Designing a Mix of Synchronous and Asynchronous Media for VMT
The challenges of designing computer support for education have shifted considerably in recent years, with, e.g., the rapid growth of the Web, online learning and social networking. New human–computer interaction (HCI) design approaches, methods, tools and theories are now required to analyze and understand interactions and learning of online groups. This chapter first reviews a number of issues related to the new software and pedagogy challenges. It then presents the approach of the VMT research project to address these issues by combining support for integrated synchronous and asynchronous collaboration media. The VMT system integrates a lobby, small-group chat rooms, multiple shared work spaces and community wiki pages to foster learning at the individual, small-group and community levels. The use of this system for a college HCI course is reported. The VMT Project illustrates the application of design-based research to system development, the theory of group cognition as a conceptual framework and an adaptation of chat interaction analysis for HCI design.