Tool Orchestration in e-Collaboration: A Case Study Analyzing the Developer and Student Perspectives

Tool Orchestration in e-Collaboration: A Case Study Analyzing the Developer and Student Perspectives

Ioannis Magnisalis (Department of Informatics, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Greece) and Stavros Demetriadis (Department of Informatics, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Greece)
Copyright: © 2015 |Pages: 24
DOI: 10.4018/ijec.2015100103
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In this study the authors start by highlighting the lack of a “tool orchestration” framework in e-collaboration environments (either for work or learning purposes). To address this issue, they propose the MAPIS3 software architecture to efficiently manage the key problem in tool orchestration, which is the efficient data transfer among various tools used in e-collaboration activities. To evaluate their proposal, they present a case study of a flexible e-collaboration scenario that cannot be implemented automatically with any known architectures or tools. This scenario entails transfer and processing of students' collaboration data emerging originally in a chat tool to an IMS-LD compatible application (“player”) and, finally, to a Moodle installment forum. The overall implementation was evaluated both from the developer's and the student's perspective. Results indicate that seamless data flow establishing tool orchestration can be achieved by the proposed approach in a cost-efficient and flexible manner. Moreover, the authors highlight and discuss how data flow and flexible management supported by the architecture may have a profound impact on the quality of users' collaboration.
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The multifaceted benefits emerging from collaboration either at work or educational settings have been well established in previous research work (Dillenbourg et. al., 2011). Technology- supported collaboration (e-collaboration) is always considered as an asset to the toolbox of a company or educational institution (Prinz et. al., 2010). However, integrating advanced e-collaboration technologies into a traditional workplace or classroom is a complex procedure. Among others, one technological factor that causes such complexity is what we call the “tool orchestration” problem. This refers to the necessity of establishing a seamless communication and data flow pattern among the various tools that may be used in a specific e-collaboration scenario.

In this work, we initially explain the tool orchestration problem and we present the MAPIS3 architecture to address this problem. At the same time, we limit our scope and avoid tackling other technical issues such as security concerns (Bracher & Padmanabhan, 2012). We continue by comparing our proposal to other similar solutions presented in the literature, highlighting the expected benefits and possible shortcomings. Finally, we provide architecture evaluation data based on a case study, exploring both the developer’s and user’s perspective.

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