I hand something to a client 3 hours later than I said I would, the vast majority of the time, they don't even notice, let alone care. And when it doesn't matter, I know, and am able to adjust my schedule accordingly. Just because I handed something in 3 hours late to a professor, doesn't mean I learned any less. It just means it wasn't top on my list of priorities that day, or I just plain forgot.

Also, I think Norman brings up some interesting points regarding reference material and the internet and test taking. As we start to externalize more and more of our knowledge, in the form of electronic media and the internet, such that we no longer are required to have memorized large amounts of data, but rather, just have instant access to look that data up, it begs the question, how do we effectively build tests that measure someone's effectiveness in a particular field of knowledge? And what happens when we have better portable devices, which allow instant access to information from the internet from anywhere? Should I be allowed to take a test with that device? What if it's a wearable computer? If I always wear it, at what point does it effectively become part of my brain, and my knowledge? An effective "outboard brain", if you will.

how does his view relate to your own experience in your school, university, and working life (in case you have worked somewhere sometimes)?

See above.

2) Visit one of the following websites and explore it as a medium for collaboration



3) Briefly discuss for your chosen website:

what did you find interesting about it?

I chose http://www.experts-exchange. I've used it in the past, mostly as a search result for some google search for a particular niche piece of technical knowledge, most often the solution to an obscure problem or error message. I guess I don't really find it that impressive. There's _way_ too much advertisement, to the point that it's often hard to find the actual content amoung the ads. The only slightly novel piece about it, which seperates it from a standard message board, is that it allows "tagging" of a comment or set of comments as leading to a solution.

in which way is it related to “collaboration”?

It allows people to ask questions, and others to provide answers, in a message board style discussion.

how does it compare with the Swiki used for our class?

It's much more structured, and only allows communication/colloboration that fits into the dicussion format. This doesn't lend particularly well to the longterm capture of knowledge, as there's no way to distill/revise information as time goes on. Rather, discussions are "frozen" in a discussion format. A wiki allows reformation of information as needed, to best represent the data, by anyone who has access to the system.

4) which is your favorite website / system in support of collaboration (briefly justify your opinion)!

I really, really like wikis for small group collaboration. I've successfully used wikis as a collaborative space for software development groups, which huge success. Wikis tend to lend themselves to many different styles of communication, which are easily buildable and editable on the fly. They are successful because they are simple. There's little concept of forcing interaction to follow a particular format. If you want a bulletin board style discussion, build it. If you want a long document people can edit, so be it. If you a form people can fill out, do it.

5) have you ever read a book(s) / article(s) (or books) about collaboration? if yes:

choose the most important one

I'm going to ahve to go against the instructions slightly, and say that I've been following a series of blog conversations, the sum of which is one of the most important things I've read on collaboration recently. The conversation is about "folksonomies", and perhaps a good starting point is http://www.corante.com/many/archives/2004/08/25/folksonomy.php, though there's a lot of other great additions to the converstation on Many-to-Many and other blogs linked from there.

provide title and one paragraph what you found interesting about it!

The term folksonomy refers to socially create, typically flat namespaces, created for the purpose of describing collaborative content. This is just barely emerging onto the social software scene, in the form of sites such as http://del.icio.us (collaborative bookmarking), http://flickr.com (collaborative photos), and http://technorati.com (indexing of blogs). There is a huge amount of value coming out of folksonomies, to connect people and ideas, even across sites. However, there are lots of problems with them as well, particularly when compared to controlled vocabularies. For instance, there is no synonm control ("mac" and "macintosh" are both actively used tags on del.icio.us), and there's no hierarchy of tags (mac isn't a subset of computers). Also related is a general lack of precision because folksonomies tend to be simple, one word tags. Yet, they're very powerful, because they're simple. Anyone can create one, instantly. It doesn't matter if someone else has already used it or not, or will use it in the future.