Project Overview

I worked with Dr. Charlotte P. Lee on a bold project to develop a new conceptual basis for characterizing work in the field of Computer Supported Cooperative Work (CSCW). This model was developed based upon our extensive literature reviews of early CSCW work as well as more recent projects. This is the Model of Coordinated Action (MoCA).


The Conceptual Model

MoCA is our effort to put forth a conceptual framework that can be used to describe complex collaborative situations and environments. These can include, but are not limited to, collaborations that have diverse, high-turnover memberships or emerging practices. We articulate 7 dimensions of “coordinated actions” to characterize this work.

The dimensions fall along a continuum represented visually below.


Coordinated actions can range widely. Examples include: distributed scientific collaborations building instruments & analyzing data, volunteers responding to disasters using social media and other collaborative tools, a design team iteratively researching and building a new product, and so on.


As a new conceptual mapping of types of collaborative work MoCA enables a more comprehensive representation of the design space for collaborative systems. By focusing this model on collaboration per se (rather than particular technologies that may be short lived), we open up more room to investigate how multiple technologies can be mapped to a single coordinated action—a sociotechnical aggregation of actors and technologies.


The Article & Reception in the Community

A8 — Lee, C. P., & Paine, D. (2015). From The Matrix to a Model of Coordinated Action (MoCA): A Conceptual Framework of and for CSCW. Proceedings of the 2015 conference on Computer Supported Cooperative Work & Social Computing (CSCW). Vancouver, BC. ACM.

This article has been adopted rapidly by the CSCW and larger Human Computer Interaction community to our pleasant surprise.


MoCA was very kindly used as the organizing basis for a revision of the chapter on collaboration in the 6th edition of the influential HCI textbook Designing the User Interface: Strategies for Effective Human-Computer Interaction by Shneiderman et al. which was published in 2016.