Module 2 - An Introduction to Hyperstudio


More about Hyperstudio
Basic concepts and terminology used in Hyperstudio
Things to do


    You will be able to: 

  •      identify HyperStudio terminology including:  cards, stacks, buttons and objects.
  •      understand the basic authoring concepts in Hyperstudio

More about Hyperstudio

Roger Wagner is a teacher who founded the company that makes Hyperstudio in 1978, making it one of the oldest software companies in the United States. It was recently purchased by Knowledge Adventure.
As was already mentioned in lesson 1, Hyperstudio is a well established authoring program used by millions of people around the world. Like any authoring program, it is a tool that allows you to organize, integrate and present multimedia information.  It's popularity is based on the fact that it is easy to use, which means that you can concentrate on your project rather than on the computer software.  Almost any multimedia element can be easily added to your project in seconds. 

Click on the Hyperstudio box to visit the Hyperstudio website.

View this Quicktime movie about Hyperstudio and multimedia literacy.

Basic concepts and terminology

Imagine drawing each screen that would be used in a multimedia presentation on a card.  Then you could shuffle and organize these cards in any order you wanted, and put them in different piles. The analogy is a good one, because each computer screen of information you create in Hyperstudio is referred to as a card. Each card will usually contain a background and one or more objects (see below).  A series or pile of cards is called a stack. Your project may consist of one stack of cards (screens) or many stacks that are linked together. We can also think of this arrangement as a 'page and book' metaphor, that is, the cards are like pages and the stacks are like books.

When you are planning your production, try to keep similar content in the same stack.  However, animations and other functions can place a heavy demand on computer memory, so try not to have more than 10 cards in any one stack. You may find that you have to split stacks up to prevent memory problems.

The 'score' or timeline window in Macromedia's Director

For comparison, other popular authoring programs such as Macromedia's Director (above) and Flash use a timeline metaphor similar to the timeline in video editing programs you may have used. By placing various elements on a timeline, you can control how and when they will appear. 

The Outline View in Macromedia’s Authorware Program

Still other programs use a flowchart metaphor, such as the one from Macromedia's Authorware illustrated above. I believe that Hyperstudio is a great program to begin learning about multimedia. Other authoring programs may have more specific uses, and can be learned at a later date. 

You have learned about the page and book, timeline and flowchart metaphors. Most multimedia authoring programs you encounter will one be based on one of these metaphors.
In Hyperstudio, paint, move and other tools allow you to draw on the background of a card, select and move things and more. You have been exposed to these types of tools before in various programs such as QuarkXpress and Photoshop and in drawing and paint programs. 

You will quickly come to recognize what these tools do once you start using the program.

Text objects are groups of text you add to a card. You can either type the text directly into Hyperstudio or import it from a file you have created elsewhere, such as in Word.

You have the option of making text objects scrollable. There are also various effects you can use to enhance the way text is presented.

Buttons are hot spots on the screen where you click the mouse to make things happen, like going to another card or stack,  playing a sound or a movie or a combination of these. Buttons allow you to navigate through a program. 

Sometimes buttons can be invisible and placed in a certain area (like on a photo) where a user would click to make things happen.

Graphic objects are graphics or photos that are on the screen, but are independent of the background screen.  For example, you can animate a graphic object and make it move over the background (because it is not a part of the background).

You can even make a graphic object active by turning it into a button.

Hyperstudio's user interface is easy to understand. To make a multimedia program interesting or interactive, action takes place. The actions in Hyperstudio are defined as: places to go and things to do.

For example, when the user clicks on a button that you've created, an action takes place.  Look at the illustration on the left and consider the actions you can select.

Our intention is not to re-create the manual here, but to introduce you to the concepts of Hyperstudio. We'll learn more about the program's interface and discover new terminology as we go along.

The instructor will take you through the steps in creating your first stack. 

Whenever you require more information on using Hyperstudio, go to the resources section of this course and explore the websites under "Hyperstudio Tutorials and Information".

Things to do
  • do the self-test for this lesson.
  • watch the movie on Hyperstudio and peruse their website.
  • print out the tutorial (pdf) if you require additional practice on Hyperstudio.
  • browse through the Hyperstudio links in the resource section of this course. 
Michael Shaw, 1997