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Glossary » Groupware


an interactive connection involving more than one person and including all of the objects that they are sharing.

For instance, a videoconferencing session could be set up between two people which included a video connection and a shared whiteboard (a…

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session control

the mechanism for mediating which people and which objects can belong to a given interactive session.

Important issues are the means by which users enter and leave a session, how a session is started and ended, and what resources are…

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shared whiteboard

allows two or more people to view and draw on a shared drawing surface even when they’re at a distance. This may be used, for instance, during a phone call, where each person can jot down notes (e.g. a name,…

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shared window system

a system that allows a single-user application to be shared among multiple users without modifying the original application. Such a system shows identical views of the application to the users and combines the input from the users or allows only…

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side-channel messaging

in multi-person conversations (such as meetings), side-channel communication is communication between a subset of those in the conversation that is done without disrupting the primary conversation. For instance, in a videoconference, side-channel messaging systems allow a person to send a…

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single-display groupware

SDG; a system where 2 or more people can simultaneously interact with a computer displaying on a single monitor. This is quite common for arcade games, but may be practical for certain educational applications and monitoring applications. The key problem…

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(groupware) a quick photo of another person that updates periodically to provide a basic awareness of their presence. (Also called a “porthole”.)

Snapshots are vaguely similar to a videoconference, except that no audio is provided, the frame rate is intentionally…

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social psychology

the study of how people interact in groups, how they think about groups of people, and how other individuals affect a person’s behavior. Social psychology overlaps with other fields in their interest in communication, motivation, and social cognition.

Social psychology…

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a diagram that shows interaction patterns between people; for instance, a diagram with a node to represent each individual and lines drawn between individuals to indicate that they interact frequently. These diagrams can be used to study workflows, the clustering…

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speech act

a view of language that treats communication as a series of actions in the form of speech, where each action is intended to cause some change in the world outside the speaker, whether it be:

by causing a direct physical

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synchronous groupware

same as “realtime groupware”; software used to help people to work in groups, while working together at the same time. The term synchronous is used to contrast this type of groupware with asynchronous groupware, which does not allow users to…

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especially in virtual reality systems, taking on a specific form when communicating with someone. The form may be a representation of your own physical body, someone else, a fantasy creature, or an abstract entity.

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a graphic (usually an arrow) used to indicate where another user is pointing, as in a shared whiteboard. The motions of a telepointer can be used as gestures to communicate with other users.

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working at a distance from your office or workplace, using telecommunications technologies to access the information at your workplace, i.e. telecommuting.

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in group communication, a conversational thread is a line of discussion with a common theme where each contribution follows from the last. A group may have multiple simultaneous threads continuing at any given time, and threads may be woven into…

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token-passing floor control

(also baton-passing or chalk-passing) a means of floor control that allocates the floor to the person who holds the token. The token can be passed to another user, possibly by simply releasing it and having it go to the next…

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to speak or act while no one else is and then to pass the floor onto another person through a glance, gesture, or speech pause; that is, a policy for floor control where only one person can speak or act…

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video communications

systems that allow two-way or multi-way calling with live video, essentially just a telephone system with an additional visual component. Primarily because of cost (but also compatibility problems), early use of video systems was primarily in advance-scheduled videoconference meeting rooms.…

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systems permitting people at separate locations to communicate via video and audio.

Some common design considerations for videoconferencing systems include:

desktop vs. conference room – is the system designed for personal use or for group meetings? gaze awareness and eye

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virtual community

a community that exists solely in terms of electronic as opposed to physical interaction, such as a group of people on a shared mailing list or newsgroup.

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web browser

software that enables people to access, view, and move between documents on the web, especially those prepared in HTML. Example browsers include Netscape Navigator, Internet Explorer, Opera, Mosaic, and lynx. One of the most challenging aspects of website design is…

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a collection of web documents that appear in a common framework to the user, either through the use of a common addressing scheme (a shared domain name or URL) or through the use of a unifying look and feel.

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workflow systems

software allowing documents to be routed through organizations through a relatively-fixed process.

A simple example of a workflow application is an expense report in an organization: an employee enters an expense report and submits it. A copy is archived then…

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(WHI-ZEE-WIZ) what you see is what I see. A term used for groupware interfaces that guarantee that users see the same thing at all times. This design principle says that it is easiest for users to coordinate when they are…

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(WHI-ZEE-WHI-TEEZ) what you see is what I think you see. This design principle is a relaxation of WYSIWIS that indicates that it is useful to have customized interfaces for each user, but that it is still important for each user…

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