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Two departments receive nearly $382,500 for study of virtual organizations

University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa
Posted: Oct 13, 2009

              With communication and information technologies becoming more integral in daily life around the globe, it’s timely that UH Mānoa’s Information and Computer Sciences and Speech departments received a $382,421 grant for the study of virtual organizations by the National Science Foundation’s VOSS program (Virtual Organizations as Sociotechnical Systems, Office of Cyberinfrastructure).  
The competitive grant was awarded to principal investigator Dan Suthers, UH Mānoa information and computer sciences professor, and co-principal investigator Devan Rosen, UH Mānoa speech professor, for a project titled, “Traces—Understanding Distributed Socio-Technical Systems.” The grant begins November 1, 2009, and runs for a period of three years. 
Little is known about how virtual organizations function or how best to design them. This project will focus on the function of online social networks that support the professional development of PhD students and of K-12 educators, including educators serving underrepresented and rural students. The goal of the project is to understand how people interact in virtual organizations and communities, and improve the design technologies for such organizations.
Suthers and Rosen hope to refine an analytic framework and software tools, and apply them to understand the development of relationships and ideas in an online professional community. The results of this research will directly enhance the infrastructure for virtual learning organizations.
The National Science Foundation’s award information for this grant may be found at  The National Science Foundation is the funding source for approximately 20 percent of all federally supported basic research conducted by America’s colleges and universities, and is the major source of federal funding in fields such as mathematics, computer science and the social sciences. NSF funding is awarded through a competitive process of review by peer scientists.