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We present a case study of an international distance education course involving two sites in the US and one site in Pakistan. We use the case study to examine the elements of the distance learning environment, and specifically how those elements can be best used to promote classroom interaction. In particular we discuss the effectiveness of two software tools for distance learning that we have developed: ConferenceXP for video conferencing and Classroom Presenter to facilitate interaction across sites. We bring special attention to the use of student artifacts including digital ink and text, and their use in the presentation of design proposals, the facilitation of critiques, and in the promotion of general interaction.