published in 2001 in CAAD Futures, pages 401-414
Many papers in recent CAD research have reported on case studies involving use of the Internet as a collaboration medium for professional work and student design projects. These projects may involve little or no face-to-face interaction among participants prior to their net-based collaboration. Often, in spite of available technology, many participants do not avail themselves of all the communications tools at their disposal and the results are dominated by individual, not collaborative, endeavor. This paper reviews sociological understanding of small group behavior in face to face communications (Goffman, ??) and develops the rationale for extending desktop workgroup software to incorporate "passive" or "peripheral" monitoring of group members and overall group activities. A prototype framework of such a system is described and used to illustrate some of the ways in which this approach enhances the group experience.