The Domain and Goals of CSCW

CSCW Domain

CSCW includes many computer science notions and technologies including HCI, networks, multimedia, object oriented concepts, virtual reality, and artificial intelligence. These are not the only technologies used in Groupware applications; the most appropriate technology is used for specific cooperative communication tasks. Although several technologies may be used in the collaboration process, CSCW technology usually has a set of workstations networked together in some arrangement.

CSCW Dimensions

There are two dimensions that make up the CSCW domain:

Paradigm Shift?

World war II used computers primarily for computations such as plotting the paths of missiles. As businesses began to adopt computer technology, the use of computers shifted to more of a data storage and retrieval device rather then a computational machine. Currently, there is a trend to use computers for communication. Email and the advent of the internet is sparking a new and recent explosion in the use of the computer.

Johansen (1984) stated that systems will be regarded primarily for communication, not computation. It can be debated on both sides of the issue if Johansen is correct or not. Perhaps we are in the primary stages of a paradigm shift, where the background of culture and tradition which guides the way people use computers is changing. The future structure of the information super-highway will help to define this new use for computers, perhaps more then anything else.

Goals of CSCW

There are many goals that help to define CSCW, however, here is a general reason for studying CSCW: Notice that the focus of the CSCW goal is the social interaction of people, and not the technology itself.

Satisfying CSCW Goals

The following notions and technologies help to satisfy CSCW goals:

Several other technologies and concepts contribute to satisfying CSCW goals. One of the more recent tools is Virtual Reality technology which comes closest to making people who are in geographically distributed locations feel like they are in the same place.
Last updated on March 8, 1995