Intermediate Milestones (Spring 2017)
Due: Two separate milestones, due between March 5th, 2017 and April 23rd, 2017 (minimum two weeks apart), each by 11:59PM UTC-12 (Anywhere on Earth).
As part of your proposal process, you will describe (and agree to deadlines for) two milestones that you will deliver while completing your project. These milestones should be in service of the overall project, but should also be chances to show your work off to your classmates and mentor. The primary functions of these milestones are to (a) demonstrate to your mentor the work you have accomplished, and (b) provide your mentor and classmates the material necessary to receive feedback on your progress so far. These milestones may also accomplish other goals, like receiving feedback from beta testers, recruiting experimental subjects, or publicizing your work to a greater audience.
You have some flexibility in defining your intermediate milestones based on the specific demands of your project. We do have some recommendations depending on whether you’re on the development track or the research track.
- Development Track. If you’re on the development track, we recommend you use the first intermediate milestone to get some feedback on your preliminary ideas. Your first few weeks might be spent compiling low-fidelity prototypes, wireframes, or interaction designs. Test these out with your classmates and mentor. For the second milestone, ideally you will be ready for some early beta testing with potential users. The tool need not be complete, but enough interaction should ideally be ready to do some early testing.
- Research Track. If you’re on the research track, we recommend you use the first intermediate milestone to preview your research methodology to your classmates and mentor. Get feedback from them on the surveys you’ve constructed, the recruitment procedures you have in mind, etc. Then, use that feedback to improve them before sending them to your participants. For the second milestone, you will ideally have some preliminary data to share; share your early conclusions and observations, as well as your plans for ongoing analysis leading up to the final deliverable.
Total, your two intermediate milestones are expected to take approximately four hours to prepare. During the proposal process, your mentor will observe and approve your proposed milestones to ensure the right amount of work is proposed overall. Below are some ideas for intermediate milestones to include in your proposal. We encourage you to follow the functional roles for the milestones described above depending on your track, but you are welcome to tailor the style of the deliverable to your particular feedback needs. Some ideas for how you present your milestones include:
- Trailers. A short, entertaining video “advertising” your project. Have fun with it!
- Presentations. A video demonstrating your project’s current status, explaining the rationale, the design, etc.
- Functional Prototypes. If you’re building a piece of software, a working demo that your classmates can actually use.
- Low-Fidelity Prototypes. If you’re building a piece of software, screen mock-ups and other prototypes of the ultimate design.
- Research Methodologies. If you’re planning to perform some research, the surveys, experimental walkthroughs, or other materials.
- Data Analysis. If you’ve already performed some research, the initial analysis of the data you’ve gathered, and the plans you have for continued analysis.
- Progress Reports. A description of the work that has been completed, along with open questions.
- Final Project Drafts. If you’re ahead of the game, you may simply want to submit your current draft of the final project, your presentation, or your paper to get earlier feedback. Note that if you do this, we will expect to see significant revision in the actual final submission.
The most important thing is to get the type of feedback you need when you need it. Construct your milestones with the types of questions you want your classmates and mentor to answer in mind.
During the proposal, you will specify the deadlines for your two milestones. You may choose any two Sundays from Week 8 to Week 15, as long as the two deadlines are at least two weeks apart (that is, you may not choose consecutive weeks). There are three purposes to this: (a) different projects need feedback at different times, and so you have the freedom to deliver milestones when you specifically need feedback; (b) by spreading out deadlines, you will have the opportunity to give and receive additional peer reviews without raising the workload in a single week; and (c) by spreading out the deadlines, your mentor will have more time to focus on your submission because it will not coincide with a dozen other submissions the same week.
In choosing deadlines, we recommend picking times when your project will be most ready to receive feedback, both in terms of its current maturity and in terms of the time remaining to incorporate said feedback. Projects on the Research track will probably benefit most from very early feedback (on survey questions, recruitment methodology, etc.) and very late feedback (on the reporting and results of analysis). Projects on the Development track will probably benefit more from slightly later first milestones (to give time for prototyping and brainstorming), and slightly earlier second milestones (to leave time for user-testing and revision).
Assignments should be submitted to the corresponding week’s 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.
Note that there is a separate Intermediate Milestone submission page on T-Square for each week; you need only submit to two of these. However, note that this means that the system does not protect you from forgetting a milestone altogether, so make sure you submit two separate milestones to separate submission pages.
If you are working on your project on a team, only one person needs to submit each assignment. Make sure to coordinate who is submitting each, however.
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.
As with all assignments in this class, each milestone will be graded on a traditional A-F scale based on the extent to which your deliverable met expectations. If your deliverable receives below an A, you may revise and resubmit it once within two weeks of the original due date or one week of receiving a grade, whichever is later. Note that this should not be treated as a de facto free pass to submit sorely lacking work initially; we reserve the right to deny resubmission or grade a resubmission more harshly if we perceive the original submission was lacking in earnest effort. 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.
After submission, your assignment will be ported to Peer Feedback for review by your mentor and 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. All grades will come from the graders alone.
You will typically be assigned two classmates to review for intermediate milestones, although depending on the number of submissions per deadline, you may receive one or three. 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.