Grades & Assignments

Grades & Assignments

You must complete all major assignments. If you do not submit all materials for each project, you will not pass the class. I am particularly twitchy about work you do that involves your fellow students. Take it seriously.

You should submit your work on time. Late work will only be accepted if you consult with me prior to the class period in which the work is due. Work is considered to be late after 5:00 pm (your time) on the due date.

GPA Percentage

A 100 – 94 percent

A- 93 – 90 percent

B+ 89 – 87 percent

B 86 – 83 percent

B- 82 – 80 percent

C+ 79 – 77 percent

C 76 – 73 percent

C- 72 – 70 percent

D+ 69 – 67 percent

D 66 – 63 percent

D- 62 – 60 percent

F 59 and below

 Course Projects (1800 points total)


I reserve the right to lower course grades dependent on unprofessional behavior to include but not be limited to class attendance, disrespectful behavior towards others, or turning in late work.

Graduate course work is a job, albeit one with terrible pay. As such you are expected to behave in a professional manner during both our class time and online interactions. Professionalism should be understood as not only showing up on time and being prepared and ready to work but also having an awareness of the implications of unprofessional behaviors i.e. bad grades. Each of us should feel free to express our thoughts and opinions openly, without fear of penalty, as long as we do so in a courteous way. Although we may not always agree with one another and may challenge each other to think about the course’s materials in new ways, I expect you to treat every person in this class as a valuable and respected member. Refrain from speaking, whispering, sleeping, playing on the computer, checking your cell phone, or engaging in other disrespectful behavior while someone else has the floor. When you enter the classroom, you should be engaged with the class.

Weekly responses: 100 points total DUE WEEKLY

Before 5:00 pm on Wednesdays, each participant will post an informal response to the class discussion list for the course, using that week’s readings (and/or synthesizing these with previous weeks’ readings) to respond to one or more of the questions. Or– a writer might respond to someone else’s responses, explore other questions she finds compelling, make connections to other areas of inquiry with which she is familiar . . . and so on. These responses should be roughly 250-500 words and be cast as constructive, crucial commentary. Further, at least five times over the course of the semester, each participant should respond briefly to one or more of the other writers’ posts during the period between Wednesday night and our class meeting. (It perhaps goes without saying that participants should commit to carefully reading other responses before class meets. I’ll say it anyway.) Each participant may “take off” composing a response the weeks in which she is preparing a critique for class discussions, as well as one additional week for whatever reason (conference, melt down, exhaustion). She should, however, still read others’ responses during that week.

Leadership of class discussion for recommended text: 100 points

This class has many recommended texts; students will help the class understand one of these recommended texts by reading it together and presenting the relevant work to the class. Pairs of students will be responsible for preparing a presentation that depicts the text’s main contribution to the field as well as a class handout or equivalent media that contains a complete reference, research questions/goals, methods used, findings, strengths and weaknesses and a recommendation for what sort of projects the text would be useful for tackling.

Peer review: 200 points

The class format permits us to operate much like a professional design group might. So in addition to the major project, each team and individual will be asked to engage in peer review of others’ work and to lead panel discussions which will examine important issues in interaction design. You will be allowed roughly a half hour for each project and be responsible for a very close and careful reading/response to a teams project. I want to stress that the review/response needs to be constructive and based on what we read in class (i.e., use the appropriate theoretical and design criteria, and don’t nitpick the editing-level stuff). I’m going to try a new tool for this that may blow up in all our faces. We’ll see.

Making Things

Below is a list of the “making things” assignments for the course. Each of the assignments is a component of a larger, semester‐long project which will require you to research and develop a information & interactions (a User Experience or “UX”) that transform, for the better, a social practice you have observed. You should work as part of a team. Individual projects will be considered in special circumstances.

The specific purpose and even the venue for your design can vary widely. You may choose to develop interactions appropriate to a hand‐held wireless device, a website, an information panel integrated into another product, etc. In fact, I encourage you to be creative and resist deciding on a particular format for your design until you have identified and begun to study the specific social practice(s) you wish to transform. Our aim in this course is true innovation, which requires thinking beyond the state‐of‐the‐art in any particular social setting.

To break it down, your final project will yield UX design documents, including a prototype and a specification document. Your design may extend to include features of a hardware unit; in that case, you should plan to produce a mock‐up physical prototype as well. Teams usually have fun with this aspect of the project.

#1 Individual Assessment: 200 points total (individual)

This is a self‐assessment in which you will describe your skills and abilities in five key areas: tools and techniques, teaming, design process, presentation & persuasion, and deliverables. You’ll complete an initial assessment at the beginning of the course and a final assessment at the end. You should advance in each of these five areas over the course of the semester and, in the final assessment, point to evidence of this advancement.

#2 Project Pitch & Proposal 300 points (collaborative)

Introduce your design concept and persuade the group of the user needs which support it. Discuss the preliminary analysis which supports your design concept, solicits feedback, and forecast next steps.

#3 Design Walkthrough w/ Work Models and Conceptual Design Memo 400 points (collaborative)

Introduce the group to your initial design concept using object‐oriented modeling diagrams and low‐fi prototyping techniques as support. Focus on how the design transforms the current activity scenario to meet the needs & expectations of users.

#4 Final Design Presentation w/ Prototype Views and Specification 400 points (collaborative)

Presentation: showcase your prototype views and persuade the group that your design choices are appropriate and buildable.

Spec: document your design in a way that communicates to potential developers and/or supporters that your design is viable.

#5 Final Design Reflection: 100 points (individual)

Reflection: This is a paper that leads us through the theoretical underpinnings of your design for an academic audience. Ideally this would lead to a conference paper in a Digital Humanities or Digital Rhetoric conference. It should draw on texts from the class and be conference paper length.