Project Details

Project Date : 2013 Fall, revisited 2019 Spring
Class:Intro to HCI at Georgia Tech

Role : Interaction Design,Visual Design Collaborators: Jean Chu, Paul Osinachi Lazarus, Parisa Khanipour Roshan, Michael Sambol
Advisor: Bruce Walker

Collaborative Learning

Co-learn (Collaborative Learning) is an application for k-12 education integrating learning at school and home for parents who wants to be more involved in their child's education. The initial idea came started as a multi-touch tabletop-application on 2013 working on an HCI class project with 4 other people. On 2019, I revisited the idea to devise a web platform.

"While parent's involvement is so important for their child's education, how can we provide educational resources that can help those parents without enough time and knowledge?"

Co-learn digitally integrates resources at school and home and through a social network of the classroom


User Research


We had access to an interview with parents from disadvantaged neighborhood in westside Atlanta, whose child attends a public elementary school that was collected by one of our group member, Parisa. Based on our analysis, we discovered that parents lack with (1) time (2) resources and (3)knowledge to help their child's study, and we speculated a digital platform can mitigate these challenges. Although these parents are often very eager to participate in their child’s education they lack of time and resources because they are working long hours and cannot commit to participating in school events. Moreover, we discovered some parents are not comfortable communicating with teachers since they consider themselves to have less authority or knowledge than the teachers. Since these parents use computers on a daily basis and had access to the Internet, there is opportunity for developing a platform that facilitates these parents’ involvement by being designed according to their special needs. We observed that an important way parents learn about educational resources is through communicating with other parents in parent centers and decided to build a community among parents. We hope involving parents can play a critical role in creating learning opportunities for their children.


Jane Parks

Jane, a 35 year old African American, mother of two, is a working mom. She works as a restaurant server during the day and occationally has evening shifts as well. Although she did not go to college, she wants to help her child's study so that they can do well at school and go to college with scholarship.

She wants to help her child's study so that her children can study well. She also wants to get involved with her child's school activities. She wants to communicate with the classroom teacher and other parents using the computer after she comes back home from work.

Since she does not have a high educational background, she is often frustrated without much knowledge to guide her children. She does not have enough time and energy to participate in school activities after working for long hours. She does not feel comfortable emailing directly to the teacher since she has the authority to do so.

John Doe

John is a 40 year old elementary school teacher at Westside Atlanta. He wants to help both students and parents to be involved in the classroom.

He wants to share important learning resources with the classroom so students can review at home. He also wants to stay close with parents to give update about their child

Since parents do not often participate in school meetings, it is difficult for John to communicate with parents. John does not want to overload the parent's inboxes with all the details about the materials and events he have emailed.



News Feed

Teachers and parents can share news about school events, volunteer requests, resources, and reminders

Teachers share assignments and materials in for parents and students to review together at home.

Parents connect with teachers and other parents of the class to share and discuss about their child's study.




On 2013, 5 students working on an HCI class project gone through several brainstorming sessions and iterations. After several ideations and brainstorming, we came to the idea of designing a multi-touch tabletop-application. The prototype is developed as a web application that can run on a multi-touch display to do a writing report: the most common homework assignment parents and children work on together. The prototype application deploys functionalities needed for compiling a report: searching, sharing, organizing, writing and editing.

Parent and child can discuss together on a same report having their own workspace to write, edit, and search. Input methods for our prototype are fingers or a light pen. The goals of this application are (1) Foster the sense of collaboration between child and parent (2) Educate parents so they can play a more effective role in helping their kids (3) Support visualizing intellectual processes such as marking, sorting, and mapping relationships of information (4) Enable conventional methods of compiling a report performed by using poster boards, articles, images

The lower part of the interface provides individual work area, and the upper part of the interface supports collaborative finalization area. The key functions of the system are (1)searching and (2) organizing

(1) Searching: Then the system processes search result into small cards, each related to one subtopic.
(2) Organizing: User can move around the information cards to organize an outline, and remove any cards that they think are not useful.


We evaluated the usability and effectiveness of our application. We ran comparative user testings comparing the differences between using word processor and the internet for writing a report about Martin Luther King. We ran post-task interview and questionairres to gain both qualitative and quantitative data. Our observation, interview, and questionairre results of the design version 1 show that people search and study by following the threads of information. Also, we our users found information of each topic displayed in cards are helpful.

While the idea of an interactive homework guide through a multi-touch surface seemed promising, the biggest caveat was that our target audience would not have access to such devices. Therefore, design version 1 remained as a futuristic imagination.