Assignment P5 (Fall 2017)

Due: Sunday, October 29th, 2017, by 11:59PM UTC-12 (Anywhere on Earth). This assignment is based on lessons 2.9 (Interfaces and Politics) and 2.10 (Conclusion to Principles).

Assignment Instructions

Answer the following four questions in a maximum of 400 words each (on average), with a recommended length of 350 words each. Including more than 1600 words in your assignment as a whole may incur a grade penalty. Clearly delineate where each answer starts and ends.

You are encouraged to complement your response with diagrams, drawings, pictures, etc.; these do not count against the word limit. If you would like to include additional information beyond the word limit, you may include it in clearly-marked appendices. These materials will not be used in grading your assignment, but they may help you get better feedback from your classmates and grader.

Question 1 (from Lesson 2.9): ~400 words

The OMSCS program is an excellent example of a place where technology and society are intersecting.

First, select and describe a specific positive effect of the existence of programs like Georgia Tech’s OMSCS, emphasizing how that positive effect is due to specific elements of the program (such as its low cost, its asynchronous structure, its subsidized model, etc.).

Then, select a potential negative repercussion of programs like Georgia Tech’s OMSCS, emphasizing how that negative effect is also due to specific elements of the program.

Finally, design how the program can be structured to preserve the positive effect while limiting the negative effect.

Hint: Be specific, especially with the positive effect. “More people can get Master’s degrees” is not a specific positive benefit, although it might lead to more specific positive benefits (especially if the demographics of who is able to get the degree are changing). If you’re having trouble thinking of something specific, try to think of something unintentional but positive.

Question 2 (from Lesson 2.9): ~400 words

Identify an area you encounter regularly where political motivations are determining the design of technology. First, describe the area you’ve selected.

Then, describe the stakeholders in that area, including their motivations. Any interesting technology will likely have at least three groups of stakeholders.

Then, describe at least three ways those motivations are specifically affecting the design of the technology in that area. If you’re on the right track, you’ll likely find the motivations are in conflict.

Hint: Remember, political motivations do not necessarily have to be things like liberal and conservative; rather, they are places where the technology is designed to create some kind of societal change rather than to maximize usability. Note that also you may choose a technology where different stakeholders are attempting to design it in competing ways; however, this should be present in their actual designs rather than in things like legislation for which they lobby.

Question 3 (from Lesson 2.10): ~400 words

Select and redesign a piece of Piazza (for example, the topic list, a single message thread, the notification system, etc.). Ideally this will include screenshots and mock-ups, but you may also just describe a redesign in text.

Then, justify your redesign with at least five of the principles covered in Unit 2. Specifically describe how each of the five principles from this unit applies to that redesign of Piazza. For the purposes of this question, a principle could be any lesson topic, any design guideline or heuristic, any theory concerning interface design, or any paradigm of interaction design.

Hint: Start with the feature that you want to redesign, then apply five principles to redesign it. You’ll find this question is much easier to answer if you redesign the interface based on these principles rather than redesigning the interface and then retroactively justifying it with these principles.

Question 4 (from Lesson 2.10): ~400 words

Every year, ACM CHI is the world’s largest conference on Human-Computer Interaction. Select a paper from one of the most recent three CHI conferences (2017, 2016, 2015). List the paper’s title and author list, and then briefly summarize the paper. In summarizing, be careful not to restate the abstract: the abstract for the paper emphasizes the paper’s significance, but your summary should focus on describing the paper to someone unfamiliar with the contents at all.

Then, describe why you find this paper interesting or why you selected it for this assignment.

Submission Instructions

Assignments should be submitted to the corresponding assignment submission page in accordance with the Assignment Submission Instructions. Most importantly, you should submit a single PDF for each assignment. This PDF will be ported over to Peer Feedback for peer review by your classmates. If your assignment involves things (like videos, working software prototypes, etc.) that cannot be provided in PDF, you should provide them separately (either through the class Resources folder or your own upload destination) and submit a PDF that links to or otherwise describes how to access that material.

This is an individual assignment. Even if you already plan to work on a team for the project, this assignment should still be completed individually.

Late work is not accepted without advanced agreement except in cases of medical or family emergencies. In the case of such an emergency, please contact the Dean of Students.

Grading Information

As with all assignments in this class, this assignment will be graded on a traditional A-F scale based on the extent to which your deliverable met expectations. This letter grade will be derived from internal scores assigned to each problem.

Peer Review

After submission, your assignment will be ported to Peer Feedback for review by your classmates. Grading is not the primary function of this peer review process; the primary function is simply to give you the opportunity to read and comment on your classmates’ ideas, and receive additional feedback on your own. All grades will come from the graders alone.

You will typically be assigned three classmates to review. You receive 1.5 participation points for completing a peer review by the end of the day Thursday; 1.0 for completing a peer review by the end of the day Sunday; and 0.5 for completing it after Sunday but before the end of the semester. For more details, see the participation policy.