CSCL99 CSCA: Computer-Supported Collaborative Argumentation, Stanford

“Computer-Supported Collaborative Argumentation for Learning Communities” is an international workshop being held at Stanford University, CA this weekend, bringing together for the first time researchers and commercial system developers working on collaborative-technologies to augment argumentation.

The event precedes the bi-annual CSCL’99 conference which will attract 300-400 international delegates. Convened by KMi’s Simon Buckingham Shum, the workshop topic of CSCA seeks to combine hypermedia and groupware technologies with rhetorical and meeting process research in order to pursue the goal set out in the 1960’s by visionary Doug Englebart, who envisaged technologies that could represent and augment human conceptual structures and reasoning.

  • Position papers and further details can be found below:
    Workshop: CSCA for Learning Communities:
    CCSL’99 Conference:
    CSCA resource site:


Archived at:;353c1f4d.99

Dear all,

The first CSCA workshop is happening! For those of you working at the
intersection of CSCA with learning, this is an excellent opportunity to
meet up. Please consider submitting a position paper, and circulate to



CSCL’99 Workshop: Call for Position Papers


11th-12th December, 1999, Stanford University

Computer-Supported Collaborative Learning’99
12th-15th December

Position papers are requested for the first workshop on Computer-Supported
Collaborative Argumentation (CSCA) to be held at a CSCL conference,
initiated to recognise the critical mass of argumentation research that has
developed in recent years. The workshop aims to build links between
researchers from diverse backgrounds, and to focus future technical and
conceptual efforts.

Workshop Topics

Argumentation research has roots in fields including philosophy, education
and design theory. CSCA is concerned with the design of human-computer
interaction to augment and mediate argumentation in groups, and broadly,
addresses the problems of supporting individuals or groups in:

Analysing the structure of ideas and ill-structured problems
Representing and debating the merits of different perspectives.

This workshop is focused on the intersection between CSCA and CSCL: what
properties of CSCA environments can support learning? “Learning” is defined
from a lifelong learning perspective, embracing physical and distributed
communities of practice in both academic school/university contexts, and
professional workplaces.

CSCA’s successes and failures result from complex interactions between
factors including domain and argumentation knowledge, training in CSCA
tools, user interface design, and motivation to use CSCA. A focus on any one
factor in isolation has proven to be shortsighted.

Submissions are invited to illuminate the core question:

* In what contexts are CSCA tools most effectively

Related issues include:

* What is the scope and representational granularity of
CSCA tools?

* CSCA for learning? What evidence do you have that your
system (or one you’ve evaluated) supports learning in
your user community? What are the key factors that
promote effective use?

* What didn’t work? Reflect on failures in deploying
your system (or one you’ve evaluated).

* How did you evaluate your system? Evaluative data is
expensive to collect and analyze. What kinds of data
does/could your CSCA system capture? How can it be
analyzed? What counts as ‘good evidence’ in your

* What is ‘CSCA literacy’? All scholars and analysts are
supposed to be able to engage in structured, critical
reasoning, but CSCA tools typically require modes of
interaction that make that structure explicit. When is
this a problem and when an advantage? What
skills/training are needed in order to use your system

* Technologies: How does your system work? What are the
key interactional/user interface issues? Does your
CSCA system integrate with other systems? What would a
next generation CSCA environment look like?

* Integrating CSCA resources. How can the CSCA community
better leverage its parallel efforts?

Intended Audiences

We invite participation from researchers and practitioners actively engaged
in the design or evaluation of CSCA systems for learning communities:

* Academic learning communities include high school and university
students (e.g. learning to analyse debates and construct scholarly
cases), and ‘qualified researchers’ (e.g. analysing a research
literature; formal peer review; conducting structured debates about
* Non-academic learning communities have CSCA-relevant concerns such as
analysing ill-structured problems, improving reflective practice and
maintaining group memories and rationale (which are course also
relevant for academics).

Pre-Workshop Activities

The workshop is adopting the ‘bootstrapping’ approach of using its own tools
to represent its own ideas, with the goal of grounding online and face-face
discussions in real, familiar examples:

* workshop participants will use a CSCA web/e-mail environment to discuss
position papers prior to and possibly following the conference
* participants will be strongly encouraged to use their CSCA tools to
model the ideas and pre-workshop discussions which they will then
present at the workshop.

Workshop Format

The workshop adopts an innovative format, starting Saturday afternoon,
followed by dinner and informal discusion, concluding the following morning.
The program will build on the pre-workshop discussion amongst participants,
prioritising discussion, software demonstrations and design critiques to
make the best use of our time together.

Post-Workshop Activities

The final part of the workshop will address ways in which to build on the
event. Possibilities for discussion include:

* consolidation of workshop papers into a journal special issue
* a more structured software repository for CSCA technologies
* XML DTD working group
* follow-on workshop

Submission Requirements & Review Process

Participation will be limited to 15, with papers selected by the organizing

Authors should indicate clearly if there are associated demonstrations that
they will bring.

Position papers should not exceed 6 A4 pages total (12 point font, single

Preferred format: HTML (but Word and RTF also accepted)

Submissions should be e-mailed to Simon Buckingham Shum
<mailto:[log in to unmask]> by:

7th October

Notification of acceptance:

5th November

— followed by pre-workshop online discussions.

Organizing Committee

Simon Buckingham Shum
(Knowledge Media Institute, The Open University, UK)
Chad Carr
(Northern Illinois University, USA)
Jeffrey Conklin
(Group Decision Support Systems, Inc., USA)
Thomas Gordon
(German National Research Center for Information Technology, Germany)
Albert M. Selvin
(Bell Atlantic Corporation, USA)
Michael Twidale
(University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, USA)

Workshop Chair’s Contact Details:

Dr Simon Buckingham Shum
Knowledge Media Institute, The Open University, Milton Keynes, MK7 6AA, U.K.
E- mailto:[log in to unmask]
Tel: +44 (1908) 655723
Fax: +44 (1908) 653169

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