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Home > Evaluated Products > CoFFEE



Web site: http://www.coffee-soft.org/product/tutorials.aspx



CoFFEE is an open source suite of computer supported collaborative learning applications. The acronym "CoFFEE" translates to "Collaborative Face to Face Educational Environment".  Unlike other CSCL, the software is not designed for distance learning but for group interaction among a classroom. The groupware application focuses on 3 stages of work: preparation, classroom discussion and evaluation. The software can be installed on a classroom network and is not appropriate for distance learning (no local server connection or internet connection). The suite of applications include the CoFFEE Controller (which is only accessed by the instructor), CoFFEE Discusser (primary interface for the student users), Class Editor and Replayer. CoFFEE is session-driven with the collaborative activities executed with step-by-step tasks.


CoFFEE is unique from other open source products as it is a part of a research project developed by LEAD. LEAD is a project that focuses on developing an effective CSCL to facilitiate face to face and group interaction amongst the classrom by understanding the social, cognitive and development processes of the students.




Students/End-Users - While CoFFEE is branded as a tool for course instruction, it does have the potential to go beyond the academic space.

Course Instructors


Capabilities For Course Instructors

Roster Editor

  • Ability to enter in student's short name (nickname) on the roster.
  • Name and password assigned for each student, with authentication optional


Lesson planner template - This allows for creating structured lessons. The sessions are based on step by step tasks defined by the course instructors. The instructor can integrate multiple tools in different combinations into a template to optimize the collaboration of activities. This is based upon how involved or simple a task may be. The combination of tools is limited to 5 tools used simultaneously.


Specific collaborative activities include:


  • Brainstorming
  • Debate
  • Hands on Activity
  • Joint Writing
  • Planning
  • Role Playing
  • Voting Debate


System Included Collaborative Learning Tools:

  • Threaded Discussion Tool - The threaded discussion tool acts similar to a forum in that the instructor or end-users can post questions and responses are then threaded. This seems to work better than a blog post method as it allows for a hiearchy of topics and responses.


  • Graphical Tool (2Dimensional)


  • Co-Writer Tool


  • Positionometer Tool


  • Presence Tool


  • Repository Tool - This acts similar to a Document Library as both instructor and end-users can upload and submit documents to share.


  • Note Tool


  • Chat Tool - The chat tool allows the instructor to engage in discussions with the end-users. 


  • Quick Communication Tool - The quick chat tool also allows the end-users to discuss amongst themselves privately as a larger discussion is taking place amongst the entire attending participants. This is relative to the physical face-to-face environment as it allows students to discuss amongst themselves on an aside as if they are physically in the same space before sharing confirmed and cohesive ideas.


Resource Documents

CoFFEE User Guide 

Rosario De Chiara, Antonio Di Matteo, Ilaria Manno, Vittorio Scarano "CoFFEE: Face2Face Educational Environment" (2007).


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