Assignments

  • Participation(10%)While attendance in class is not graded, per se, your participation in class activities is an essential part of this course. Be sure you engage in discussions and activities, both in class and online. Since most of you will be working in teams, your ability to collaborate effeectively with your team members is a large compenent of this.

    A component of participation (1% overall) is to complete a short survey we will ask you to take (online) before the first class so that we can get to know you and help in forming teams. It contains questions about your personal interests, skills, and goals for the course and is not graded (other than to check that you have completed it).

  • Project Journal(10%)The project journal is a series of weekly blog posts in which team members write progress reports about their project. They are designed to insure that you are making sufficient progress in your project and to share your experiences with your peers.

    The first and last entries (due week 2 and during finals week, respectively) have specific requirements, listed below. The 8 entries in between those two serve to record project progress and can be used to identify successes, problems, areas of concern, and to capture observations and notes about the project process.

    • Week 2: Project Declaration/Plan/Schedule[1%]The first journal entry should focus on the overall definition of the project. It should contain a declaration of the project topic, define the exact scope of the work to be undertaken, and describe the final deliverable for the project. The declaration should also explain how the project will satisfy the requirement that it touch on at least two of the sub-disciplines of human-centered design: user research, ideation, prototyping, implementation, and evaluation.

      While this assignment is not a large percentage of your grade, it is fundamental to success of your project, so you should expend a lot of effort to get it right.

      In addition, this entry should also contain a project plan and detailed schedule, which primarily defines the three intermediate milestones, their deliverables, and the evaluation criteria for them. It should also list team members, their strengths and interests, and describe what each person’s contribution, role, and tasks will be on the project.

    • Weeks 3-10: Weekly Progress Reports[8%]The weekly reports serve to document your project progress. A key component of a professional portfolio is evidence of your process, not just the result. These intermediate journal entries should describe your accomplishments each week, problems that arose, and flag issues that are of concern in the future. They can also contain reflections on your learning as you work on the project.
    • Finals: Final Reflection[1%]The final assignment in the course provides you with an opportunity to look back on the work you have done, consider what you have learned, evaluate your own and your team’s performance, and consider how that experience relates to the broader conversation in the field. Prepare a report in which you reflect on these issues. It should be between 250–500 words in length.

      If you would like to exercise some creativity in the format, you are welcome to; a written report is not the only effective way to communicate this information. We’ll be happy to read an epic poem, listen to a creative rap, watch a video, look at an animation, or consume almost any media, as long as you communicate the information effectively. Regardless of the format, you should cover these topics in your reflection:

      • Learning: Discuss the challenges and/or potential opportunities in the field that this experience has made you aware of and/or interested in pursuing beyond this class.
      • Success: Evaluate the overall success of your team’s project — what do you think were its strong and weak points? Why? How well do you think your team navigated the collaboration process?
      • Contribution: Discuss your specific contributions to your team’s efforts, both in terms of what you did and what you learned by working in a team-based approach. What were the big challenges and successes?

      Your grade for this assignment will be based on effectively, thoughtfully and creatively completing the requirements above.

      Some sample alternative reflections:

      • https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/17697907/HCDE/Reflections/allison.m4v
      • https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/17697907/HCDE/Reflections/andri.jpg
      • https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/17697907/HCDE/Reflections/charlie.pdf
      • https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/17697907/HCDE/Reflections/daren.mp3
      • https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/17697907/HCDE/Reflections/matina.ppsx
      • https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/17697907/HCDE/Reflections/yongji.png
  • Project Milestones(30%)There are 3 intermediate milestones built in to the project schedule. Because of the wide variety of project types, each team will define these milestones during the project planning in the first week of the course. It is up to the team to specify reasonable and appropriate deliverables for these milestones, subject to instructor approval. Examples of milestones might include initial sketches, a usability test plan, a paper prototype, a functional prototype, user research results, etc. Criteria for success must be included in the definition of each milestone. These criteria will be used for grading the milestone deliverables.

    Once teams establish and have approved milestones, you are responsible for meeting them. It is entirely possible that unforeseen circumstances or problems may arise that prevent the completion of the milestone. In that case, the assignment can still be considered successful if the team demonstrates that it is responsibly modifying its project plan in reaction to the problem. This might entail changing the scope of the project, redefining it, reallocating team resources, or otherwise demonstrating good project management and communication. Problems should not be ignored or action delayed until it is too late to recover from them.

  • Final Deliverable(20%)The final deliverable for the project is up to the team to specify. The format will depend on the type of project undertaken. A design project might have as its goal to develop a high-fidelity prototype of the system, application, or device plus a short usability test. A usability study may require a written report with key findings and a sketch of an improved design.

    In addition to whatever artifact you plan and execute, we strongly suggest that you also create a website for your project. The project website can include all of the planning documents, progress reports, deliverables, reflection, etc. It does not have to be elaborate, but can use a simple theme in WordPress, for example. We will provide a sample template that you can use for this. The purpose is to have a permanent record of the project work for your, and the HCDE department, portfolio.

  • Final Presentation(15%)At the end of the course, you will present your project to the class, summarizing the work you have done in your capstone project, in brief, “executive summary” style. In contrast to the poster, the audience for your final presentation is our class — instructors, TAs, your peers, and other HCDE faculty guests. Your presentation should be no more than 15 minutes (with 5-10 minutes for Q&A after).

    The presentations should focus on your process, and constitute more of a reflection than an explanation of the project itself. So a sample organizing outline might look like:

    • Project summary & goals
    • Process description (milestones, deliverables, team roles, etc.)
    • Analysis of results (what went well, what challenges you faced, what you would do differently)
    • Future direction (what will/could be next steps in the project)
    • Reflection (what did you gain from this project/course, what would make it a better experience)
  • Project Poster/Exhibit(15%)In addition to the final presentation in class, each team will make a poster that explains the project clearly and visually. We will give you guidelines for what should be included on the poster.

    At the annual HCDE Open House event (June 3th, 5:30 – 6:30 pm), the department will feature the work of its student BS and MS capstone projects. All of the project posters will be exhibited and each team should attend to talk about the project and answer questions from guests about the work. You do not have to give a formal presentation at this event, but should be prepared to converse with visitors about the project.

    Audience: The audience for your poster will be guests of the Open House, which will include HCDE faculty, current students, alumni, and corporate affiliates. Also invited will be faculty across campus from other units. Most attendees will be familiar with the human-centered design process, but will be completely unfamiliar with capstone or your specific project.

    Details: Your poster will need to be 32” x 40” at 300 DPI in PDF format. It can be either landscape or portrait orientation. Easels and wallspace will both be available, so the poster can be mounted or left rolled up for wall mounting.

    Deadline: Please bring a nearly complete draft (printed on an 8×11” sheet of paper) to class on Wednesday, May 29th. You will be doing peer reviews of your poster during that time. Your final version will be due in Canvas by Thursday, May 30th at 5:00 P.M. if you would like to have it printed by the department. If you would like to have more time, you can have it printed yourself and get reimbursed (up to $30) and bring it to the open house directly on June 5th (see below for places to get it printed). However, you should still upload a digital copy to Canvas for grading by June 3th.

    Content: The content of your poster should cover your project concept/idea and how you might sell it to an external audience. You should provide a description of your problem and clearly describe the solution or process you’ve followed to attempt to solve that problem.

    Grading Criteria: Posters will be graded according to the following criteria:

    • clearly motivates a problem or question
    • clearly describes a solution or answer
    • design, writing, and content are of professional quality

    Printing Options (for self-printing):