Models and Theories in Human-Computer Interaction/Distributed Cognition and a Macro Focus

Distributed Cognition and a Macro Focus

WikiBook offers collaboration to a large network of people. Because geographic location is not relevant, WikiBook allows more interaction between individuals than if on a face-to-fact context. While you might be unable to read emotions in the writing (for example nonverbal communications like eye rolls or heavy sighs to indicate some form of disagreement or negative emotion) you are able to express a point of view. Also, the WikiBook offers a history ‘tab’ or portion so you know who is contributing what. This does result in more work on the use than face-to-face communication which makes transparency slightly harder. However, it does allow for record keeping on the development of the WikiBook. As seen earlier in the semester, this could be useful if unfortunate mistakes are made and allows for corrections to be made more effectively. The macro focus of distributed cognition can been seen in how collaborators in the WikiBook are connected to more than just a specific document. For example, this WikiBook submission is in Chapter 6 under Distributed Cognition and CSCW. But it branches further back under Models and Theories in Human Computer Interaction under the subject of Computer Science and under the category of Computing. The input and output ranges are far greater in this context than in a face-to-face setting. An example of a generic face-to-face setting would be a family gathering or gathering of a subcommittee at a conference. You have a limited number of people who plan and actually attend the gathering and then have a finite amount of time in this setting to discuss what they would like addressed. There are also interpersonal issues that may occur that detract from the meeting getting everything done it was meant to do. Even with more information available to us at the ready because of technology, meetings such as these will not have the same background data as readily available in any given gathering scenario that the WikiBook does. Family gatherings might have a cathartic release but not the same quality of output that a subcommittee of a technical conference. WikiBook maintains the same connection to background data as the user labels it with.