July 23rd, 2021
Collaborative Virtual Environments have been increasingly used in supporting group work. Several collaborative systems have come up in recent years as a way of meeting the ever changing needs of group work, with asymmetric setups being the latest addition to a diverse collection of systems. In recent years, we see attempts at multi-domain collaboration. Research on interdisciplinary collaboration reveals a need for supporting a hybrid of tools and representations that are familiar to users of different domains.
In this dissertation, I present a prototype implementation of a Hybrid Collaborative Virtual Environment that combines multiple representations to facilitate multi-domain collaboration. Preliminary evaluation of the prototype showed that hybridization of different representations can lead to role formation due to dependency on representations, when users are limited to interacting with a single representation. Integrating shared views and shared interaction into this Hybrid Collaborative Virtual Environment with the help of a large shared display environment can help solve the representational dependency issue. Shared views and shared interactions enable users to freely interact with any of the different representations and also eases communication amongst them. I evaluate this integration by means of a formal study having a within group design: A group of three participants perform collaborative tasks using the Hybrid Collaborative Virtual Environment with and without the integration of shared views and shared interactions. I discuss the results of the study and show how shared views and shared interaction improves the collaborative experience.
Bharadwaj, K. K. N., Hybrid Collaborative Virtual Environments, Submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy in Computer Science, Graduate College of the University of Illinois at Chicago, Chicago, IL, July 23rd, 2021.