We had subjects collaborate on two tasks. First, to familiarize themselves with the tools, they performed a simple mapping task, representing a section of the MOO environment (including connectivity of rooms and descriptions of contents) on the whiteboard.
The Main task is forensic diagnosis - the collaborators must inspect a crime scene and interrogate witnesses and suspects to solve a murder mystery. The mystery is embedded within the MOO described above. The collaborators can move from room to room, they can look at objects, read notes, and interrogate witnesses (implemented as simple robots, pre-programmed to answer a few relevant questions, such as what they were doing around the time of the murder and how they knew the victim). For this task, we also provided the subjects with an additional communicative tool, a Detective Notebook, (dn1 for Sherlock, and dn2 for Hercule) which recorded all of the answers to questions they ask the witnesses, as well as the documents they read in the MOO. This allowed them to avoid scrolling back in their MOO window and going back to repeat questions to the suspects. The notebooks also provided the subjects with minimal data organization, by collecting the various answers of each witness together. In some sessions, we also provided a command to collate the answers from the two notebooks, thus providing an additional (implicit) communication mechanism, rendering additional information accessible (although still requiring an additional command to actually perceive and interpret it).