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Homework #3 – Jodi Kiefer

Read the following article:

Arias, E. G., Eden, H., Fischer, G., Gorman, A., & Scharff, E. (2000) "Transcending the Individual Human Mind—Creating Shared Understanding through Collaborative Design," ACM Transactions on Computer Human-Interaction, 7(1), pp. 84-113.

More Information about the Envisionment and Discovery Collaboratory (EDC) can be found at:

Briefly discuss the following issues for the paper that you have read:

1. what did you find

1.1. interesting about the article?

I liked the idea of the EDC system. The use of figures to help explain the system was very useful and helpful in grasping and understanding the idea.

1.2. not interesting about the article?

As with any research area in which one is not particularly familiar with, I did not identify with some of the references to past work.

2. what do you consider the main message of the article?

The future of Human-Computer Interaction faces many challenges in developing open systems in which collaborative design and learning of complex problems can take place. The Envisionment and Discovery Collaboratory is presented as a possible HCI solution that deals with shared understanding and informed participation of its users which is capable of changing and evolving as learning occurs. This article stressed the need for collaboration among many to develop solutions to complex problems as individual knowledge is shared and reflected upon amongst the stakeholders.

3. are themes discussed in the article which you would like to know more about?

I would like to learn more about contextualizing information for learning on demand. I think it would be interesting to also learn about the various types of externalizations that have been shown to extend one’s cognitive abilities.

4. what did you find interesting about the “EDC” system?

What I found to be the most interesting aspect of the EDC system was the ability for the users to interact with the objects directly on the 3-d space which are then linked to computational representations. These representations along with the domain knowledge of the system then help the users evaluate different scenarios and possible solutions. This capability allows the users to take brainstorming ideas one step further with the ability to evaluate the feasibility of options.

5. do you know of other papers, ideas, and systems which are closely related to the article and the “EDC” system?

The EDC system reminds me of a real-life version of the simulation game SimCity in which players act as a mayor in the building and maintaining of a city.

6. what do the article and the associated system say about

6.1. design

Design is a complex issue in which revolves around the issue of understanding a problem. It is a evolving and continually process which encourages the ideas of open systems.

6.2. learning

Learning is the result of active participation in an activity and is a prevalent process during collaboration efforts with others in which participants teach and instruct each other.

6.3. collaboration

Collaboration is a crucial part in solving complex problems as one individual does not possess enough information alone to arrive at a solution. Collaboration involves the sharing and learning of knowledge amongst a group which is then combined to derive potential design solutions to complex issues.

6.4. innovative media to support these activities?

This article talks about the need for externalizations to help support collaborative design. The EDC presented is actually a form of an externalization.

7. do you have any ideas how this research could / should be extended (based on your own knowledge and experience)?

This idea of the EDC would be great to implement in classrooms and in particular, in group work settings. This hand-on approach would allow students (ranging from grade school to university level) to play out different solutions to problems to ultimately finding the best compromising solution. I think it would greatly help in developing team working skills and experience.

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