Author: Schadewitz, Nicole
Title: Design patterns for cross-cultural computer-supported collaboration
Degree: Ph.D.
Year: 2008
Subject: Hong Kong Polytechnic University -- Dissertations.
Design -- Cross-cultural studies.
Communication in design -- Software -- Development.
Intercultural communication.
Department: School of Design
Pages: xxiii, 452 p. : ill. ; 30 cm.
Language: English
Abstract: Collaboration in design has become a geographically distributed and culturally dispersed activity. Increasingly, design educators see the need to prepare young designers for an international market by providing students with skills not only for design but also for intercultural communication. Hence, research into computer-supported intercultural collaborative design learning is becoming more important. A central problem in this endeavour is how to communicate knowledge about cross-cultural differences in collaboration to designers and educators in order to facilitate the design of courses and interactive technologies to support intercultural collaboration. Design patterns were found to offer a valuable format to communicate knowledge of successful design solutions to recurring problems. A diverse range of design pattern collections has been developed, including patterns for human-computer interaction and computer-supported collaboration. However, there is a lack of research into design patterns that differentiate the applicability of the proposed design solution across different nations. Although a design pattern is situated within a certain context, researchers have not yet examined how cross-cultural differences might influence the validity and effectiveness of a design solution within different cultural contexts. However, in an increasingly multi-cultural environment designers need to be aware of differences that can effect the usefulness of a design solution across cultures. Pattern languages have been developed and applied in many fields over the last 40 years, and researchers have proposed a variety of methodologies for recognizing and expressing recurring design solutions in design pattern format. Though there is little coherence between most of these methodologies, a number of researchers have adopted a promising approach to identifying recurring design problems and solutions through ethnographic observation and analysis. This thesis investigates how patterns for facilitating intercultural design education contexts can be identified through qualitative and comparative analysis of a long-term ethnographic study of cross-cultural computer-supported collaborative design learning. The core findings of this research are based on a three-year ethnographic study of intercultural computer-supported collaboration between groups of students from Hong Kong, Korea, Austria and Taiwan. A qualitative research approach was utilized for the discovery of regularities in the observed collaborations, and a comparative research approach was employed to discover similarities and differences across cultural contexts. Data from the first year was analysed inductively to identify reoccurring themes in design collaboration. This guided the observation of collocated activity and analysis of online conversations in the second year of this study. A map of recurring design solutions was constructed from this analysis. Eleven design patterns were written based on this analysis and presented to designers for evaluation in a pattern workshop. Based on the feedback from this workshop, in the third year of this study an in-depth analysis of computer-mediated interaction between Hong Kong and Korean students, and their local tutors, was carried out. A deductive coding scheme, informed by theories of intercultural and cross-cultural communication research, was employed to guide the analysis and articulation of design patterns for intercultural collaboration. Within this research, an inductive and deductive methodology for identifying and articulating design patterns was developed. Therein, eleven patterns for intercultural computer-supported collaboration in Hong Kong/Korean design-learning teams were identified and written. In an ensuing cross-cultural comparative analysis those patterns were evaluated in terms of their occurrence and applicability across different national contexts. In the comparison of collaboration between Hong Kong students and those from Korea, Austria and Taiwan, the validity of the majority of the proposed design patterns could be defined for collectivist community and hierarchical authority oriented cultures such as Korea or Taiwan. In addition, some design patterns with an extended validity could be detected through this comparison. This research contributes to the development of knowledge in cross-cultural computer-supported collaboration research in design and learning contexts. It advances design methodologies for identifying and articulating design patterns for cross-cultural computer-supported collaboration. Findings of this research also add to the understanding and applicability of existing design patterns for computer-supported collaboration.
Access: open access

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