Visualizing Argumentation –Software Tools for Collaborative and Educational Sense-Making
Reviewer: Jin Tan David Yang
Our world is a combination of chaos and order. In the orderly world, we can handle it easily by computer software algorithms. Conversely, in the chaos world such as teaching/learning in a classroom, discussing a paper in a research group, and so on, we cannot specify all the whole processes before we do it because those cases are “wicked” instead of well-defined problems in terms of organizational landscapes. To resolve wicked problems in an organization, collaborative problem solving, conversations, and teamwork are designed for generating new knowledge or getting a consensus. In other words, how to get those participants get consensus through interactions or argumentations on the locality or on the web, we need visually technology tools to connect all stakeholders together in the cyber space for making sense discussions.
It is not a sudden issue, but a long argument history on visualization in collaborative work. Recently, the nature of visualization in collaborative on the web is a kind of Computer-Supported Cooperative Work (CSCW) to deal with those wicked problems ahead of our society. The CSCW emphasizing on augmenting social activity is similar with the central problems for HCI that dealing with users to face the social-technical gap. It is generally accepted that CSCW stakeholders appear to be an effective way for organizations to handle wicked problems and to share knowledge outside of the traditional structural boundaries. This book presents the existing CSCW case studies and argues that the challenge of the social-technical gap creates an opportunity to refocus CSCW as a new research orientation.
Reviewing the past literature, four stages is worthwhile to be categorized as follows:
Clearly written and well organized in this edited book, the purpose of Argument Visualization is to enlighten human intellect by creating collective intellect through dialogues as well as by fostering sense-making learning among participants. In this book, readers can find two features special:
The remaining parts of this book
In chapter 1, two articles are mentioned by two scientists-
Vancouver Bush (1945) and Douglas Engelbart (1962). Bush envisioned a
near future system based on his historical literature
In chapter 2, why do people think differently about an object? It is very hard to get consistent agreement in a social group since there are many misconceptions in people’s minds. One might view an object from content, format of content, or operator of content. They use their existing concepts to interpret what they sense in their world. Therefore, to resolve those coordination problems needs multiple agents in terms of cognitive and communicative demands. In this chapter, Computer-Supported Argumentation Visualization (CSAV) environment is firstly explored.
In chapter 3, two CSCW net-meeting systems have been introduced. They are Belvedere and Allaire forum. The former provides synchronous form of argumentation. Conversely, the latter offers asynchronous or indirect form. Additionally, the TC3 (Text Composer, Computer Supported & Collaborative) environment is conducted as experimentation design. Four independent variables are Control, Diagram, Outline, and Advisor. The research results show that the experimental groups that supported by Diagram, Advisor, and Outline (DAO) are more structured in their direct communication than that of the control group. It means that the planning tools by DAO stimulate a more structured dialogue.
In Chapter 4, the real application has been extended to legal argumentation rather than scientific proofs. A study by Moshman and Geil (1988) provides clear evidence for cognitive value of collaborative learning. The research gives the reason why people need to work collaboratively. Also, CSAV supports the organization and representation of reasoning skill, enabling students to organize their oral and written argumentation process by re-use legal knowledge.
In Chapter 5, it focuses on enhancing deliberation through CSAV. Three key concepts are introduced sequentially. Firstly, the definition of deliberation is a form of thinking in which we decide where we stand on some claim in light of the relevant arguments. Secondly, CSAV can enhance the critical thinking in terms of deliberation processes. Finally, group deliberation via argument visualization contributes substantially to the quality of group decision support system (GDSS).
In Chapter 6, original IBIS was developed in the early 1970s as a tool to support planning and policy design process. The case study reports on 10 years of continuous usage of Dialog Mapping by a group of approximately 50 users in the environment Affairs division of Southern California Edison (SCE). Also, some principles for introducing dialog mapping into a new organization are summarized. Actually, you can download the QuestMap, providing some hypertext and groupware features, with free charge from website http://www.compendiuminstitute.org/tools/questmap.htm to resolve a complex task by group dialogs or collective intelligence.
In Chapter 7, two key ideas in this chapter are (a). Linking visual sense-making and dialogue for fostering collective intelligence is a shared activity or a process of collaborative inquiry; (b). How to be a successful facilitator to foster collective intelligence is summarized. Also, several case studies that illustrate how many of facilitating dimensions can coexist for a single group or within a specific project setting.
In Chapter 8 and 9, e-mail, electronic discussion groups, and electronic chat rooms have facilitated the development of communities of practice-- a group whose members regularly engage in sharing and learning, based on their common interests during the past few years. Now MSN software like messenger or net-meeting with the popularity of ADSL offers a better environment for CSCW than ever before. The prediction of infrastructure for navigating interdisciplinary debates in this chapter has pointed out that web-based CSCW will be come sooner in terms of paradigm shift.
Finally, I would like to quote the claim in the preface of this book as follows,
Indeed, this book presents its pioneer role in the CSCW research, and gives visions on the application of CSAV. The experiences from case studies in this book will be highly valuable for any reader who is interested in information technology, computer-in-education, psychology, HCI, knowledge management, computer engineering, or policy makers.
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