ITcon Vol. 13, pg. 674-690, http://www.itcon.org/2008/37

Lessons learned from the use of interactive workspaces for student team design project meetings

submitted:January 2008
revised:June 2008
published:December 2008
editor(s):Messner J
authors:Mohamed Issa, PhD Candidate
University of New Brunswick, Canada
e-mail: m.issa@unb.ca

Jeff Rankin, Associate Professor and M. Patrick Gillin Chair in Construction Engineering and Management,
University of New Brunswick, Canada
e-mail: rankin@unb.ca

John Christian, Professor Emeritus,
University of New Brunswick, Canada
e-mail: jchristian@unb.ca

Evan Pemberton, Graduate Student,
University of New Brunswick, Canada
e-mail: g441z@unb.ca
summary:An Interactive Collaboration Laboratory (ICL) has been established at the University of New Brunswick (UNB) to research the application of interactive information and communication environments for the architectural, engineering, and construction (AEC) industry. This paper provides a quick overview of the laboratory within the wider context of interactive collaborative workspaces. It identifies opportunities to enhance information communication, and group decision-making offered by the laboratory, and focuses on lessons learned to date from its use. The paper reports on a survey conducted among senior year undergraduate students who used the environment over the course of three months for their senior design project meetings. A questionnaire was administered to those students to investigate the relative impact of the environment upon the effectiveness of their meetings and decisions, the issues and processes where the environment was more or less useful, and the relative value and usefulness of the environment for the team’s needs. Students found the laboratory to be conducive to learning and collaboration. The environment was effective in preventing loss of information, and information representation. It increased participation, and encouraged decision-making by consensus. Students found it useful in explaining and presenting information to others, and in promoting greater understanding among members of the team. They also felt that the technology was easy to use and operate, requiring minimal external assistance. Nevertheless, they were not always sure about how available technology could be used to improve their work. The environment also seemed less effective in improving work productivity and decision-making. There was less agreement on the speed with which meetings progressed, and the extent to which meeting agendas were followed. It was also less effective in facilitating the access, retrieval and capture of information. The environment was more prohibitive in terms of individual expression. It was also less useful in generating and developing new information and in predicting the impact of changes on interim decisions. While results might vary from one user group to another and from one meeting scenario to another, it is imperative that additional tools and techniques are provided to address those imperfections for that particular group of users and that particular meeting purpose.
keywords:Interactive Workspaces, Collaborative Environments, Information and Communication Technologies, Student Team Design Projects
full text: (PDF file, 0.283 MB)
citation:Issa M, Rankin J, Christian J, Pemberton E (2008). Lessons learned from the use of interactive workspaces for student team design project meetings, ITcon Vol. 13, Special issue Virtual and Augmented Reality in Design and Construction, pg. 674-690, http://www.itcon.org/2008/37