CSCW course 1998: Home examination


Use the literature handed out in the course as a basis for answering the questions. Clarify your answers thoroughly, and motivate with your own examples. Refer to the literature whenever appropriate. All these aspects are important for how your answers will be graded. The exam must be answered individually.


Your answers should be 0,5-1 A4 page of typed text for each question. Write your answers on separate paper sheets, and send them to Kerstin S. Eklundh ( If the answers are sent as an e-mail attachment, RTF format must be used.

The deadline for turning in the exam is May 27, 1998. If yoy turn it in later, your exam will not be graded before summer.




1. Sproull and Kiesler describe first and second level effects of introducing a CMC system in an organisation. Describe what is meant by this distinction, and give examples of such effects.


2. E-mail communication is often regarded as a "lean" medium in contrast to "richer" media like face-to-face communication, because the social cues about other participants are missing or less obvious to the user. Explain and illustrate this property of e-mail with examples. Against this background, describe advantages and disadvantages that e-mail may have for an organisation that introduces a CMC system, and also for individuals in that organisation.


3. Discuss some important properties of embodiments/avatars in collaborative virtual spaces, considering how they affect collaboration.


4. Classify awareness modes according to coupling and synchronous character and give an example for each mode, illustrating the usefulness of providing awareness information in the respective mode. Give examples of applications from your experience that provide that kind of information, or applications that fail to provide it. In the last-mentioned case, specify briefly the best way you consider the application could provide it in its interface.


5. Explain the notion of common ground in communication. Discuss the extent to which back-channel activity is possible in different computer-based media, and some implications for how the medium supports grounding in communication.


6. Discuss the advantages and disadvantages with knowledge applications like in-house Yellow Pages (Thomas Stewart, and Answer Garden (Ackerman and McDonald, handed out during the course), and how such systems can support collaboration in an organisation.