Personal Home Pages in Academia: The Medium, its Adopters, and their Practices

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Personal Home Pages in

Academia: The Medium, its

Adopters, and their Practices

Jochen “Jeff” Rick

College of Computing / GVU Center

Georgia Tech

[email protected] http://home.cc.gatech.edu/je77

Outline

Motivation (Personal Home Pages are

Important)

Software (Motivating and Introducing

AniAniWeb)

Research Details / Findings

Design Issues

Conclusion

Introduction

| Motivation | Software | Research Findings | Design Issues | Conclusion

Personal Home Pages are

Important

Historical Importance

Personal home pages are one of the first established uses of the Web.

Personal home pages are the first uniquely digital genre (Dillon and Gushrowski, 2000).

Looking Forward

Increasingly, they serve vocational purposes.

The technology to support web authoring is improving.

Introduction |

Motivation

| Software | Research Findings | Design Issues | Conclusion

One Site:

The Owner’s Use

Introduction |

Motivation

| Software | Research Findings | Design Issues | Conclusion

One Site:

Academic Visits

Introduction |

Motivation

| Software | Research Findings | Design Issues | Conclusion

One Site:

Other Visits

Introduction |

Motivation

| Software | Research Findings | Design Issues | Conclusion

Static Personal Home

Pages

Problems

Content Creation is not

Emphasized

Publication is Awkward

Interaction is not

Facilitated

A Survey of Adopters in 2003

How do we address these shortcomings?

Web: Publication Model

Introduction | Motivation |

Software

| Research Findings | Design Issues | Conclusion

WikiWikiWeb

They solve many of the problems of static personal home pages:

Content creation is emphasized by a focus on creating (hyper)text.

Publication is made simple by a quick (wiki wiki) editing cycle.

People have been using wikis to collaborate and interact (e.g., CoWeb,

Wikipedia).

Wiki: Democratic Model

Introduction | Motivation |

Software

| Research Findings | Design Issues | Conclusion

But, wikis have their own problems.

Disadvantages (for Personal Home Pages)

Wikis are too open.

A personal home page needs more protection.

There is a person in charge: the owner.

Home-page adopters need more support for looks.

Wikis look more like wikis (e.g., a prominent edit link) than a personal home page.

A personal home page should be customizable, so that its owner can create a look that represents him or her.

Introduction | Motivation |

Software

| Research Findings | Design Issues | Conclusion

AniAniWeb

It uses wiki editing for content creation.

Utilize a hierarchical structure to organize content.

It supports a standard home page look that can be customized.

Its access-control model is a combination of secure and open.

AniAniWeb: Home Model

Introduction | Motivation |

Software

| Research Findings | Design Issues | Conclusion

Technological Hypotheses

1.

2.

Wiki features (quick authoring, interaction support, and collaboration support) can enhance the authoring of personal home pages over traditional (static) tools by better supporting established uses and making new uses possible.

Wiki technologies need to be augmented with more

access control

, more

structure

, and more support for

customizable looks

to better support the authoring of personal home pages.

Introduction | Motivation |

Software

| Research Findings | Design Issues | Conclusion

Sign-in

Viewing an

AniAniWeb

Introduction | Motivation |

Software

| Research Findings | Design Issues | Conclusion

Edit

Viewing an

AniAniWeb

Introduction | Motivation |

Software

| Research Findings | Design Issues | Conclusion

Editing an

AniAniWeb

Introduction | Motivation |

Software

| Research Findings | Design Issues | Conclusion

Data Collection

Fall 2003

AniAniWeb is Introduced

1.5 Years Later - 2 Years Later

Graduate students that use the AniAniWeb heavily are recruited for the research and interviewed.

Faculty members are interviewed to complement student interviews.

Sanity-check follow-up interviews are conducted.

The system is significantly updated, based on the information provided in the interviews.

Introduction | Motivation | Software |

Research Findings

| Design Issues | Conclusion

Research Findings

As a still evolving medium, there are several technological frames by which people author and view personal home pages: the professional academic home page, the indiscreet home page, an organizational repository, and the home page as mirror.

The use of personal home pages changes throughout an adopter’s journey from the periphery to the core of the academic community of practice.

As a self-presentation tool, personal home pages can allow some adopters to reflect on and actively construct their identities.

Personal home pages naturally lead to a multiple audience problem.

Introduction | Motivation | Software |

Research Findings

| Design Issues | Conclusion

Research Findings

As a still evolving medium, there are several technological frames by which people author and view personal home pages: the professional academic home page, the indiscreet home page, an organizational repository, and the home page as mirror.

The use of personal home pages changes throughout an adopter’s journey from the periphery to the core of the academic community of practice.

As a self-presentation tool, personal home pages can allow some adopters to reflect on and actively construct their identities.

Personal home pages naturally lead to a multiple audience problem.

Introduction | Motivation | Software |

Research Findings

| Design Issues | Conclusion

The Multiple Audience

Problem

A personal home page on the Web is open to anyone.

A search engine treats everyone the same.

Viewers can fall into many categories.

Introduction | Motivation | Software |

Research Findings

| Design Issues | Conclusion

The Multiple Audience

Problem

A personal home page on the Web is open to anyone.

A search engine treats everyone the same.

Viewers can fall into many categories.

These categories often overlap.

Different content is appropriate to different audiences.

Is this a problem?

Introduction | Motivation | Software |

Research Findings

| Design Issues | Conclusion

Is this a problem?

For smaller sites, such as I observed in my survey of static personal home pages, it is not much of a problem.

For participants in this research, it was a problem.

Because it was easy to edit content, AniAniWeb users created more (3 times) content.

The interactive features made it a convenient medium for new activities.

