When life was collectively shut down by COVID-19, classrooms all over the world transitioned online, and teachers found themselves having to give lessons to entire classes through video conferencing tools.

Captive8 was designed during the 2020 University of Washington Husky AI Hackathon and was awarded 3rd prize out of ten teams.


Advika Battini
Kevin Diefendorf
Ben Jeannot
Vaibhav Rao
Caleb Tan
Ambrose Zhi


May 9 - 10th 2020 (24 hours)


UX Designer

Tools & methods

Secondary Research

Secondary Research

A graphical summary of the survey results.

1. Teachers have difficulty adjusting to virtual lessons.

2. Teachers are experiencing heightened levels of negative emotion.

3. Students engagement has been affected.

4. Students not expected to be on pace with learning

We focused our attention on the teachers. Our hypothesis was that if we could assist them in keeping students engaged and make the transition more pleasant, we should see fewer negative emotions and improvements in student learning. Given that this was an AI hackathon, AI capabilities were considered in the final solution.


Captive8 is a video conferencing platform for teachers and students. Captive8 leverages AI to serve as a teacher’s second pair of eyes. With Captive8, teachers are able to engage students attention by pushing tailored attention cues to distracted students. Student’s response to the different attention cues helps improve the personalization of AI suggested attention cues.

Mood board & color palette

A collage of mood board inspiration photos as well as the generated color palette.

The intention behind putting together a mood board was to identify colors that were present in classroom settings. The goal of this is to derive a color palette that would invoke the feeling of being in a physical classroom space.

AI support & student engagement

1. Captive8’s AI looks for markers of distraction in the form of inactivity or disappearance from the screen. When inattention is detected, the borders around the distracted student’s window lights up.

2. This signals to the teachers that this would be a good time to push an attention cue to the students. Attention cues are actions that students are prompted to perform. They can be key presses or short one question quizzes in the subject that the student most enjoys.

3, Information like subject performance, responsiveness to different attention cues are collected and provided to teachers in the student dashboard.

4. Rather than surrendering all decisions over, teachers have the autonomy to use their discretion in deciding what attention cues to use.

Reflecting on my experience

Given the constraints of this project, I am proud of what was accomplished and the experience gained – working under pressure and with teammates who had different skill sets. I also gained confidence in presenting to a panel of industry experts.

That said, if I had to do it again, I would have chosen to address the teachers’ experiences in a more direct fashion. By encouraging more exploration of ideas we could have potentially identified a more targeted solution. As the only designer on the team, I shouldered all the wireframing and prototyping responsibility, and decided to allot more time creating than ideating. If I had to do it all over again, I would spend much more time ideating.