What are the seven major collaborative technologies? What feature or features does each technology offer for communication and productivity?

Collaborative Technology Features
Email Has the SMTP server which adds date and time information, and then directs the message to the server identified after the @ sign.

Email enables people to send people instant messages to each other quickly

Has the Address Book, Business Cards, And Contact Management?

Has Adding calendars and appointment scheduling, crucial in time management.

Discussion Forums ·   Enables sharing company information, coordination of activities

·   It acts as an online suggestion box.

·   The forums enable moderation so as nurture discussion, delete unacceptable posts and block users who violate rules

·   Enables posting anonymously.

Instant Messaging and texting ·   IM consists of real-time text-based interactions over a network

·   Features presence awareness which allows users to display their current status to their contacts, colleagues, or buddy list.

·   Some feature the war room which is a large area in which team members on the same project work closely together, surrounded by whiteboards, large digital displays, and other tools to facilitate impromptu meetings and smooth collaboration.

Group Decision Support Systems (GDSS) ·   Has a shared server that connects various people in a group when they are in a face-to-face meeting.

·    Has a software that allows each member to type his or her contributions anonymously.

Web Conferencing ·   Supports online meetings via the Internet.

·    Participants join the meeting from their own computers or smartphones and use headsets with microphones or phone conferencing.

·   Real-time audio and video support

·    Support for PowerPoint or other slide presentations

·   Interactive whiteboards, with drawing tools and color coding for each participant

·   Text-based chat

·   Polling software

·   Web-based clients for both desktop computers and mobile phones

·   Desktop application sharing, in which the meeting participants or audience can see whatever application the host is running on the desktop

·   Archiving recordings so participants who missed the event can play it back

·   Registration systems for fee-based enrollments

·   Web-conferencing applications take advantage of mashups to support shared web

Interactive Video ·   Allows participants to see facial expressions and other nonverbal aspects of communication.

·   Higher-end interactive video systems can dramatically
improve the interaction with crystal-clear images and audio.

·   With telepresence, remote participants are almost life-sized and images are vividly clear.

·    Enables eye contact that is more natural, and voices are well synched to lip movements.

Shared Places ·   Discussion forums

·   Team calendars

·    Team announcements

·   Shared task lists with task status, due dates, priorities, and assignments

·   Email alerts to inform team members of updates to the shared
workspace

·   Member lists with contact information

·   Search functionality

·   Content management capabilities with checkout and version control

·   Collaborative document editing

·   Workflow management

8-2. What are the five Web 2.0 technologies that facilitate collaboration? What features does each technology provide?

Web 2.0 technologies Features
Blog ·   Facilitates collaboration and knowledge sharing. The posts are displayed in reverse order so that the most recent appears on top.
Wikis ·   Allows users to add and edit interlinked web pages

·   It keeps track of versions and lets users view the history of changes to each page, along with discussions about the page’s content.

·   It enables the creation centralize documents and create knowledge storehouses that employees can edit as needed.

Social Networking ·   It has a “wall”: the user can post updates, adding commentary, links, or images about current happenings.

·   It also has a space for firm to advertised their products with the ability of precisely targeting a group.

Microblogging ·  posts are quite short,

·  contains a brief sentence fragment, link to another web resource or video.

·  Blog entries appear in reverse chronological order.

·  Allows users to follow other users

·  Followers can reply to posts or repeat them for the benefit of their own followers.

Virtual Worlds ·  Provides a 3D environment in which users can immerse themselves, interacting with virtual objects and one another using avatars.

·  Some advanced virtual reality systems enhance the illusion of physical immersion in a virtual world.

·  In the world characters communicate using microphones and chat boxes.

8-3. What is presence awareness? How does it add value to instant messaging? What are examples of ways that presence awareness facilitates collaboration?

