Theoretical Foundations in Collaborative Work and Computer Supported Practice (CSCW) – University of Copenhagen

PhD Course: Theoretical Foundations in Collaborative Work and Computer Supported Practice (CSCW)

This CSCW course is targeted PhD Students in computer science or similar interdisciplinary program encompassing IT.


Computer Supported Cooperative Work (CSCW) is a growing sub-discipline within Computer Science, which is based upon certain interdisciplinary theoretical principles and core topics – this course focus on the core knowledge and basic insights of the fundamentals of CSCW.

Learning outcome

Detailed and reflective insights of CSCW core topics and disciplines based upon the classic literature of the field. The course aims at discussing the classics books within the Computer Supported Cooperative Work (CSCW) research field, with a link to the impact of the book by reading related work emerging from these classics. The learning objective is thus for the PhD students be know and be able to reflect critically about the CSCW foundations, as well as articulate the common core frameworks and concepts.

The PhD course will focus on literature that would be expected as a basic foundation in a CSCW-graduate program. In this way the PhD students get an opportunity to read and discuss the classics that are fundamental for further reading into the field of CSCW. The course will take the form of a discussion group led by presentations given by participants. For each time the participants are expected to read the full book, as well as related papers impacted by the book.

The classic books concern the topic areas below:

  • Infrastructures and classifications (Bowker & Star, 1999)
  • Embodied Interaction (Dourish, 2004)
  • Categories and coordination (Winograd & Flores, 1987)
  • Distributed cognition (Hutchins, 1995)
  • Plans and situated actions (Suchman, 2007)

Course structure & literature

The course runs approximately once a month for five months and for each time all attendants will read a core book, prepare presentations on the general theme, and be able to present and discuss how the particular theme relate to the PhD students’ own work (Detailed description will be sent out to the participants).

  1. Bowker, G. C., & Star, S. L. (1999). Sorting Things Out: Classification and Its Consequences. MIT Press.
  2. Dourish, P. (2004). Where the Action is. MIT Press.
  3. Hutchins, E. (1995). Cognition in the Wild. MIT Press.
  4. Suchman, L. (2007). Human-Machine Reconfigurations: Plans and Situated Actions. Cambridge University Press.
  5. Winograd, T., & Flores, F. (1987). Understanding Computers and Cognition:  A New Foundation for Design. Addison-Wesley.

Formal requirements

The course is offered for PhD students enrolled in PhD programs at University of Copenhagen, Computer Science, and other Danish, Nordic, European, or International Universities.


Application for attendance, please submit by email:

  • A personal CV (max 1 page): Including PhD affiliation, name of department, and main supervisor
  • A summary of your research experience (10 lines) as well as a description  of how CSCW relates to your research project and how the course will support your PhD work

E-mails should be sent to Stina Matthiesen no later than 29 January 2016.


ECTS credits 7,5

Hours/days Total course ECTS
Course 5 days
Course attendance per day 7 hours 35 hours 1,25
Preparation per day 32 hours 160 hours 5,72
Assignments 20 hours 0,71
ECTS 7,68
ECTS (Round off) 7,50

Type of assessment: course participation including presentations for each lecture
Exam registration requirements: preparation and attendance
Marking scale: completed/not completed
Criteria for exam assessment: preparation and active participation

Course responsible: Professor Pernille Bjørn,

Guest lecturer: Geoffrey C. Bowker, Professor, Informatics at the University of California, Irvine, USA

Tentative course dates

  • Friday 12 February 2016, 9:30-17:00
  • Friday 11 March 2016, 9:30-17:00
  • Friday 8 April 2016, 9:30-17:00
  • Friday 20 May 2016, 9:30-17:00
  • Friday 10 June 2016, 9:30-17:00

Course location

DIKU, University of Copenhagen, Njalsgade 128, 2300 Copenhagen S, Denmark (Room SCI-24-5-62) -  Location on Google Maps


Category Hours
Colloquium 35
preparation 160
Assignments 20
Total 215

Participation in the course is free of charge but students will be expected to pay for travel and accommodation.