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Transcript
Lecture 21
communication and
collaboration models
Today’s Lecture
Introduction
 Face-to-face communication
 Conversation

 Grounding
Text-based communication
 Group working

Overview
All computer systems, single user or multiuser, interact with the work-groups and
organizations in which they are used.
 Need to understand normal human-human
communication

 face-to-face
communication involves eyes,
face and body
 conversation can be analysed to establish its
detailed structure
Overview

This can then be applied
conversation, which has
to
text-based
 Reduced
feedback for confirmation
 Less context to disambiguate expression
 Slower pace of interaction
 But is more easily reviewed

Group working is more complex than that of a
single person
 Influenced
by the physical environment
 Experiments are more difficult to control and record
 Field studies must take into account the social
situation
Social nature of humans
Humans are inherently social creatures
 We live together, work together, learn
together, play together, etc.
 Therefore, we need to develop interactive
systems that support and extend these
kinds of social interactions
 Communication and collaboration

Face-to-face communication
Most primitive and most subtle form of
communication
 Often seen as the paradigm
for computer mediated communication

Face-to-face communication

Transfer effects
 Carry
expectations into electronic media
People are adaptable
e.g. “the use of ‘over’ for turn-taking when using a
walkie-talkie”
 But also expect they can use existing norms (e.g.
cultural)

Face-to-face communication
 Sometimes
with disastrous results

The rules of face-to-face conversation are not
conscious, so, when they are broken, we do not
always recognize the true problem.

May interpret failure as rudeness of colleague
e.g., Personal space
video may destroy mutual impression of distance
happily the “glass wall” effect helps
 Often the ‘glass wall’ afforded by the video screen makes
the precise distance less important, which could
have a positive effect during cross-cultural meetings.

Personal Space
Eye contact
To convey interest and establish social
presence
 Video may spoil direct eye contact
 But poor quality video better than audio
only

 Establishing
conversation
context
–
focus
of
the
Gestures and body language


Much of our communication is through our
bodies
Gesture (and eye gaze) used for deictic
reference
 Deictic

– “directly pointing out” (oxford dictionary)
Head and shoulders video loses this
 So:
close focus for eye contact or wide focus for body
language?
Back channels

Alison:
do you fancy that film . . . er. . . ‘The green’ um .
. . it starts at eight.

Brian:
great!

Not just the words!
Back channel responses from Brian at 1 and 2




Quizzical at 1
Affirmative at 2
Back channels include:




Nods and grimaces
Shrugs of the shoulders
Grunts and raised eyebrows
Utterance begins vague then sharpens up just enough
Back channels II

Restricting media restricts back channels





Video … loss of body language
Audio … loss of facial expression
Half Duplex … lose most voice back channel responses
Text Based … nothing left!
Back channels used for turn-taking:



Speaker offers the floor (fraction of a second gap)
Listener requests the floor (facial expression, small noise)
Grunts, ‘um's and ‘ah's, can be used by the:


listener to claim the floor
speaker to hold the floor

But often too quiet for half-duplex channels

Trans-continental conferences - special problems

lag can exceed the turn taking gap

leads to a monologue!
Basic conversational structure
 Alison:
Do you fancy that film
 Brian: the uh (500 ms) with the black cat –”The Green
whatsit”
 Alison: yeah, go at uh (looks at watch 1.2 s) twenty to?
 Brian: sure


Smallest unit is the utterance
Turn taking … utterances usually alternate
Basic conversational structure


Simplest structure - adjacency pair
Adjacency pairs may nest;

Brian: Do you want some gateau? (X)






Alison: is it very fattening? (Y)
Brian: yes, very (Y)
Alison: and lots of chocolate? (Z)
Brian: masses (Z)
Alison: I'll have a big slice then. (X)
Structure is: B-x, A-y, B-y, A-z, B-z, A-x


Inner pairs often for clarification
But, simple pairing is not always possible or useful
Context in conversation
Utterances are highly ambiguous
 We use context to disambiguate

 Brian:
(points) that post is leaning a bit
 Alison: that's the one you put in
Context in conversation

