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Synapse, the main focus of the BML, is a web-based learning/teaching application. Synapse provides students with the ability to view lecture materials (including slides, movies, and audio), take online tests and quizzes, check their grades throughout the semester, chat or study with other students, as well as receive messages and handouts from their professors. Professors enjoy Synapse for the custom features built by the BML team and the Synapse Support Center, which provides many services to help students and professors get the most out of their Synapse experience. Synapse is constantly expanding as BML’s software engineers and graphic designers improve and adapt the system. Synapse was first released in Fall 2006 at the University of Maine and currently serves over 1,200 students per semester covering 22 different courses and spanning six University of Maine campuses. If you would like more info about Synapse, or would like a demo account, please contact info@biomedialab.net.

Mixed Media Presentations

Everyone knows a dynamic lecture is better than a stale one. In Synapse, a presentation does not have to be a download link, or a series of images. It can incorporate anything from your asset library, including YouTube videos, PDF articles, communique discussions, and audio tracks that can play while clicking through the presentation.

Visual Learning Environment

The goal of Synapse is to allow teachers to present rich media in a straightforward manner, reducing the hoops between student and content. Movies, animations, images, audio, and PDFs can all be displayed directly in the course. Web sites and YouTube videos can also be stored in your personal media and displayed in the body of your course.

What do you prefer?

Every course is different. In addition to customizing features to suit your needs, Synapse contains a plethora of preference settings for professors and students. From changing themes on axons and sounds in communique to setting questions per page in a quiz, Synapse has the potential to make a preference for almost anything you want.

Degree Progress

A great tool for students to keep track of their past achievements and plan their future courses. This modules provides a common ground for students and their advisors to view how well a student has fulfilled his or her degree requirements. Access a current full transcript, as well as degree specific requirements and downloadable degree forms.

Directed Content

Numerous permission levels allow custom access to features (e.g., professors, students, observers, tutors, etc.). Visibility and deadlines for content can be customized for individual students. Tiered courses allow content to be deployed in one course and viewable in multiple specified sub courses (e.g., lab sections).


Integrated Rubrics

Professors can create their own rubrics to be reused for multiple assignments. Custom scales and categories allow for a wide range of designs and the grading interface makes it easy to see how ratings affect the overall grade. Feedback can be given on a category-by-category or overall basis.

Robust Gradebook

Full grade book capabilities, and growing! Professors can manage online and offline assignments, view detailed statistics, and leave feedback for students. Bubble-sheet exams with multiple versions and clicker assignments can be imported. Detailed attempt tracking lets professors compare multiple attempts.


Communique is our active messaging program within Synapse. It allows two-way rich messaging capable of playing video, sharing movies, and creating a rich discussion arena. Coupled with the ability to have threaded private messages within a window, it provides a comprehensive tool that can be embedded directly in your course.

Asset Management

Synapse provides an asset library for each user to upload and build many types of content (e.g., movies, audio, PDFs, slide presentations, assessments, rubrics, etc.). Once in your library, the assets can be reused and deployed in multiple locations in multiple courses.