Collaborative Technology and Environments
J.UCS Special Issue
(University of Lisboa, Portugal
Robert O. Briggs
(University of Nebraska at Omaha, USA
Collaborative technology and environments have always raised the
attention of researchers with various backgrounds and a wide range of
interests. System developers, technology designers, cognitive
engineers and social scientists find themselves challenged by the
complexity and tremendous possibilities raised by the technological
support to groups and communities of users making joint efforts toward
a common goal.
And new problems continue to emerge as we find new application areas
for collaborative technology. This special issue presents research in
quite different application areas: healthcare virtual communities,
agile software development, collaborative modeling and online chat
This special issue is comprised of selected, extender and
peer-reviewed papers presented at the 14th Collaboration Researchers'
International Workshop of Groupware (CRIWG 2008), held in Omaha,
Nebraska, USA, September 14-18, 2008. Four papers have been accepted
after a rigorous process where each submitted manuscript passed two
rounds of reviews by at least three specialists in the field.
Contents of this issue
The first paper, entitled "Assisting Support
Groups of Patients with Chronic Diseases through Persuasive
Computing" (Eduardo Gasca, Jesus Favela, and Monica Tentori),
reports exploratory research in a compelling and emerging field:
healthcare virtual communities. The paper describes the development of
a self-supporting healthcare network aiming at promoting healthy
lifestyles among patients. The results from the field show that the
participants increased confidence in themselves by using the
The second paper, entitled "Understanding
Tools and Practices for Distributed Pair Programming" (Till
Schummer and Stephan Lukosch), addresses communities of software
developers that have adopted the pair-programing approach. The paper
analyzes the social practices of distributed pair-programmers,
identifying tools and patterns of use. The paper also proposes
integrated support to these social practices.
The third paper, entitled "How Interactive
Whiteboards can be used to Support Collaborative Modeling"
(Gwendolyn L. Kolfschoten, Mamadou Seck, and Gert-Jan de Vreede),
provides an extensive review on the use of whiteboards supporting
collaborative modeling. Adopting the semi-structured interview
approach, the paper obtained data from the field elucidating the
importance of group composition, technology support and modeling
approaches to practitioners.
And finally, the fourth paper, entitled "Diminishing Chat
Confusion by Multiple Visualizations" (Torsten Holmer, Stephan
Lukosch, and Verena Kunz), is focussed on a very important problem
that plagues the current chat tools: confusion and context losses
derived from long chat threads and linear visualization modes. The
paper proposes a tool allowing to change visualization modes in
runtime. Unstructured interviews were adopted to obtain feedback and
validate the approach.
Pedro Antunes, Robert O. Briggs