Online Deliberation and Collective Intelligence
My current research focuses on the socio-technical factors influencing the design and uptake of Online Deliberation and Collective Intelligence infrastructures. These are online environments which seek to improve collective awareness of the changing environment, and collective capacity to make the best use of expertise to problem solve, and adapt appropriately.
Collective Intelligence (CI) research investigates the design of infrastructures to enable collectives to think and act intelligently, and intriguingly, more intelligently than individuals. Technologies such as idea management or argumentation tools, blogs, wikis, chats, forums, Q&A sites, and social networks provide unprecedented opportunities for entire communities or organizations to express a discourse and act at a massive scale, but very little is known on:
- When does effective discourse help a collective outperform individuals?
- What functions should the next generation of social platforms support?
- How can we allow communities to efficiently manage many diverse ideas, argument, and deliberate?
- What patterns in discourse and action can be modelled computationally?
I have particular interests in knowledge construction through discourse, and the role of technology in scaffolding dialogue and argumentation in contested domains, in which there is more than one point of view. The approaches I work with are network-centric, modelling and visualizing ideas and arguments as networks of nodes which can be analysed for topographical and semantic patterns.
My research interest focus on artefact centred discourse in the field of participatory design, educational technology and scholarly communication. In particular I investigate the design, implementation and uptake of new hypermedia discourse tools to enhance participantion and build collective intelligence.
Hypermedia discourse investigates the theories, methodologies and tools to build, visualize and analyze ‘conversations’ into new communication dimensions.
How? By fragmenting, structuring and representing conversations in new forms and with new digital media and tools.
Hypermedia discourse research is both into the field of :
- Discourse classifications
- Discourse analysis
- Discourse representation
and it looks at both the technological and rhetorical aspects of communication through language and discourse.
Knowldge Media and e-Participanation
In the course of my PhD I investigated technologies to support knowledge representation and management in Participatory Urban and Environmental Planning domain.
The research centred on the study of a Collaborative Project Memory platform designed: i. to record and assist knowledge generation and management, ii. to keep trace of the design rationale, explaining reasons behind design decisions.
The main objective of my PhD research was to addressed the challenge to transparent knowledge integration, focusing on the definition of new methods and tools to handle and integrate knowledge in urban planning in order to trace how design decisions develop, starting from which knowledge and why, that is to say tracing the planning project memory.
In the thesis I propose: i. a ‘knowledge structure’ and knowledge objects taxonomy in order to represent and manage knowledge in planning; ii. a multimedia tools platform to represent knowledge evolution along the planning project according to this knowledge structure. The main contributions of the thesis concerns the application of the knowledge structure to collect, annotate and represent knowledge within a Knowledge Management System (Compendium), when using it for collaborative design and deliberation in the planning domain.
Compendium has been used as Project-Memory Information System and applied to several case studies in teh Plannig field in which the knowledge structure has been used as framework to acquire, trace and represent knowledge.
Evaluation studies have been conducted on multiple case studies in order to test both the method (knowledge structure for knowledge acquisition and representation) and the tools (Compendium, FM and CoPe_it!) in real planning cases.
Evidences are given of how the knowledge structure coupled with the use of the platform components, offers a valuable support to managing knowledge in Participatory Planning Practices.
The Project Memory platform is composed of three tools (Compendium, FM and CoPe_it!). The three tools support knowledge managment by tracking, classifying, organizing, representing and exchanging knowledge.
The PhD research project include studies about the integration of the trhee tools in the Project Memory platform. The Implementation of the integrations and their application in real case studies are presented in the thesis, underling advantages/disadvantages and opportunities/constraints of these applications.
Further research efforts are now devoted to designing a new web platform, which integrates the off-line hypermedia tool (Compendium) with tools for on-line collaborative spatial argumentation and decision-making.
The new web platform aims at enabling transparency in participatory planning practices by capturing and enlarging deliberation to a wider community on the web, then moving from computer-supported participation to e-participatory processes both face-to-face and on the web.
To download the PhD dissertation visit KMi publications web site or click here below >>>>