An Exercise in Knowledge Creation and Collegial Consensus
Using a web-based environment that represents the work product as a network of elements (text, image, equation, sound), participants add content, enter into discussion with other participants, and indicate the degree to which they are positive or negative about each contributed element. The exercise asks those with portable computers and wireless connection to login and collectively write a position paper. Those without laptops can still view the site projected on the screen (and look over the shoulder of other participants). Participants add elements to the shared document. Each participant can anonymously indicate their feeling about each element. All participants see the set of contributions on their browser along with a graphic summary of the overall positive-negative sense of each item (items collectively judged below neutral fade while items holding more positive ratings are more prominent). The environment is an experimental site used to study collaborative work and the effect of peer evaluation and feedback on the quality of work. Scholarly collaboration is often a broad, long, and largely solitary process of reading, reviewing, writing, and finally sharing an individual's chunks of knowledge. Technology affords options that are more visible and immediate in collaborative work. Many are taking advantage of shared documents and electronic messaging to collaboratively create new knowledge. Much of the work is guided by (or at least paralleled) work in social psychology. Early theorist developed models of how individuals transcend their own consciousness to socially create common meaning (ideas or concepts) and patterns of behavior. More recent work has expanded the theories to address the affective meaning created in social interaction. The workshop is aimed at generating discussion on the role and effect of techniques that encourage the expression of feeling (like and dislike) on the collaborative knowledge creation.
Keywords: Collaborative Work, Affective Feedback, Social Psychology
Prof Timothy Wells
Associate Professor, Department of Information Technology, Rochester Institute of Technology