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IAT 812 :: Cognition, Learning, and Collaboration

Course Description: The focus of this course is on exploring the design and study of collaborative systems for supporting group work or group activities. This includes studying collaborative tools to support work activities, collaborative systems for domestic life, and collaborative games for play and social engagement. Students will investigate the cognitive processes in working within collaborative environments and the ways in which learning takes place.

Course Objectives: The goal of this course is to develop skills necessary for understanding, interpreting, and thinking about collaborative systems design and study. Students will investigate the theoretical perspectives of computer-supported cooperative work (collaborative computing), methods for studying collaboration and collaborative system design, and techniques for evaluating collaborative technologies. Students will also gain knowledge in specific areas of collaboration, cognition, and learning by studying several case study topics and exploring their own course project in detail.

Learning Outcomes: Students will be able to:

  • understand the unique challenges that exist for studying and designing collaborative technologies
  • identify various research areas within computer-supported cooperative work and understand the future directions in these areas
  • apply methodological tools used to study and evaluate collaborative technologies
  • analyze and critically reflect on the design and use of collaborative technologies
  • conduct informed presentations of collaborative technology design and use
  • document studies and designs of collaborative technology for conference or journal publication

Prerequisites: None

Course Time: 3 hours combined lecture/seminar

Delivery Methods: The course will primarily be taught through weekly lectures that will present methods for studying collaboration and case studies of collaborative practice and design. Lectures will be augmented with class discussions and critiques of research. Students will be required to read and critically reflect on a large volume of readings in the area of computer-supported cooperative work, present their thoughts on such readings, and complete an in-depth project in the area.

Portions of the course may involve class activities (e.g., field trips) that occur outside of class time and at locations that are off-campus. Students are responsible for their own safety when engaging in such activities.

Evaluation: Students will perform work on several specific deliverables during the term.

1. Project Proposal (10%): Students will propose two to three potential research topics that they are interested in studying as part of the course and document these in a short project proposal. Project ideas will be evaluated and discussed with the instructor and must be approved.

2. Initial Paper (20%): Students will complete the initial workings of a final paper that documents their project space, related work, and study or design method.

3. Class Participation (20%): Students will actively contribute to classroom and online discussions about course material. They will also participate in weekly activities related to the course material.

5. Course Project (50%): Students will complete a major project that studies a particular instance of cognition, learning, or collaboration, or involves the design and evaluation of a collaborative technology. Students will document this project by writing a conference-style publication and presenting the work through a conference-style presentation in front of the class.

Grading Schema: I use the following grade schema by default. This is subject to change though during the semester depending on overall student performance.

  • 95% ≤ A+
  • 90% ≤ A < 95%
  • 85% ≤ A- < 90%
  • 80% ≤ B+ < 85%
  • 75% ≤ B < 80%
  • 70% ≤ B- < 75%
  • 65% ≤ C+ < 70%
  • 60% ≤ C < 65%
  • 55% ≤ C- < 60%
  • 50% ≤ D < 55%
  • F < 50%