Two types of context:
 external
context
reference to the environment
 e.g., Brian's “that” = the thing pointed to [deictic
reference]

 internal
context
reference to the previous conversation
 e.g., Alison's “that” = the last thing spoken of

Context in conversation

Often contextual utterances involve
indexicals:
 that,
this, he, she, it
These may be used for internal or external
context
 Also descriptive phrases may be used:

 external:
“the corner post is leaning a bit”
 internal: “the post you mentioned”
Common Ground

Resolving context depends on meaning



Conversation constantly negotiates meaning

process called grounding

Alison: So, you turn right beside the river.
Brian: past the hotel.
Alison: yeah -



participants must share meaning
so must have shared knowledge
Each utterance is assumed to be:


relevant - furthers the current topic
helpful - comprehensible to listener
Focus and breakdown

Context resolved relative to current dialogue focus






Alison: Oh, look at your roses –
Brian: mmm, but I've had trouble with green fly.
Alison: they're the symbol of the English summer.
Brian: green fly?
Alison: no roses silly!
Tracing topics is one way to analyse conversation.



Alison begins - topic is roses
Brian shifts topic to green fly
Alison misses shift in focus = breakdown
Focus and breakdown

You can classify utterances by the task they
perform in the conversation
 Substantive

– directly relevant to the development of the conversation
 Annotative

– points of clarification, elaboration etc
 Procedural

– talking about the process of collaboration itself
Focus and breakdown

Alison is giving Brian directions, using a
whiteboard







Alison: you go along this road until you get to the river
Brian: do you stop before the river or after you cross it?
Alison: before
Brian: draw the river in blue and the road in black
Alison: So, you turn right beside the river
Brian: past the hotel
Alison: yeah … is there another black pen? This one is
running dry.
NB: The final utterance is “procedural
technical” and indicates that the system
has become apparent to the participants
substantive
annotative
annotative
procedural
substantive
substantive
procedural
Breakdown

Breakdown happens at all levels:
 Topic,

indexicals, gesture
Breakdowns are frequent, but:
 Redundancy
makes detection easy
(brian cannot interpret “they're the symbol of the english summer”)
 People
very good at repair
(brain and alison quickly restore shared focus)

Electronic media may lose some redundancy
= breakdown more severe
breakdown

Alison: Isn’t that beautiful


Brian: the symmetry of the branches




Points to a large male deer (stag) standing next to a tree
He thinks she pointed to the tree
Alison: how some people can dislike them I cannot understand!
Brian: Yes – the park rangers should shoot all those damn deer
before they kill the trees off for good!
Alison: (silence)

NOTE: Brian’s reference to symmetrical branches MAY have sounded to
Alison like a reference to the stag’s antlers!
Speech-Act Theory
A specific form of conversational analysis
 Utterances characterised by what they do,
they’re acts

 e.g.,
“I'm hungry”
propositional meaning – hunger
 intended effect – “get me some food”

 Classic
& wife”
example: “I now pronounce you man
Speech-Act Theory

Basic conversational acts (illocutionary
points):
 Promises
 Requests
 Declarations
 Assertions
 Counters
 Reneges
 Withdrawals
Speech-Act Theory
 Speech
acts need not be
spoken
e.g.,
silence often interpreted
as acceptance
Speech-Act Theory

Generic patterns of acts can be identified:
 Conversation

Seeks to obtain a specific request
 Conversation

for possibilities (CfP)
Looking towards future actions
 Conversation

for clarification (CfC)
Usually embedded in CfA - to clarify the requested
action
 Conversation

for action (CfA)
for Orientation (CfO)
Building a shared understanding
Conversations
for action


Circles represent ‘states’ in the conversation
Arcs represent utterances (speech acts)

Simplest route 1-2-3-4-5:





Alison: have you got the market survey on chocolate? [request]
Brian: sure [promise]
Brian: there you are [assert]
Alison: thanks [declare]
More complex routes possible, e.g., 1-2-6-3



Alison: have you got – [request]
Brian: I've only got the summary figures [counter]
Alison: that'll do [accept]
Text based communication

