WebGrid Report


Chris Marta

Part 1: Exploration

Grid Description

For a topic I chose "my favorite computer games" for my domain. I didn't use a specific "context" field, as a didn't think one was requisite for this domain. My 6 elements consisted of the games, while I differentiated them on constructs such as CPU requirements and popularity with others.

Initial Impressions

While other students I had talked to previously had claimed to have difficulty figuring out how to use the system, I found it very simple to get started. This may have been because I had seen an example by another student. (The example used in Dr. Gaines' Paper is perhaps not general enough--some readers are unfamiliar with the elements used.) When I examined the PrinCom and Focus, I felt that the games were arranged in an order consistent with my mental model, with the exception of the game "Doom", which I felt should have lied closer to some of the other games in the PrinCom graph.

The Netscape cache also interferes with the reposting of grids. If I hadn't been accustomed to this problem with other applications, this might have been frustrating--instructions to disable to cache should probably be included with the Netscape requirement proclamation.

Link to exploration grid

Part 2

Construct Development

I found it difficult to come up with my own constructs off the top of my head, and found the "triad of topics" elicitation feature to be very helpful in this regard. However, beyond my first four constructs I found it increasingly difficult to come up with any substantial differentiations amongst the elements.

Grid Description

On examination of the PrinCom/Focus, I didn't feel that the data shown gave a strong representation of my mental model. Perhaps if I would have come up with more constructs, the representation would have had more meaning.

Comparison of Grids

There was no consensus between our grids, but there was a good level of correspondence. My idea of "Processing--Interaction" was similar to Dr. Gaines' distinction of "Targeted on overall system--Targeted on interface". (The interface/interaction side is exactly the same idea with only slightly different terminology, while the Targeted on overall system/Processing side were different ideas, but one implies the other.) My distinction of "Futuristic--Current" also corresponds with Dr. Gaines' "Novel communication--Conventional communication" distinction. Mine was simply broader in scope.

We also had a remarkable similarity of ratings between an item that was in contrast. My "static--distributed" distinction and his "Development tool--Application" distinction were almost identical in numbers. Although these are different concepts, the reason for the correlation is clear (Development tools are typically in single-user environments, and the applications elements listed are generally communications based--making them distributed.)

I got a bit frustrated in comparing the grids, as I was unable to look at Dr. Gaines' grid independent of mine, and unable to view all his constructs when I had finished. (Only those that compared well with my constructs were listed in the comparison grid.)

Link to comparison grid

Part 3

Grid Description

I used examples of intelligent agents as a context for this grid. There were eight elements (different agents) used, and I determined 8 different constructs. I found it very easy to develop these constructs, as the examples had some very obvious differences between them.

Grid Analysis

This grid had a very strong concensus to my mental model. I felt that both the PrinCom and the Focus had a very logical order. This strong representation was probably a result of the larger number of constructs I defined for this grid, as well as the level of diversity among them.

Link to my Intelligent Agents grid


After using the server on these grids, I feel that it may be a useful tool in a collaborative environment--it helps to distinguish the items of most import to different people (in the choice of constructs), and helps to draw the train of thought and terminology together. As a non-collaborative tool, I feel it is of limited use--my mental models were not changed significantly as a result of using the system.

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