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Syracuse iSchool research center, Cotelco, hosts an open house

The Center for Research on Collaboratories and Technology Enhanced Learning Communities (Cotelco) held an open house December 2 in the Cotelco lab at the iSchool. Cotelco is a joint social science research center in the School of Information Studies (iSchool) at Syracuse University and the School of International Service at American University.

The open house showcased the center’s projects, which focus on geographically distributed work. Associate Professor Derrick L. Cogburn, director of Cotelco, gave a presentation remotely from American University about Cotelco and their projects. Using iChat and Elluminate Live, a web conferencing software, Cogburn was able to communicate “face-to-face” with his audience at the iSchool.

“We set up a video wall with one common space for people to see what we are working on at Cotelco,” said David James, a Ph.D. student in the iSchool and a member of the Cotelco research team.

Cogburn explained Cotelco’s slogan “going global locally,” saying it is becoming difficult to get all of the knowledge resources needed for a project in one physical place. Going global locally aims to connect all of the people involved in a project wherever they are in the world, creating place-to-place interactions.

Cotelco research focuses on three main areas: Global Governance and Transnational Networks, Cyberinfrastructure and Virtual Organizations and Geographically Distributed Collaborative Learning, Cogburn said.

Each theme is affiliated with certain projects. The Global Governance and Transnational Networks theme investigates the socio-technical infrastructure need to enhance participation of developing countries and civil society organizations in global governance processes in information and communication. The projects they are working on are: Pawns to Partners, Transnational Non-Governmental Organization (TANGO), Internet Governance Project, and Global Deliberative Democracy.

The Cyberinfrastructure and Virtual Organizations theme works with real companies to build plans for them to use geographically distributed collaboration for physical, behavioral and social scientists, and humanities scholars. Some projects in this theme are: Crisis Management (European Union), UN Global Alliance for ICT and Development (United Nations) and Corporate Virtual Teams (JPMorgan Chase).

The Geographically Distributed Collaborative Learning theme examines geographically distributed collaborative learning between students and faculty in developed and developing countries. This theme incorporates graduate students from six universities, including institutions in the United States, South Africa, India, and the Caribbean. The projects in this theme are globalization seminar and distributed collaboration and emerging technologies.

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