Introduction | Motivation | Software |

Research Findings

| Design Issues | Conclusion

The Multiple Audience

Problem in Academia

What is acceptable to academia?

Some Non-Professional Content

Some Like It

Furthers Integrative Trends

What is not acceptable to academia?

“Goofy” Unprofessional Content

Controversial Content (i.e., politics, sex, religion, drugs, etc.)

Introduction | Motivation | Software |

Research Findings

| Design Issues | Conclusion

The Multiple Audience

Problem in Academia

The Result: The Polite Home Page

Home Pages that Integrate Concerns

(professional, personal, etc.)

But, that content is censored to be polite.

Different adopters have different standards.

Thus, authors limit content to be more polite than they find acceptable.

Introduction | Motivation | Software |

Research Findings

| Design Issues | Conclusion

Implications of the

Multiple Audience Problem

Towards a Global Village

“Electric circuitry has overthrown the regime of

‘time’ and ‘space’ and pours upon us instantly and continuously the concerns of all other men. It has reconstituted dialogue on a global scale.”

(McLuhan and Fiore, 1967)

The Need for Access Control

There is a need to manage the multiple audience problem.

Introduction | Motivation | Software |

Research Findings

| Design Issues | Conclusion

Design Issues, Revisiting

Technological Theses

Use of Wiki

Authoring Content

Interaction / Collaboration

Beyond Wiki

Designing Looks

Access Control

Structure

Introduction | Motivation | Software | Research Findings |

Design Issues

| Conclusion

Authoring Content

Wiki editing made it much easier.

Wiki syntax is useful.

More Content

Static Sites: 12 HTML pages

AniAniWeb: 39 pages

High Revision

Professional Home Page

10 edits a month, 9 edit cycles per page

Significant Self Use

37 edits a month, 25 edit cycles per page

Introduction | Motivation | Software | Research Findings |

Design Issues

| Conclusion

Interaction /

Collaboration

Low Compared to Wikis

Important for Motivation and New Uses

Social Barriers

• “Who am I to edit your home pages?”

Technological Barriers

Access-control barriers make it difficult.

Keys to Successful Interaction

Lightweight and Set Up

Keys to Successful Collaboration

Privacy

Introduction | Motivation | Software | Research Findings |

Design Issues

| Conclusion

Designing Looks

The AniAniWeb Looks System

Site owners can add graphic files and edit a CSS file to modify a fairly standard look for personal home pages.

Several adopters succeeded.

You can’t please everyone.

Some wanted more control of CSS.

Others would have preferred a simpler system.

Adopters need a good beginning look.

Introduction | Motivation | Software | Research Findings |

Design Issues

| Conclusion

Designing Looks

The AniAniWeb Looks System

Site owners can add graphic files and edit a CSS file to modify a fairly standard look for personal home pages.

Several adopters succeeded.

You can’t please everyone.

Some wanted more control of CSS.

Others would have preferred a simpler system.

Adopters need a good beginning look.

Introduction | Motivation | Software | Research Findings |

Design Issues

| Conclusion

Access Control

It is vitally important.

It must satisfy multiple complex goals.

A Simple Interface

Useful Learning Curve

Supports a Wide Range of Users

The Owner

Strong Ties, Weak Ties, Latent Ties

Different Categories

Supports a Wide Range of Uses

Limiting Viewing Access

Enabling Access Beyond Viewing

Introduction | Motivation | Software | Research Findings |

Design Issues

| Conclusion

Access Control

Solution: Access Control Groups

Default Groups

Anonymous Visitors

Signed-in Users

Create New Groups

It must be easy for visitors to gain access.

Keywords

Knowing the URL

IP Addresses

Introduction | Motivation | Software | Research Findings |

Design Issues

| Conclusion

Structure

Useful for Organization

A page hierarchy works on a small scale.

Users were able to manage this easily.

Side Effects of Dividing the Space

Looks (Personal Section)

Access Control (Access by Section)

Introduction | Motivation | Software | Research Findings |

Design Issues

| Conclusion

Final Thoughts:

Authoring on the Web

• “As we look at the way a person uses the Web, it is simplest to improve the reception of information by adding new forms of graphics and multimedia. It is more difficult to imagine how best to allow a person to interact with the information, to create and modify it. Harder still is imagining how this computer screen can be used to allow one person to interact as one of many people interacting as a group. This is the order in which development has occurred to date, and will occur in the future.” (Berners-Lee, 1998, p. 160)

Introduction | Motivation | Software | Research Findings | Design Issues |

Conclusion

Acknowledgements

Research Participants

Committee

Mark Guzdial, Chair

Marina Umaschi Bers, Tufts University

Amy Bruckman

Janet Kolodner

Beth Mynatt

Fellow Students (CSL, LST, etc.)

Introduction | Motivation | Software | Research Findings | Design Issues |

Conclusion

Findings / Contributions

2.

3.

1.

4.

5.

6.

This case study conveys the potential use and meaning of personal home pages, by studying adopters of that new medium in an authentic context

(academia) and supporting their use with an advanced tool (AniAniWeb).

AniAniWeb is a concrete embodiment of the design principles for supporting personal home pages in academia.

This research identifies the importance of the multiple audience problem to personal home pages, shows how the problem develops and its ramifications, and suggests how technological features (mainly access control) can help adopters to address it.

This case study establishes several technological frames by which people author and view personal home pages: the professional academic home page, the indiscreet home page, an organizational repository, the home page as mirror.

This case study details how the use of a medium (personal home pages) changes throughout an adopter's journey from the periphery to the core of a community of practice (academia).

This research shows how personal home pages, as a self-presentation tool, can be a reflective medium, allowing for some adopters to reflect on and actively construct their identities.

Motivation | Software | Case Study |

Research Findings

| Design Issues | Conclusion

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