You are here: HI2 HOME

[Go to Teaching page]    [Go to Publications page]

The HI2B (Human Interface 2 Strand B) web page


(Earlier versions of this module can be found in the HI2 Archive)

The aim of HI2 is to extend the horizon of HCI to include a consideration of computer supported cooperative work (CSCW) and the role interactive technology plays in a modern organization. In so doing, it moves the unit of analysis of HCI from single users to groups. The aim of this section of the module is to introduce (a) the background and motivation behind this move and (b) some basic concepts for understanding the type of work that can be found in this new environment.

The first lecture briefly describes the problems posed by the environment in which modern organizations operate. This is environment is characterized as one in which organizations are subject to the twin pressures of (a) globalization and (b) high rates of organizational and technological change. It then moves on to consider the move to the 'virtual environment' as a global, high tech solution to these problems.

The second lecture considers the problems of supporting the work that takes place in such organizations. The term Distributed Collaborative Work is introduced to describe work that may be distributed either physically (i.e. carried out in different places) or temporally (i.e. carried out at different times). The terms hot and cold distributed collaborative work is then introduced to describe two common modes of virtual working.

The next three lectures consider three examples of virtual organizations (teleworking, virtual teams and communities of practice). These are characterized in terms of the broad type of work performed (knowledge work) and the techniques and technologies that might be used to support them (CSCW and groupware). Each is used to illustrate some of the problems of supporting work in virtual organizations. A summary of the lectures is given below.

Strand B


Lecture I

Lecture II


Introduction - Working in the Virtual Environment


An introduction to Distributed Collaborative Work (*) Working on line - Distributed Team Work (*)


Working off line - Telework and Home Based Working (*) Communities of Practice (*)

Note - a (*) against a topic indicates that there is an associated key text.

Each lecture has an associated web page that contains some descriptive text, several links to (on-line) material related to the topic and some indication of relevant (paper based) books and articles.

Taken in total, each web page will contain links to 10 to 15 different sources of information. The aim of providing such a wide range material is to (a) accommodate different interests and learning styles (b) to provide a resource for further study such as assignments or projects (c) to build in an element of redundancy and avoid excessive reliance on potentially volatile on line documentation. It is not expected that every student will read every item on each page. However, where appropriate a key text will be indicated. You should consider this key text to be essential reading for this module.

Finally, please note that these web pages are intended to be self-contained. There will be no additional hand out or lecture notes associated with this section of the module.

[Go to Teaching page]    [Go to Publications page]