I am always amazed at the proliferation of, and insularity between, similar uses of technology in different domains. I am on the committee of a student who is using a GSS (a group support system) called GroupSystems. These collaborative environments are rather parallel to LMS’s in an educational context, but specialized for buisness and meetings. They have many of the features of envirinments like cu-cme–integrated whiteboard, video, presentation etc, along with conferencing and other writing environments. In addition they have anonymous brainstorming, polling and summary functionality to get everyone’s ideas and then present summaries of these. Anonymity seems to be a big issue in these contexts and it is advertsized heavily in the various versions of this technology http://www.thefacilitator.com/htdocs/ems2.html
Business and other corporate and government groups, like NASA and Chrysler use this both locally, when everyone is in the same location and for distributed meetings. The packages are hosted and stored by companies, which is how they make money on it I assume.
The student is using these with a group of college teachers and collecting detailed accounts in an action research study of how such systems get implemented in their teaching and where the difficulties arise when there is no real training and support for such implementations. He is about to start collecting data, so I will learn more about these systems in the next little while.
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