My Courses – VII: An Overview of a Course on Computer Supported Collaborative Work (CSCW) (July-Nov 2012)

Posted on November 29, 2012

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Author:  Sanjay Goel, http://in.linkedin.com/in/sgoel

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Computer Supported Collaborative Work (CSCW) combines the understanding of the way people work in groups with the existing and emerging computing & HCI technologies. The notion of the work is interpreted in the broadest sense that is not limited to workplace related activities only but also includes the ludic pursuits.   ACM has been holding their annual conference on CSCW (Computer Supported Cooperative Work) since 1986. Springer has also been publishing journal in this area since 1992. Further, in the last three decades, many  reputed journals and conference on Information Systems and HCI have been publishing research work this area.  Many companies have identified Collaboration Technology as a key R&D area. 

For more than a decade, I have been a strong believer of the idea that computers can contribute significantly to facilitate and enhance collaboration (not just coordination or cooperation)  among people.  Since 2005, I have been supervising few final year BTech projects in this area, i.e., CSCW.  During 2010 and 2011, I also supervised more than 50 final year MTech students to prepare and deliver their weekly seminars in this area.  These seminars served the dual purpose of training the students in literature survey, critical thinking, and presentation skills on one hand and also exposing them to the field of CSCW on another.  Few semesters ago, Ms. Ritu Arora, a former colleague and now a PS faculty member at BITS Pilani, requested me to supervise her PhD work.  She registered at BITS Pilani and we decided to work in the area of CSCW wrt Software development.    In 2012, I thought that it might be a good idea to expand the academic activity in this area and offer an MTech elective course on CSCW at JIIT. After obtaining the formal approvals from BoS and Academic Council of JIIT, Noida, a new elective course, Computer Supported Collaborative Work (CSCW), was announced for MTech students in May 2012.  Initially a total of 8 MTech.(CSE) students registered in this elective course.  Later, one more student started her PhD in this area at JIIT.  As part of her PhD course-work, she also registered in this course. 

 In this course taught during July-Nov, 2012, CSCW has been treated as a subset of HCI. As these students had not studied a formal course on HCI,  essential foundations of  HCI were also included in this course.   The classes were essentially used for discussing selected publications (papers and book chapters).   I did not prepare any slides for this course.   I mostly distributed the copies of excerpts of selected publications at the beginning of each class.   I am indeed highly indebted to all the authors of the published work that was selected for study in this course.   The students were encouraged to study the original sources.   A class-wise summarised account of topics and excerpts of referred publications is available at http://www.slideshare.net/goelsan/cscw-lecture-notes-sanjay-goel-jiit-2012.   Please note that these are not lecture slides.    Mostly these are excerpts of referred and cited sources.

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