Assignment P3 (Summer 2017)

Due: Sunday, June 4th, 2017, by 11:59PM UTC-12 (Anywhere on Earth). This assignment is based on lessons 2.7 (Task Analysis), 2.8 (Distributed Cognition), and 2.9 (Interfaces and Politics).

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 2.8): ~400 words

Imagine a time before GPS navigation was as widespread as it is now, and think of the system for navigation comprised by two individuals (assume that it is a married couple), a map, and any other artifacts the individuals generate.

Analyze this system from the perspective of distributed cognition: what cognitive activities, including perception, memory, reasoning, and acting, does each part of the system perform?

Then, examine this same situation from the perspective of social cognition. What does social cognition reveal about the situation that distributed cognition does not? How might the social relationships among the parts of the system affect the success of the system as a whole?

Question 2 (from Lesson 2.8): ~400 words

Distributed cognition is a lens through which we can view HCI. Take any task you’ve described in a previous assignment for this class (or, if necessary, a task you haven’t previously described) and analyze it from the perspective of distributed cognition.

First, identify and briefly describe the task you’ve chosen and the interface associated with it. Then, describe the pieces of the system.

Then, describe what cognitive tasks are performed by each member of the system, both human and artifact alike. Make sure to choose interfaces that touch on multiple cognitive roles in the non-human portions of the system; memory is easy, but what about reasoning, perception, and acting?

To make this question easier, make sure to focus on a task that involves multiple pieces, such as multiple users and an interface, or a user and multiple interfaces.

Question 3 (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 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.

Question 4 (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. We’ll talk more about stakeholders in Unit 3, but generally, stakeholders are anyone affected by the technology. 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.

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.

Submission Instructions

Assignments should be submitted to the corresponding assignment on T-Square 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 describes how to access the assignment.

This is an individual assignment. Every student should submit an assignment individually.

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

Grading Information

As with all assignments and projects in this class, this assignment will be graded on a traditional A-F scale based on the extent to which your assignment meets expectations. Due to T-Square restrictions, your grade will be provided on a 5-point scale: a ‘5’ is an A, a ‘4’ is a B, a ‘3’ is a C, a ‘2’ is a D, a ‘1’ is an F, and a ‘0’ is a failure-to-submit.

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.