Mobile Collaborative Virtual Environments: A Paradigm Shift from Desktop to Mobile Online Communities
There are myriad examples of virtual communities and environments available for collaborative activities. However, most of these environments are confined to the desktop and thus preclude collaboration while users are on the move. Through a scenario-based design process, this article establishes the importance of mobile collaborative environments that are readily accessible for users on mobile devices. The element of mobile accessibility for collaborative environments renders them ubiquitous—they can be used anywhere and at any time. A working prototype is then presented that has been developed to supplement an existing desktop-based online virtual community. The prototype illustrates a generic, extensible and platform-independent architecture for translating a desktop collaborative environment into a mobile system. Based on the prototype, we also foresee its application for users in fieldwork settings, particularly for learning and educational activities of teachers, students, and peers through collaboration in a distributed environment.