This write up suggest a Computer Supported Cooperative Work (CSCW) solution to a design group within an organization; this group is made up of four different sub groups. The first two smaller groups are located in the same office; this affords the opportunity to take part in discussion at the same time and in the same place, one of these two sub-groups is coordinating the design project. The third group is located within the same town with the first two groups but not the same office complex; while the last group is in another country entirely, far away from the head office.
Computer supported cooperative work (CSCW) simply describes the technology that allows people within a defined system to collaborate though effective communication. This technology is a combination of hardware and software carefully selected to meet the peculiar need of the system. Proximity of human entities within the system could vary.
This paper suggests a CSCW solution for an big group (defined system) as shown in figure 1, the group has four smaller groups A, B, C and D. Group A and B are working at the head office, this affords them the privilege to take part in discussion at the same place and at the same time. Group C is located in another part of the city (Town K); communication between group A and C or group B and C can take place at the same time but not at the same place because of distance barrier. Group D is situated in another country (Country M) different from group A, B and C; interaction between group D and other groups can neither ‘happen’ at the same time nor same place. Groups B, C and D receives directives from head office Group A as the project coordinator
The groups are to work collaboratively on a design project; meaning, they will need to engage in group discussion, share documents, come up with diagrams, delegate specific task and provide update on tasks status.
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Figure 1: Case Study: design group, sub-groups and possible communication lines
2. Enhancing cooperative work between groups
More often than not, the first step at designing CSCW systems is to conceptualize the context of system’s use. Johansen in 1988 introduced a conceptualization model known as CSCW matrix. CSCW matrix is a two dimensional matrix that emphasized collaboration in terms of time and location. By ‘ Location ’; it considers if collaboration is collocated or geographically distributed. By ‘ time’; it considers if individuals collaborate at the same time (synchronously) or at different time (asynchronous) .