By Brent Adam


DUE: March 25, 1996

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The goal of this project is to explore a complex interactive application that supports collaborative activities on the internet. This application is calld WebGrid and it is a knowledge elicitation tool that uses personal construct psychology (PCP). It allows people to make clear what certain elements mean in a particular domain of interest.

Part 1

After reading the paper on comparing construction through the web, I was ready to explore WebGrid. From the paper I learned how to use WebGrid, what it was about and how it is used in collaborative learning. It also exposed me to personal construct psychology. I perceive this to be a way to make clear the distinction that we make and the terminology that we use, and to compare this to others. I found the four-way comparison of constructs in terms of the distinctions made and the terminology used for them to be interesting. There is consensus, correspondence, conflict and contrast

I started by making a webgrid in the domain of sports and the context of leisure sports. I chose this context because I felt that it would be easier to understand and easier to apply to WebGrid and understand how it works. I found it very easy to use after an initial few minutes. However, I found that I had to disable my netscape cache for Display, PrinCom, and FOCUS to work correctly. For example, if I choose display, then PrinCom, the display graphic would be shown again instead of the PrinCom graphic. As far as output, I found the FOCUS clustering to group the sports in a way that best captured how I would group them. I found the triad elicitation method was quite useful for deriving constructs, and if another one came to mind, then I would add it directly. Overall, I found it quite interesting and it is fascinating how an application like this can be used by anyone on the internet.

My webgrid on leisure sports

Part 2

Compared to the sports grid, I had a difficult time coming up with constructs for these topics. When I did the comparison, I was still a bit foggy on what the comparison showed. It is still rather interesting, but I am unclear on how this could be applied beyond its purely interesting properties. I think this could be applied to a legal situation, a language barrier situation, or perhaps a diplomatic situation. In any case, a strong value must be associated with being able to understand exactly what is meant by the terminology used. Once again, I found the triad elicitation method to work the best because no other constructs came to my mind. I can't make any sense of the comparison, except to say that I think most of the distinctions were a casual link. For example, I am not sure what kind of link boring--exciting and system tool--human oriented tool have. I think it would have been more interesting to do an exchange grid.

My webgrid on 547 topics

Part 3

This time I found choosing the elements hard to do. The elements I came up with where quite jumbled and I did not know how I would compare/contrast them. The FOCUS and PrinCom were quite severe in their grouping and it was mainly a result of how I chose the elements. If I were to do it again, I would choose elements in a narrower context of the domain. This would hopefully bring to mind more useful constructs. I think this was also the biggest problem with part 2. The range of topics was immense and each one of them could be a domain. You are comparing a whole bunch of domains and I found this very difficult.

My webgrid on ethics and liability


I think this could be useful in a number of situations. I enjoyed doing the first one on sports, but the last two were difficult and confusing. I think the interactive nature of this application is wonderful, and it will be interesting to see what will appear in the next couple years in the way of interactive applications on the internet. With the introduction of Java, this will be very exciting.

Other Links

CPSC 547 - Advanced Information Systems
Brent's 547 Project I
Brent's 547 Project II