Intermediate Milestones (Fall 2016)

Due: Two separate milestones, due October 30th and November 20th, each by 11:59PM UTC-12 (Anywhere on Earth).

Assignment Instructions

As part of your proposal process, you will describe 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.

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.

Submission Instructions

Assignments should be submitted to the corresponding Milestone 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.

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.

Grading Information

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.

Peer Review

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 four classmates to review. Peer reviews are due one week after the due date of the assignment, and count towards your participation grade.