Software

Various software has been developed to explore new ways to promote and enhance learning through collaboration. Some of our major efforts are described below.

Alvis is a new breed of algorithm visualization technology that supports the rapid construction and interactive presentation of “low fidelity” algorithm visualizations, engaging students and instructors in meaningful conversations about algorithms. (Chris Hundhausen)

Belvedere is software for constructing and reflecting on diagrams of one’s ideas, such as evidence maps and concept maps. Belvedere is designed to help support problem-based collaborative learning scenarios in which middle-school and high-school students learn critical inquiry skills. (Dan Suthers)

disCourse supports project-based online courses in which students can post and discuss documents created by themselves or others. It is an offspring of Kukakuka (below). (Dan Suthers, Sam Joseph, Viil Lid and many others)

Kukakuka was an experimental web-based environment for discussion of web pages. Discussion groups and threads are associated with web pages. Each thread’s page is always visible when reading and posting messages within the thread. Kukakuka was designed with the objectives of being easy to use and running within any web browser. (Jun Xu and Dan Suthers)

Pink was a web-based environment for anchored threaded discussion of various types of documents, both online and offline. In addition to being organized in topic threads, notes also reference portions of the document being discussed to enable easy reference and retrieval. (Toshi Takeda, visiting researcher from Kwansei Gakuin University)

Prometheus is a framework for deploying online community and collaboration websites. Prometheus is implemented in Ruby on Rails by Sam Joseph. It is the software base for disCourse, Hawai‘i Networked Learning Communities, and Engaged!. It was originally developed as HNLC.org, software for an online community of K-12 educators consisting of workspaces for professional development teams were embedded. Subsequently we realized that community is also important for our vision for online learning at the university level, and that the code-base for HNLC.org could be modified to support the original disCourse objectives.