IM software feature that allows users to display their current status to their contacts, colleagues, or buddy list. The application makes instant messaging easier as it shows whether a person being communicated to is available to answer a question, pick up the phone, or stop by for a brief meeting. Instant messaging can become a collaborative through presence awareness as even in a building, it can be used to keep IM client active all day long to receive brief text messages. Another mechanism is through the use of the war room, which is a large area in which team members on the same project work closely together, surrounded by whiteboards, large digital displays, and other tools to facilitate impromptu meetings and smooth collaboration. Through the war room, team members are ware of one another’s presence so they can get an immediate response.
8-4. What are unified communications? What are examples of integrated features of unified communications? How do unified communications contribute to collaboration?

Unified communications (UC) is the technology that integrates multiple communications channels and applications into a single interface, which is accessible from many different devices. Some of the integrated features of unified technology are Voice calls, Conferencing (audio, video, web), Messaging (email, voicemail), Instant messaging, and Presence awareness. It makes the process of communication efficient by informing individuals whether one is available for hands-free cell-phone conversations, or other means of communications. Collaboration is improved by the fact that when a person is talking on the phone, the person’s status will automatically switch to “in a call” so coworkers know that phoning the person at that moment would be a waste of time.
8-5. What are the five distinguishing features of online environments? How does each affect human behavior?

Unfamiliar Communication Tools: QWERTY keyboards, controls, mice, cameras, and
microphones are more complicated to use to communicate, often interfering with smooth interactions.
Reduced Media Richness: Text-based online interactions are particularly lacking in media richness, with no nonverbal cues to refine and clarify messages.
Greater Physical Distance: Online interactions occur between people who are both physically separate, and also alone with their computers or other devices.
Heightened Anonymity: Many online environments heighten the perception of anonymity, making participants feel as though they are not identifiable to others.

Unclear Audience: Since electronic communications can be archived and easily transmitted to others, the size and composition of the audience is not clear.
8-6. What are group norms? How does the online environment affect group norms? What is disinhibition? What are other ways in which the online environment influences group dynamics?

Group Norms are informal and unwritten rules that govern individuals in a group. Disinhibition is a process through which people express themselves more bluntly, abruptly, or aggressively in an online environment than they would in face-to-face settings. Online dynamics also influences group dynamics in that it tends to flatten out hierarchies and equalize status, partly because many of the cues used to establish status are less apparent, creating more personal relationships between the group members. The adoption of an online based business environment can lead to the weakening of trust especially people don’t have face to face interactions that fosters trust. Technology glitches can also impact on the level of trust.
8-7. How can virtual team members make their teams more successful? What are some of the things virtual team leaders can do to make their teams more successful?

Team members can appoint a leader, clarify his role, develop written team charter to ensure team members agree on goals, expectations for work styles, conflict resolution, and team member evaluation strategies, agree on a decision-making strategy, and Practice with the technologies before they are needed for intense tasks with upcoming deadlines.  Team members can also Communicate and share information frequently, hold an in-person meeting or interactive video session at the start of the project to build trust, Review the communication processes for any sign of disinhibition, and regularly communicate with team members in case of family emergencies, blizzard, or illness.

On the other hand, team leaders can:

  • Try and get to know each team member so as to build trust and know the contribution of each person
  • Arrange a synchronous session and invite members to introduce themselves to kick off the project, using interactive video, in-person meetings, conference call, or chat.
  • Use the kick-off meeting to raise awareness of any differences in culture or working styles.
  • Use a relatively structured leadership style, with clearly documented assignments, deadlines, and expectations.
  • Enhance group cohesiveness and team identity through team-building exercises, team charter, and other means.
  • Choose collaborative technologies wisely and arrange training to ensure team members know how to use them.
  • Use synchronous collaborative tools, preferably with video, to discuss sensitive topics.
  • Encourage participation by all members, contacting any who have contributed little to learn why.
  • Send out frequent reminders about upcoming events and deadlines.
  • Use encouragement and praise publicly, but convey constructive criticism privately