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Collaboration awareness tool for CSCL users (Euro-CAT-CSCL)

Periodic Report Summary - EURO-CAT-CSCL (Collaboration awareness tool for CSCL users)

EURO-CAT-CSCL is a joint research project aiming to advance research knowledge in computer supported collaborative learning (CSCL). The joint research project wills also create an interoperable computer tools to add to groupware systems and main learning management systems (LMS) in order to enhance the effectiveness and quality of persons in computer distance work / learning context. We called this tool Computer awareness tool (CAT).

The main objective of the consortium is to develop a network making possible to answer to the trans-disciplinarian problem of collaboration awareness and provide end users with a tool allowing increasing their collaboration and learning capabilities by bringing situational context information of their learning team partners. End users are secondary, higher and adult learners or private workers using collaborative computer supported tools (groupwares, learning management systems, peer to peer educational systems and other collaborative communication tools).

Collaboration awareness is defined as a property of computer mediated systems making possible to offer a continued awareness of both the presence of one's co-workers and knowledge of their contactability state are a useful part of maintaining distant contacts. We focus in a new collaboration awareness specific need, group's time awareness and regulation, group presence and co-presence, an individual competency in collaborative context that increases work planning and task regulation, efficiency, communication (Grudin, 1994), anticipation (Gutwin and Greenberg, 2002), and group coordination (Ellis et al., 1991). Time management on CSCL systems is a new research field, who needs to overpass the traditional dichotomic approach between:

(1) heuristic quick-fix approaches in professional / industrial time management and
(2) experimental decontextualised approaches of chronometric time capacities made by psychology researchers.

The first period of this interdisplinary project has been committed to the team building creation in order to create a partnership able to carry out the project objectives. During the first months of the project, each partner created the state of the art in its field. The following task was an online meeting for sharing this knowledge and the production of a common synthesis of the states of the art that was defined as the common shared knowledge basis for the project development. The next steps were to design a prototype for the collaboration awareness tool, based on an end user development methodology within an interatipe prototyping approach. The final release of the EuroCAT tool have been realised and is now tested by more than 900 students in 6 European countries and Latin American countries.