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Knowledge and Information Awareness for Fostering Computer-Supported Collaboration

Knowledge Exchange Lab


May 2005- November 2009


Budget resources of KMRC, Margarete von Wrangell-Habilitation Program supported by the European Social Fund, and by the Ministry for Science, Research, and Arts Baden-Württemberg.


Net-based collaboration by spatially distributed group members is increasingly important, despite the fact that it still involves problems, especially interaction problems within the group. One of the reasons for these kinds of problems in computer-supported collaboration is the reduced contextual information, like reduced nonverbal communication.
This research project suggested "Knowledge and Information Awareness" as a solution for these problems. Knowledge and Information Awareness is defined as being aware of a group member regarding the collaborators' knowledge structures and information resources underlying these knowledge structures (e.g., Engelmann, Tergan & Hesse, 2010; Keller, Tergan, & Coffey, 2006). In this project it was investigated whether a particular tool - which is operationalized by digital concept maps representing the collaborators' knowledge structures and the information resources underlying these knowledge structures - may generate Knowledge and Information Awareness and whether Knowledge and Information Awareness results in an improved communication and coordination and, therefore, in an improved group performance. In addition, it was started to investigate the supposable impact factors included in the applied tool. Regarding the theoretical perspective the concept Knowledge (and Information) Awareness and already established related concepts, like transactive memory system or common ground, were differentiated.


  • Engelmann, T., Dehler, J., Bodemer, D. & Buder, J. (2009). Knowledge awareness in CSCL: a psychological perspective. Computers in Human Behavior, 25 (4), 949-960.
  • Engelmann, T., Tergan, S.-O. & Hesse, F.W. (2010). Evoking knowledge and information awareness for enhancing computer-supported collaborative problem solving. The Journal of Experimental Education, 78, 1-20. (DOI: 10.1080/00220970903292850)
  • Keller, T., Tergan, S.-O., & Coffey, J. (2006). Concept maps used as a "knowledge and information awareness" tool for supporting collaborative problem solving in distributed groups. In A. J. Cañas, & J. D. Novak (Eds.), Concept Maps: Theories, Methodology, Technology. Proceedings of the Second International Conference on Concept Mapping (pp. 128-135). San José: Sección de Impresión SIEDIN.