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Colloquium - de Paula

Interpretive Structures: How Designers and Users "Frame" Technologies and Practices
Department of Computer Science
4/14/2004
11:30am-1:00pm

The use and adoption of computer artifacts, in particular groupware systems, are subject to the interpretive structures against which designers and users understand existing work practices and contexts and the various meanings and roles of these technologies. A number of studies in CSCW has shown the impact of these structures in enabling as well as hindering the adoption and use of groupware systems. From an egocentric perspective, these structures are often described as technological frames or situation models.

No different from previous works in CSCW, in my dissertation work I faced various challenges in introducing and integrating a computer supported social network system, Web2gether, into special education work practices. This has motived a more in-depth investigation and understanding of the social, cognitive, institutional and political elements that impacted the ways special education professionals understood and utilized Web2gether. Building on Giddens' theory of structuration, I attempted to deconstruct their technological frames, unpacking some of the structures that constitute these frames. I argue that understanding these structures is not only analytically powerful, but can help us design more useful groupware systems.

In this presentation, I will briefly present some of the conclusions from my dissertation work, followed by a description of this framework and a more in-depth analysis of some of the findings. In conclusion I will present what I see as some of the implications of this research work.

Sponsored by the Center for Lifelong Learning & Design.

Department of Computer Science
University of Colorado Boulder
Boulder, CO 80309-0430 USA
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