Collaborative Pre-Writing with a Video-Based Group Working Memory
Bolter, J. David
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Synthesis is a computer-controlled multimedia tool to enhance group communication during the early stages of collaborative work. Synthesis operates in two modes: one for recording collaborative sessions and one for playback and editing. A face-to-face meeting is recorded on video tape while one member of the group takes notes using Storyspace, an outline processor. Synthesis automatically associates the current video segment with that entry in the outline. Later one or more of the participants can review the notes and call up the appropriate video segment. Synthesis provides an external working memory for information that would otherwise go unrecorded and forgotten. Our early experiences using it for real writing projects suggests that the video record is used in a variety of ways to jog the writer's memory for discussion elements.