Hans Schlichter, Michael Koch, Chengmao Xu
LNCS, Proc. of the 1st Meeting on Social Informatics, June, 1998, Kyoto, Japan
Due to the proliferation of computer networks the electronic support of geographically distributed groups has
become increasingly important. With respect to groups we can distinguish between teams and communities.
In general, team members know each other and collaborate to achieve a common goal while communitiy
members have just common interests or preferences. Often there is no personal contact between community
members. The electronic support for both group types has developed independently. While community support
systems concentrated mostly on the building process, i.e. finding people with similar interests, groupware
focused on the collaboration process, i.e. the synchronization and exchange of information in the context of a
specific team task. The paper proposes awareness as a common base for both community support systems
to improve contact building as well as for groupware to maintain group work at a high performance level. We
discuss communities and teams in educational settings and propose an architecture which integrates the
awareness mechanism.
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