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: On 1 January 2001, the University of Geneva has opened a new research laboratory, the Geneva Interaction Lab, which will carry out I3-related activities. This lab was created inside TECFA, the education technology unit that was set up 12 years ago by the Faculty of Education and Psychology. The Geneva Interaction Lab is funded by two companies based in Switzerland. The first one, Viviance New Education, has become a major global player in e-learning. Viviance raised research questions aiming at the improvement of learning environments. The second partner, Pictet & Cie, is the largest privately held bank in Europe. Pictet's eBusiness team has raised several research issues in the area of human-computer interaction that will be addressed by the Geneva Interaction Lab.

The agenda includes several research lines:

  • How virtual space enhances social interactions. How distance impart interaction patterns, how users interpret their partner positions in space, how spatial representations reify social patterns, which are the real effects of social navigation and workspace awareness. These research lines are based, among other things, on the previous works carried out by TECFA, on collaborative problem solving in MOOs and VRML worlds. The final goal is to grasp the role of space in a virtual campus.
  • It is clear nowadays that no virtual campus will reach efficiency without costly human tutoring/coaching. Can we improve this on-line tutoring process by developing environments that increase the tutor's activities? When is on-line tutoring more important for efficiency ? How does on-line tutoring adapt to collaborative learning activities ?
  • Does asynchronous awareness improve the mutual understanding between a portfolio manager and his client? Which uses of video really enhance the quality of remote 1-to-1 interactions?
  • Do mixed reality and “roomware” offer new opportunities for improving what is generally expected from an Intranet? Can we expand offices or coffee rooms over partly physical and partly digital environments?

CONTACT: Pierre.Dillenbourg@tecfa.unige.ch

TECFA (Educational Technology Unit)
Faculty of Education and Psychology
University of Geneva
40, Bd. du Pont d'Arve
CH1205 Genève, Switzerland