Introduction to Collaborative Interaction Mediated by Technology Design


In response to the raising global challenges (e.g., pandemy, climate change etc.) where remote collaboration has become radically more important, the need for designing and developing technologies that efficiently support collaborative interaction has become an even higher priority. This teaching activity aims to introduce the terms collaboration and collaborative interaction, instances of mediating technologies in space and time dimensions in which a collaborative interaction takes place along with the opportunities and challenges offered in these types of interactions.

In the exercise, the students are expected to work individually to analyse the mediating elements of an existing technology that is designed and used for human collaboration. Students will identify the elements that can be further improved in the tool and discuss further opportunities and challenges offered by the tool.

Learning Outcomes

On completing this module the students should be able to:

  • identify different domains of human collaborative interaction. 
  • describe design principles of how human collaborative interaction is mediated by technology design. 
  • discuss opportunities and challenges of different types of mediating technologies for collaborative interaction.
  • identify and give examples for technologies that offer collaborative interaction in different domains of space and time 
  • analyse different aspects of the technology design features that mediate collaborative interaction 
  • discuss opportunities and challenges offered by the selected tool for collaborative interaction

Teacher Guidance

This teaching activity consists of two main components, a lecture and an accompanying exercise. The expected length of the lecture is 30-45 minutes. The exercise can be given varying amount of time, but a couple of hours is recommended giving a total duration of about 3 hours.

  1. In the lecture (30 min), the teacher introduces students the concept and principles of collaborative interaction mediated by technology and runs a discussion about current and future opportunities and challenges of technology design in supporting human collaboration.
  2. For the exercise (90 min), the students analyze an existing tool based on its design elements that serve as mediator of collaborative interaction
  3. The teacher checks what the students are doing (while the students are working), and advises on aspects to consider.
  4. The students share their practice outputs with peers (45min), and discuss the opportunities and challenges offered by the tools for collaborative interaction with respect to the design elements of the tool that they analyzed.
  5. The teacher chairs a class discussion, asking for reflections on experiences (10 min), and consolidating the lessons learned.

Recommended Readings




HCI Theory, Time / Space Groupware Matrix


Design and engineering in higher education


Online, face-to-face, or hybrid


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