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This paper reports on the evolution of a software environment called ClassACT (Class Annotation and Collaboration Tool) from a simple multimedia annotation program to a multi-domain archival database management system. ClassACT was developed at Northwestern University (Illinois) for instructional use, and, although its original goal was to solve a specific problem for a single instructor, it has grown in breadth of functionality and gathered a following of users and supporters from varied disciplines. An overview is provided of ClassACT's utility in the context of its evolution over 4 years, and its future is contemplated. Topics discussed include: history of ClassACT, including the development of an image database for a multi-disciplinary course in English and American History, and conversion to a World Wide Web-based system; features of ClassACT, which include a hypermedia document management system, searchable media database, and groupware tailored for class-based projects; application of ClassACT to provide annotation, collaboration, and archiving tools that allow an instructor to create an interactive learning environment; the basic notebook display, as well as student and instructor viewpoints; librarian and administrator functions; searching; instructor, student, and developer/support benefits; and challenges for the future, including two diverging application models--the shared archive and cognitive process models. Five figures illustrate ClassACT displays. (AEF)

Descriptors: Computer Assisted Instruction, Computer Software Development, Cooperative Learning, Courseware, Database Management Systems, Databases, Educational Environment, Educational Technology, Higher Education, Hypermedia, Models, Multimedia Materials, World Wide Web

Autor: Barone, Richard; Parod, William, Jr.


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