Collaborative Multi-user Presentation Tools

Supervisor: James Eagan
Office: 4D20


The design of current presentation tools (such as Powerpoint, Google Slides, Keynote, Reveal) has not changed much since the first Powerpoint about 30 years ago. In a classroom setting, slides are often used to support the lecture discussion, to remind the instructor of important topics and salient points to raise, as summary review materials for after a lecture, and as class reading materials. They tend to be static and offer limited student interaction, and assume that all people are in the same room.

Webstrates, or web substrates, are shareable dynamic media that blend the concepts of document and application. They are shareable, with builtin live collaboration similar in concept to Google docs. They are dynamic, allowing the user to reconfigure and re-purpose the representation. Finally, they are media that can be combined in new ways to provide for interactions that go well beyond the sum of their parts.


The goal of this project is to create a new presentation tool based on Webstrates. The tool should explore ways for a single presentation document to satisfy these different use contexts, namely 1) as a guide for a presenter giving a presentation, 2) as a visual support for the audience in a live presentation, 3) and as a support document for the audience during revision and review, some time after the presentation. This tool should explore ways to satisfy the different needs of these different user populations in the context of a single presentation document. It should go beyond presenter notes (intended to be read by the presenter). Finally, it should take advantage of the dynamic and interactive capabilities of the web, allowing for integrating different web applications directly into the presentation support. For example, in a programming class, slides could support interactively editing code examples, or for letting students dynamically add content to the presentation in a structured way.

The minimal solution will provide an implementation that satisfies the above goals, but this is an open-ended project: there is plenty of room for creativity in orienting the design and exploring different ways to satisfy these goals. Each group will meet weekly with the project supervisor to collaboratively orient the direction of the project.


  • Basic familiarity with web-based programming (e.g. IGR201, IGR203)
  • Basic understanding of user-centered design (e.g. IGR203)

Acquired Skills

  • A deep understanding of web technologies.
  • Application of HCI research methods to design.
  • Outstanding projects may lead to a scientific publication.