[AG-TECH] Human factors and AG

Kyoung Shin Park park at evl.uic.edu
Thu Aug 29 12:08:26 CDT 2002

Hi.. some thoughts that come to my mind.
Clearly both points, made by Jennifer and Barbar, are important to look at,
but I think:
"what disadvantages AG-based communication have over face-to-face..."
question is
for finding a technological improvement for AG.
"what advantages ..." question is for research thrust of AG community.

"Dourish, Adler, Bellotti & Henderson (1996) report the experience of two
dyads that used open audio/video connections between their offices for 2-3
years. To be sure, these dyads were members of advanced research labs who
had intrinsic motivations to use the technology. However, they report that
what at first glance might seem to be serious limitations of the technology
(e.g., poor support for eye contact across the video link) are adapted to
over time, and fade into the background as concerns. If the tools have
useful functionality, new practices will emerge to adjust to the
characteristics of the tool." -- Distance Matter, Olson and Olson, 2000.


-----Original Message-----
From: owner-ag-tech at mcs.anl.gov [mailto:owner-ag-tech at mcs.anl.gov]On Behalf
Of Barbara A. Kucera
Sent: Thursday, August 29, 2002 9:07 AM
To: Julia Shiela Mullen
Cc: Jennifer Teig Von Hoffman; ag-tech at mcs.anl.gov
Subject: Re: [AG-TECH] Human factors and AG

Hi Julie,

As usual, Jennifer has given a lot of thought to this and responded quickly.
However, in reading her points, it brought a couple to my mind.

The first and most obvious is:  What disadvantages does AG-based
communication have over face-to-face communication, and what can be done to
overcome them?

As the technology has progressed, the AG is being used for more secure high
level meetings.  Will this have an impact on who is selected to be a node
How will it effect the status of the position?

As the role of node operator becomes more automated, at the same time that
the demand for someone knowledgeable about the technology and managerial
areas increases, is the title still descriptive, or should the the position
be renamed to more appropriately describe the role?

Here at NCSA we have a two-person staff with a manager.  Small AG nodes
often have one person who does everything, perhaps with the help of a
student.  The sites with which I'm familiar often have limited funds and are
interested in making this easy for users to be able to operate without a
full-time operator present.  Has anyone attempted to define the AG operator

Lots of things to think about.


At 05:08 PM 8/28/2002 -0400, Jennifer Teig Von Hoffman wrote:

Hi Julie,

Cool! Here are some ideas, with the big caveat that I'm not a human factors
expert (I don't even play one on TV).

* How does the presence of a node operator affect interpersonal dynamics?
Can this be positive? How can it be minimized?

* What human factors implications come into play when bridging the AG with
VR environments?

* What human factors implications come into play when a given AG session is
joined by "regular" AG nodes, PIGs, VRVS clients, etc?

* What would happen if we gave all session participants laptops and MOO

* What advantages does AG-based communication have over face-to-face
communication, and how can we make better use of these advantages?

And of course, since you folks at WPI are close by, I'm happy to drive out
to brainstorm sometime if that's helpful (or have her come to visit BU, of

- Jennifer

Julia Shiela Mullen wrote:

Hi -
We have an undergraduate who is interested in
human factors and the Access Grid.  At WPI
we require each student to complete a major
project which relates technology and society.
(This project is a graduation requirement.)
The descriptions and content of such projects
is fairly flexible.  We are currently at the
beginning of her project experience so I am
turning to the AG community for suggestions.
What is the AG community most interested in
with regards to 'human factors and the AG'?
Is there a wish list of studies that folks
would like to see?   Are there project ideas
that we just didn't have the manpower for?
I welcome any and all suggestions - I will
present them to the student and we will
see what interests her.
Thanks for your help on this -

  Julia S. Mullen, Ph.D
  Academic Computing Application Scientist
  Computing and Communications Center
  Worcester Polytechnic Institute
  Worcester, MA
  phone: 508.831.6054
  fax:   508.831.5680
  email: jsm at wpi.edu

Barbara A. Kucera
Alliance/EPSCoR Liaison
National Center for Supercomputing Applications (NCSA)
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
(217) 244-0131 * Fax (217) 244-2909

Computer Science is no more about computers than astronomy is about
telescopes. - Edsger W. Dijkstra, computer science professor
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