Models and Theories in Human-Computer Interaction/Increasing Collaborative Transparency Through the Externalization of Discussion

A collaborative platform both motivates and deters interaction in a number of ways.

It motivates interaction through:

  • Providing an open-ended timeframe by which someone can communicate with a group of people at their leisure
  • Providing an asynchronous environment by which a conversation can develop
  • Providing a sense of content and opinion ownership, where someone can fully express themselves without interruption

It deters interaction through:

  • Hindering the editing of content (makes sense for the class structure, but not indicative of real-world application, like Wikipedia)
  • Less opportunity of collaborative writing and shared groupthink, since the medium is primarily being used by individual contributors for this application

Activity theory understands that the users are re-creating their own environment, not just choosing from possibilities in the availability of tools but actively creating an environment through their activity. In the case of using WikiBooks as a collaborative platform for the course, we are collectively socially mediating our student group’s learning and analysis of HCI. The Wikibooks platform allows the students and professor to externalize and make transparent the learnings from our individual internalization of the information provided in the lectures and reading, and helps us as a group keep a pulse on how others are interpreting the same information. This helps us build a digital classroom by which discussions are prompted, whereas in a traditional classroom the conversation may be organic.