information for their projects, there is a long period of work where the goals set out during the initiation phase are worked on. This is the phase that Kraut, et al. ( 1987) referred to as "execution," and is accompanied by the steady-state pattern of CMC tool use. Not infrequently, students in this phase of project work discover that they do not have sufficient material with which to complete their project goals. This situation is met with a second round of CMC tool use where students attempt to supplement their initial work. In Mr. Wolf's classroom, for example, he reports that when students in this phase of work become "stuck," he would frequently suggest that they return to Usenet news in order to find more sources of information. Towards the end of projects there is a final small increase in CMC tool use, which can be explained in a fashion similar to that of the mid-project increase. Students are looking for more information at the last minute to supplement their project work.
The science classrooms that participated in this study provide a valuable service as testbed environments for high-end communications technologies. These CMC tools, which are now commonplace in white collar and industrial settings, have begun a rapid expansion into classrooms. The most important implication of this study is the caution that this expansion process be viewed as more than just technology transfer. Instead, the marriage of classroom learning and CMC tools needs to be treated as an opportunity to redesign aspects of both the tools and the activities of the classroom. In particular, this study suggests that if the goal is to sustain CMC tool use in classrooms, a focal area of concern should be the design of activities.
Design issues for collaborative tools and systems are, by nature, rooted in particular contexts. In order to understand what has been called the "communication needs" ( Hollan & Stornetta, 1992) of participants in particular settings, one must engage in the study of the tasks and roles of those participants. The primary goal of this work is to determine if there are recognizable patterns that exist in the CMC tool use behaviors of these students, and if so, how those patterns can best be characterized. Using these emergent patterns to augment our understanding of the design space for collaborative and computer-mediated communication tools in high school contexts allows us to increase the usefulness of those tools to both students and teachers in the future.
The work described in this paper was supported by NSF Grant RED-9454729 and the Illinois State Board of Education. The authors would like to thank the CoVis teachers and students for their cooperation and feedback in this research, and Joseph Walther, Roy Pea, and Allan Collins for their comments on this work.
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