MAS 837: Collaboration between People, Computers and Things - Ishii, Lieberman

Class Exercise: Collaborative Web Browsing Experiment


The object of this experiment is to make some observations on how people collaborate on a shared task, and how computers could provide active assistance to people working on a task, either alone or together.

The Experimental Setup

The task we will consider is browsing the Web, a task presumably familiar to all of you. Each team will consist of three people: a Searcher, an Assistant, and an Observer. Try to form the team so that the person most expert in the Web has the role of Assistant, and the person least expert is the Searcher. The Observer is passive during the experiment and should only take notes as to what is happening. Each team will have one computer using Netscape on the Web.

Each team will be given the same list of questions to answer, in the style of the Internet Treasure Hunt. The Searcher must look for the answers to the questions on a Web site. Most of the time, the Searcher usually operates the Netscape interface looking for answers. The job of the Assistant is to provide assistance to the searcher.

Full description of the exercise

"Treasure Hunt" questions to answer during the exercise

Questions to answer after the exercise