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Awareness - The Common Link Between Groupware and Community Support Systems

Hans Schlichter, Michael Koch, Chengmao Xu
Due to the proliferation of computer networks the electronic support of geographically distributed groups has become increasingly important. With respect to groups we can distinguish between teams and communities. In general, team members know each other and collaborate to achieve a common goal while communitiy members have just common interests or preferences. Often there is no personal contact between community members. The electronic support for both group types has developed independently. While community support systems concentrated mostly on the building process, i.e. finding people with similar interests, groupware focused on the collaboration process, i.e. the synchronization and exchange of information in the context of a specific team task. The paper proposes awareness as a common base for both community support systems to improve contact building as well as for groupware to maintain group work at a high performance level. We discuss communities and teams in educational settings and propose an architecture which integrates the awareness mechanism.
LNCS, Proc. of the 1st Meeting on Social Informatics, June, 1998, Kyoto, Japan

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