Ambient video awareness: “It’s great, but I still don’t want it”

Scott, Peter; Quick, Kevin; Tomadaki, Eleftheria and Linney, Jon (2006). Ambient video awareness: “It’s great, but I still don’t want it”. In: Innovative Approaches for Learning and Knowledge Sharing, EC-TEL 2006 Workshops Proceedings, 1-2 Oct 2006, Greece.



Video instant messaging tools are not as widely used as we would have predicted and have so far failed to fulfill their promise to become an indispensable tool of social presence, interacting within the workgroup environment and creating a sense of community. Whilst users are becoming comfortable with videoconferencing and software video meetings, the use of video in “awareness” is still very uncommon. Over a 2-year period, we have run 8 discrete Hexagon room studies on naturalistic “ambient video awareness”. Only one of these studies can be considered to be a (limited) success. This paper discusses some of the factors inhibiting the use of such tools in e-learning environments, based on users’ feedback on issues, such as the tool promotion, user interface, size of community and visibility concerns.

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