Understanding University Students' Use of Tools and Artifacts in Support of Collaborative Project Work
MetadataShow full item record
When designers collaborate on projects, they use an assortment of tools to generate a variety of artifacts that help them complete their work. However, it remains unclear how university students use tools and create artifacts as they collaborate on design projects. More importantly, it is unclear how these students make tool-related decisions throughout their design projects, as well as how the different types of work they perform influence their overall collaborative process. Developing a greater understanding of these phenomena will help members of the computer-supported cooperative work (CSCW) community better understand the complex structure of collaborative project work, as well as the role of tools and artifacts in both structuring and being structured by students' coordination practices. The current research project explores university students' use of tools and artifacts for collaborative project work by observing the work practices and decision-making processes of the students in an advanced interaction design class throughout an entire academic quarter. These students performed task work, articulation work, and metawork as they consulted their personal toolbelts, decided which tools to use, and then developed artifacts using those tools, all in order to create the necessary deliverables and final design products for the course they were taking. Students' decisions about how to structure their task work influence their choice of tools, and those choices in turn influence their processes of artifact creation as well as their performance of articulation work and metawork. This dissertation documents the reflexive nature of that relationship among students' tool-related decisions, artifact-related creative processes, and collaborative practice.