Summer CRA-W Distributed Mentor Project

  Computer-Supported Collaboration & Learning Lab
  Professor Mary Beth Rosson
  School of Information Science Technology, Penn State University

As part of the CRA-W DMP Summer Internship Project, I am working as a visiting research intern for Professor Mary Beth Rosson and the Computer Supported Collaboration and Learning Lab at Penn State University. (I'm a senior in Computer Science from Mills College). There are many current projects in the Lab, one of which is on-going development of the BRIDGE collaborative computing environment.

BRIDGE (Basic Resources for Integrated Distributed Group Environments)

This Java-based CSCW environment enables users to interact synchronously in real-time on the same object (like working on the same file at the same time), thus enhancing the collaborative learning experience. Applications that allow multi-user, interactive synchronicity over networks and on different data types is an on-going challenge for the CSCW research community.

BRIDGE is actually an updated version of the environment used in the MOOsburg Project, which was a GUI-based, real-time, virtual community network (like a MUD but with a GUI) used by a real community in southwest Virgnia called Blacksburg several years ago and still in use today by an online community of teachers in the TeacherBridge project.

Collaborative Map Editing Tool in BRIDGE

My initial task is to help my graduate student co-mentor, Lu Xiao, plan and design a Collaborative Map Editing Tool. This will be an interactive, synchronous, multi-user map editing tool in the Bridge environment. For detailed design notes on what the current map tool is capable of please see Lu's design notes and design issues. More design notes (just so I have everything in one place) are 'How to Add Navigation to Pre-existing Maps' and 'What we should consider in initializing two maps for navigation'.

Lu is a Ph.D. candidate in Human-Computer Interaction at the School of Information Sciences & Technologies at Penn State. She also finished her Masters in Computer Science with Professor Mary Beth Rosson and her husband, Professor John Carroll, when they were at Virginia Tech's Center for Human-Computer Interaction last year. Lu rocks and it's great to be able to work closely with a super-supportive grad student as well as with Professors Mary Beth and Jack Carroll and all of the Lab's research associates.


Currently the Lab is planning to collaborate with the developers of GeoTools who work for Penn State's GeoVISTA Center, a leader in high-end geovisualization software. One research goal is to implement a synchronous geocollaboration tool. Other key areas of interest include developing similar tools for emergency response and crisis management. It's an exciting time to be here and watch the formation of new research alliances.

The team I work with is also curently re-evaluating CORK, the Java toolkit upon which Bridge is built. CORK stands for Content Object Replication Kit and was developed while the group was at Virginia Tech. CORK supports the replication of Java objects across virtual machines on different hosts, and is one way of building distributed, collaborative application-layer systems. More on CORK...

For further details please see my project outlines and internship diary.

Also, I have a CSCL Lab project webpage.

Questions or comments can be emailed to eshon [put an 'at' symbol here] mills [dot] edu

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