Nugget #3 Engelbert’s Augmentation

Here is my nugget#3: AUGMENTING HUMAN INTELLECT: A CONCEPTUAL FRAMEWORK  By Douglas C. Engelbart October 1962 III. EXAMPLES AND DISCUSSION B. HYPOTHETICAL DESCRIPTION OF COMPUTER-BASED AUGMENTATION SYSTEM 6. Process Structuring   Nugget #3.1 A process is something that is designed, built, and used–as is any tool. In the general sense in which we consider processes to be a part of our augmentation system, it is absolutely necessary that there be effective capability for designing and building processes as well as for using them. For one thing, the laying out of objectives and a method of approach for a problem represent a form of process design and building, to our way of looking at it. And an independent problem solver certainly has to have this capability. Indeed, we find that designing and coordinating one’s sequence of steps, in high levels or in low levels of such process structuring, is an extremely important part of the total activity. Nugget #3.2 The augmented man is engaged more often in structuring what we call composite processes than he is in structuring computer processes. For instance, planning a research project, or a day’s work, are examples of structuring composite processes. A composite process, remember, is organized from both human processes and computer processes–which includes, of course, the possible inclusion of lower-order composite processes. The structuring here differs from that of a computer process mainly in the sophistication of the sub-processes which can be specified for the human to do. Some of these specifications have to be given in a language which matches the human’s rich working framework of concepts–and we have been demonstrating here with English for that purpose–but quite a few human-executed processes can be specified in the high-level computer-processing language even though we don’t know how to describe them in that language. This means that there few composite-process structures about which the computer can answer very useful questions for us. Nugget #3.3…setting up objectives, designing a method of approach, and then implementing that method are of course our fundamental operating sequence–done over and over again in the many levels of our activity… With the human contributing to a process, we find more and more as the process becomes complex that the value of the human’s contribution depends upon how much freedom he is given to be disorderly in his course of action. For instance, we provide him as much help as possible in making a plan of action. Then we give him as much help as we can in carrying it out. But we also have to allow him to change his mind at almost any point, and to want to modify his plans. So, we provide augmentation help to him for keeping track of his plans where he is in them, what has been happening in carrying them out to date–and for evaluating possibilities that might occur to him for changing the plans. In fact, we are even learning how the computer can be made to watch for some kinds of plan-change possibilities, and to point them out to the human when they arise. Thinking out loud about the difference between computer processes and composite processes, I associate effective note-taking tools to capture the fleeting thought or personal insight recognized by individuals.  In the online classes I teach, my students use formative assessments such as “Muddiest Points” and “Minute Papers” to capture critical thinking in the present moment about the topic at hand.  These could be paper and pencil, post-it notes, highlighters, journals, index cards as well as Google docs, Tweets, Diigo Bookmarks, Dropbox files, or Evernotes accessible ubiquitously on pc, laptop, tablet, or mobile phone.  The distinguishing characteristic is that composite processes need not craft each argument from scratch, but rather can remix, reuse, review, tag, share, like, follow, or forward links to internet objects that may in fact be simple computer processes behind the scenes.  The composite process records evidence that the individual has actively engaged with content to make personal meaning. In library and information studies, and information search begins with the user’s problem.  It is well documented that the user’s ability to articulate requests to the information system can be expected to change according to his or her level of understanding the problem (Kulthau, 2004, p 5).  This constructive process of information seeking is described in terms of the ASK “anomalous state of knowledge” hypothesis so that the user’s state of knowledge is dynamic rather than static, changing as he or she proceeds in the process.  Most relevant to Engelbart’s concept of plan-change possibilities that allow the user to change his mind at almost any point in the research process is Kulthau’s observation that in the initial stages of a problem, specifying precisely what information is needed may be nearly impossible for the user. A popular trio of descriptors for information seeking process goals is: transparent, transliterate, transformed.  These goals can complement note-taking tools and guide user decision-making while finding, evaluating, organizing, and presenting content discovered on the internet to order the overload and make sense of sources perceived as useful for problem-solving processes.

  • Transparency(behavior), as used in scienceengineeringbusiness, the humanities and in a social context more generally, implies openness, communication, and accountability. Transparency is operating in such a way that it is easy for others to see what actions are performed. It has been defined simply as “the perceived quality of intentionally shared information from a sender”.
  • Transliteracy (pl. transliteracies) as the ability to understand and communicate—to be “literate“—across all communications platforms, from sign language and speaking, to reading and writing, to the mass media, to digital communication and social networking. Distinguishing transliteracy from traditional literacy is thought to shift focus from reading and writing onto the wide range of communications skills necessary to be successful in modern society.
  • Transformative is the primary Factors used to determine Educational Fair Use Guidelines, in other words, The Purpose and Character of Your Use.  Quote from : At issue is whether the material has been used to help create something new or merely copied verbatim into another work. When taking portions of copyrighted work, ask yourself the following questions: Has the material you have taken from the original work been transformed by adding new expression or meaning?  Was value added to the original by creating new information, new aesthetics, new insights, and understandings?

I think that taking responsibility to document a plan of action as a Transparent, Transliterate, and Transformative work in process, assuming that plan-change possibilities will result, is essential to satisfying Educational Fair Use Guidelines.  Such documentation also seems useful to manage the iterative process of information seeking while adding value to one’s “anomolous” state of knowledge while creating conversations about: What is known? What is not known? How to find more info? What is learned in the process?  Christina Englebarts Bootstrap Innovation: Five Organizing Principles was most illuminating to consider the question of how to create online conversations engaging newbies with “fresh eyes” and subject experts in multiple disciplines to crowdsource plan-change possibilities by networking and collaboration. Image Works Cited:

  1. Kulthau, C.  Seeking Meaning: A Process Approach to Library and Information Services (2004)
  2. Guided Inquiry, Strategies for Teaching in the 21st Century, (IASL 2009 keynote presentation)
  3. Kuhlthau’s Model of the Stages of the Information Process, reproduced from Seeking Meaning: A Process Approach to Library and Information Services, retrieved December 3, 2006



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