Livenotes is a collaborative note-taking Java program that runs on handheld wireless tablets. Using the shared whiteboard medium integral to Livenotes, students can record and annotate one another's lecture notes on their respective tablets in real time.
We are developing Livenotes to facilitate peer learning within small groups of students in conventional classrooms, because small group learning is a proven pedagogical method for enhancing student attention, participation, and understanding .
The next steps in our research are to:
(1) Introduce more user-interface affordances and features;
(2) Migrate from client-server to peer-to-peer;
(2) Deploy in additional class settings; and
(3) Evaluate the learning effectiveness that arises from using Livenotes (both qualitative and quantitative).
Livenotes is undertaken in collaboration with Daniel Glaser, Alastair Iles, Edwin Mach, Ian Wang, and Hailing Xu, under the supervision of Professor John Canny. A Spring 2003 deployment will be carried out in collaboration with Professors Ellen Do and Mark Gross at the University of Washington, Seattle. Orna Tarshish is a past contributor.
When working in shared physical spaces, individuals develop a rich sense of awareness that greatly facilitates their collaboration toward a common goal. They gather and share information freely; they gain a sense of what others know which allows them to ask the right person for help; and they come to understand other's goals which gives them a richer sense of purpose. This richness seems to be missing in electronic contexts. We propose a methodology for recapturing it. Our approach is called activity-based computing (ABC) which draws its principles primarily from activity theory, which divides human behavior into hierarchy of activities, actions, and operations. We observe that computer systems today are action-based which results in their lack of awareness of high-level activity context and motive. ABC performs activity-level analysis using probabilistic models and tacit data mining and provides efficient visualization as a user interface.
In an ubiquitous computing environment, sensors are actively collecting data, much of which can be very sensitive. Protecting this private data is a central concern for the users to have a trust relationship with the environment. There are a few challenges that make ubicomp security different from other system protection: (1) The environment is often unfamiliar to the users. They will not have a trust relationship with the owners of the environment as they might with their local system administrator appropriate for handling their private information. (2) Data is often generated dynamically, streams at high rates, and must be processed in real time. (3) Users' access rights change dynamically with respect to their relationship with the mechanisms by which data is generated. For example, a number of users can form an ad hoc group and record their meeting using a camera that is administered by the environment. They should only have access to the video produced during the meeting period. We are investigating schemes for protecting user data in a ubicomp environment. The key principle we propose is "data discretion," which grants access to information only to individuals who would have "real-world" access to the data. We have devised a protocol that is based on hybrid secret-key and public-key cryptography to enforce this principle. Our protocol allows for legitimate sharing and collaboration, yet stops any efforts to physically track the users by anyone, thus protecting user anonymity and privacy.