Gitesh K. Raikundalia
SoMIT, Southern Cross University, Coffs Harbour, NSW 2457, Australia.
Text-based interaction has been found widely in computer-supported collaboration over the years. The familiar chat tools (e.g., Chatplanet) and MUDs (e.g., Evard 1993) are examples of such interaction. Text has its strengths in such interaction, such as permanence and readability, yet has shortcomings for which other media, such as video, are indicated as alternatives or used in addition to text.
This research has investigated the use of text in formal, synchronous, distributed, electronic meetings. The results reported in this paper concern the viability and practice of such meetings, and are not found elsewhere in literature. The results for meeting practice are not intended to only be applied to a text-only meeting, but may be applied in a multimsedia-based meeting where text is used as a significant aspect of communication. The lessons learnt from this research are re-useable in design of meeting tools or conduct of meetings using text significantly.
Figure 1 shows how a meeting is conducted using a document manager (on the left-hand side) and a text-based discussion tool (right-hand side). These tools are Logan ( Raikundalia and Rees 1996) and Yarn ( Reeset al 1993), respectively. Participants discuss agenda items using Yarn while viewing documents using Web-based Logan developed by the author. The meetings each consist of five phases: the pre-meeting, in-meeting and post-meeting phases where the in- meeting phase itself is composed of startup, discussion and windup phases.
Before findings from experiments may be discussed, the experimental method used in series of meetings is covered.