172H Project

My goal for the 172H project is that it be fun, expand your abilities and confidence, make us all famous, get you excited about the possibility of non-lecture-and-test-based academic work (a.k.a. research) while also giving you a serious head start in that direction.

Through a public (and otherwise) process the 172H class should come up with teams, ideally of four students, and associated projects that each team will complete by the end of the semester. I'm hoping for some brief appearances by URCS students currently involved in research projects in organizations like rocHCI and rocHack.

Ideally again, the team should be enthusiastic about, optimistic about, and committed to the success of, the project. I hope this will require some compromise and negotiation, since I hope you all have fire in your bellies about what YOU want to do. The goal would be jointly to create a project that maximally takes advantage of the team members' talents and enthusiasms. Brainstorming should inform all of us about personalities, talents, experience, and project ideas. Teams can emerge from shared interest in a topic, which then gets shaped by the team into an appealing project. Careful: practical team logistics are as important as interests and talents (see next paragraph).

Or, it's not actually a crazy idea to put together a team based on simple logistical realities, like all being able to meet regularly! The project topic will then emerge. FYI. entering Simon School MBA students are randomly assigned to teams that don't change over the semester.

My prior conception about how the team- and project-building will be scheduled and graded is the following. (Project is 30% of course grade)

  1. (0%) In-class Brainstorming and Team-Building (partly in class) (2 weeks)
  2. (10%) Proposal Submission (2 weeks)
  3. (15%) Revised Proposal and Pilot Study Submission (2 weeks)
  4. (X%) Progress Report and Partial Demo (Public 1 class) (3 weeks)
  5. (Y%) Final Presentation (Public 1 class) (4 weeks)
  6. (Z%) Final Web Page Submission (on or before final exam day 12/18)
  7. (W%) my.Project Submission: an individual's summary of goals, results, effort, contribution, what was learned, etc.

Here are some basic thoughts and trades-off: you have choice on the one but not on the other.

  1. Working singly: total control, no meetings to schedule and forget, nobody to blame but yourself. Don't develop "teaming" skills. Versus... Working in a team: can get more ambitious things done, partly through parallelism but maybe more by exploiting members' different talents and backgrounds (and personalities). Teamwork is an important real-world skill in itself: employers and grad schools care about it. Important: make absolutely sure that the team can find regular (probably twice-a-week) meeting times. Missing team meetings is unprofessional of you, maddening for others, and threatens grades.
  2. Making the project "in line" (unlike 172) takes up lecture time. 172H will thus approach a "flipped class" (look it up if it's a new phrase). Leaving aside the pedagogical theory etc., the practical effect in 172H is that the lectures won't cover all the material, or cover it as deeply as 172. That means students must read outside class (gasp!!) -- the text or the on-line lectures or both.
  3. To accomodate the implicit project schedule above, we shall have to push around some "slack" days, causing time-slippage, and possibly delay in lecture content, with respect to 172.

More Details

See Project Technicalities for style and content

See Project Ideas for a trainload of strip-mined web content.

See Project Teams for developments on team formation.

Last update: 8/13/14: CB