Most common media for asynchronous
groupware
 exceptions:

voice mail, answer phone
Familiar medium, similar to paper letters
 but,
electronic text may act as speech
substitute!
Text based communication

Types of electronic text:
 Discrete:
directed messages, no structure
 Linear: messages added (in temporal order)
 Non-Linear: hypertext linkages
 Spatial: two dimensional arrangement
Text based communication

Most obvious loss, no facial expression or
body language
 weak
back-channels, so it is difficult to
convey:
affective state - happy, sad, angry humorous
 illocutionary force - urgent, important, deferential

 Participants
smilies ;-)
compensate by flaming and
Grounding constraints

Establishing common ground depends on
grounding constraints
 Co-Temporality:
- instant feedthrough
 Simultaneity: - speaking together
 Sequence: - utterances ordered
33
Grounding constraints

These constraints are often weaker in text
based communication than in face-to-face
conversation
 e.g.,
loss of sequence in linear text:
network delays or coarse granularity = overlap
Grounding constraints
1.
2.
3.
4.
5.
6.
Bethan: how many should be in the group?
Rowena: maybe this could be one of the 4 strongest reasons
Rowena: please clarify what you mean
Bethan: I agree
Rowena: hang on
Rowena: Bethan what did you mean?

Message pairs 1&2 and 3&4 composed simultaneously

i.e., lack of common experience

Rowena: 2 1 3 4 5 6
 Bethan: 1 2 4 3 5 6

Above shows breakdown of turn-taking result of poor back channels
Maintaining context


Recall context was essential
for disambiguation
Text loses external context,
hence deixis (cf: deictic) linking to
shared objects can help

1. Alison: Brian's got some
lovely roses
 2. Brian: I'm afraid they're
covered in green fly
 3. Clarise: I've seen them,
they're beautiful

Both (2) and (3) are responses
to (1)


but the transcript suggests green
fly are beautiful
Hypertext can maintain ‘parallel’
conversations
Pace and Granularity

Pace of conversation - the rate of turn taking
 face-to-face
- every few seconds
 telephone - half a minute
 email - hours or days

face-to-face conversation is highly
interactive
 If
initial utterance is vague feedback gives
cues for comprehension

lower pace = less feedback = less
interactive
Pace and Granularity

Coping strategies attempt to increase
granularity:
 eagerness
- looking ahead in the
conversation game

Brian: Like a cup of tea? Milk or lemon?
 multiplexing

- several topics in one utterance
Alison: No thanks. I love your roses.
The Conversation Game




Conversation is like a game
Linear text follows one path through it
Participants choose the path by their utterances
Hypertext can follow several paths at once
Group dynamics

Workgroups constantly change:
 in
structure
 in size

Several groupware systems have explicit roles
 But


e.g., M.D. down a mine is under the authority of the foreman
e.g., a General can be under a Private during an Int. Briefing
 and

roles depend on context and time
may not reflect duties
e.g., subject of biography, author, but now writer
Group dynamics



Social structure may change: democratic,
autocratic,
and group may fragment into sub-groups
Groupware systems rarely achieve this flexibility
Groups also change in composition
 new
members must be able to ‘catch up’
Physical environment

Face-to-face working radically affected by
layout of workplace
 e.g.,
meeting rooms:
 recessed terminals reduce visual impact
 inward facing to encourage eye contact
 different social-power positions

Traditional cognitive psychology is all in
the head
Physical environment

Distributed cognition suggests we look to
the world
 Thinking
takes place in interaction with other
people and the physical environment

Implications for group work:
 importance
of mediating representations
 group knowledge greater than sum of parts
 design focus on external representation
Summary

Face-to-face communication is extremely
complex.
 People
maintain precise distances, which can
be disrupted through video links.

At a higher level, the structure of
conversation can be seen as a sequence
of turns, usually alternating between the
participants.
Summary
Context is important in disambiguating
utterances, especially when deictic
reference is also used.
 Text-based communication loses most of
the low-level feedback of face-to-face
conversation.
 Group dynamics make it very difficult to
predict how a particular group will
behave.
