Date of Award

Summer 2009

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy in Information Systems - (Ph.D.)

Department

Information Systems

First Advisor

Murray Turoff

Second Advisor

Michael J. Chumer

Third Advisor

Starr Roxanne Hiltz

Fourth Advisor

Julian M. Scher

Fifth Advisor

Vassilka D. Kirova

Sixth Advisor

Bartel Albrecht Van de Walle

Abstract

In the fields of Emergency Management and Business Continuity Planning, scenarios are a widely used tool for planning, training and knowledge sharing purposes. The ability to create and discuss emergency scenarios in virtual teams can lead to many potential applications, such as discussing emergency scenarios by world-wide experts, conducting on-line exercises, and creating Communities of Practices. Existing scenario creation systems, like NxMsel provided by FEMA, allow distributed groups to create scenarios together. However, collaborative support in these systems is generally limited.

This dissertation explores an innovative solution to provide various types of collaboration support around a knowledge structure and uses this approach to build a collaborative scenario creation system called Collario (Collaborative Scenario). Following the Design Scenario paradigm, this research goes through four iterations to evolve Collario into a working prototype. Several evaluation methods, like system demonstration, protocol analysis and field study, have been employed to evaluate the design effects and get user feedback, The results show that Collario is useful to support creation and discussion of emergency scenarios in virtual teams and to share knowledge and experiences among geographically distributed emergency professionals and researchers. It is also found that Collario is not hard to learn and use.

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