Date of Award

Spring 1-1-2013

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Computer Science

First Advisor

Tom Yeh

Second Advisor

James H. Martin

Third Advisor

Richard Y. Han


Today, there are numerous reasons as to why one would advocate for the use of collaborative solutions. However, no one has ever effectively brought collaboration to lecture note taking. In this thesis, Synapsage1, a crowd-sourced mobile/web note taking app is proposed that enables students to collaborate in real-time in capturing, sharing and reviewing multimedia information from a lecture.

Unlike the previous work, Synapsage uses Google Docs as a collaborative note taking environment to take advantage of the reliability, scalability and performance of Google services. In addition to textual notes, Synapsage allows capturing audio and photos from a lecture.

This work explores some key challenges of building the Synapsage app such as transcribing lectures, audio enhancement of lecture recordings by combining multiple audio sources and auto-tagging of lecture notes.

To test our suggested approaches to tackle the challenges 41 lecture audio recordings were collected by volunteer students using their mobile devices. The collected dataset was used in several signal processing and speech recognition experiments.

In the end, a high-fidelity prototype of the Synapsage app was designed and built through a heavily user-involved process. The prototype was presented to a user-centered design class. 22 out of 25 students in the class showed interest in using it.

1 Synapsage is formed of the two words “synapse” and “age”. I believe that we live in an age when people should collaborate and share information as synapses do in the brain in order to achieve impactful goals.