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Digital collaborative and communication technologies are increasingly essential to distributing vital information. Understanding the interplay between the affordances of technology and human social structures is the goal of The Online Interaction Laboratory (TOIL).

TOIL is led by researchers Dr. Nicole Ellison and Dr. Clifford Lampe, and supported by the department of Telecommunication, Information Studies, and Media at Michigan State University. Funded by recent National Science Foundation awards (see Research page), TOIL is building the infrastructure to collect and assess online behavioral data and user experiences and perceptions.

Using a multi-method approach, the group is exploring the ways by which identity, perceptions, group process, and supporting offline environments enable individuals and groups to use and design tools to meet their goals.