Class Participation

Each class is critical to your learning experience. Your energy in contributing to class discussions, small-group exercises, and on-going research will be important. Therefore, coming to class prepared (e.g., reading all course readings, working on project research, etc.) will be necessary to receiving full credit for class participation.


Class Participation
    3 points x 14 class sessions
42 points
Design Workouts 1 & 2
    25 points x 2 Design Workouts
50 points
Mid-Term Design Workout3 Poster
58 points
Final Group Project/Presentation 100 points
Total 250 points

Design Workouts

We want to give you opportunities to practice the techniques you are learning in class and reading about at home. Below are 5 “Design Workouts” to explore. Choose 3 out of the 5 to complete and submit one in weeks 3, 5, & 8. You can choose to do your design workouts in any order:
  1. TASK ANALYSIS: Observe a child, an adult, and a college student using a cell phone to complete the same task. Describe the task, similarities of how the task was carried out by each user, and the differences in how the task was carried out by each users. Then discuss at least one implication of what you observed for the design of future cell phones (or apps if they were using an app to complete the cell phone task).

  2. PAPER PROTOTYPING: Make a paper prototype of a cell phone app and try it out with 5 potential users. Be sure to take a picture of the paper prototype and hand that in with a summary of your experience trying it out with users. Your summary should include the implications for future iterations of your prototype.

  3. PARTICIPATORY DESIGN: Talk with 2 out of the 4 types of users listed below. Ask what they would re-design if they could. Conduct a short participatory design study with them to solicit their design ideas. Write or draw to show us their design idea and to reflect on what you learned about the participatory design process. Types of users can include:
    • Metro station employees– ask them to re-design the systems riders use to purchase and re-load passes
    • Employees at the food court in Stamp’s Student Union– ask them to re-design the systems they use for ordering and payments
    • Fellow University of Maryland students– ask them to re-design Blackboard

  4. DESIGN ITERATIONS: Select a website and visually redesign its home page and 2 internal pages. Make 3 different design versions for each page and explain what the goal of the visual iteration is. When you submit the assignment, make sure to include images from the original site.

  5. VISUAL TRANSLATION: Find a print book and visually redesign 5 of its spreads for a website. Explain why you have made the visual design choices you did. Describe the user needs you are addressing with your visual translation to a new technology.
You must submit a summary of your design workout, in which you address all of the components asked for in the design workout description. Please work carefully to produce a thoughtful well-organized, well-written/designed piece that reflects your experiences and what you learned from them. Go to the class WIKI to submit your piece. You must submit each design workout by 2pm on the day it is due. If it is not submitted on time that day, your grade will be reduced by 5 points. For each subsequent day it is late your grade will be reduced by 5 points. If you have never used a WIKI, see one of the course instructors and we will go over a few basics. All design workouts will be graded for content, writing structure, and design approach in the following form.The three design workouts will be due on the following dates: September 26th, October 10th, October 31st (see also mid-term information below).

Mid-Term Design Workout Session

Choose one of the design workouts to present as a poster. A poster should be completed in addition to completing the Design Workout assignment as asked. In your poster, you should include your name, the design workout you did, and you should address each of the questions or issues that the workout asked you to address. If your workout included the use of a particular system or technology, be sure to include its URL, picture, name etc. Also be sure to include screen shots of the user interface. (Use a digital camera shot if the UI is not on a traditional computer.) You should then present the key points of your design workout with pictures and text in a poster.

During the poster session, the instructors and members of the class will walk around to each of the posters. During that time, you will give short explanations of your experience and what you learned from them. Instructors, classmates, and any other designers present will then be able to ask you questions about your experience. All posters and discussions will be graded for content and presentation in the following form.

Final Group Project, Presentation, and Individual Paper

In the last 5 weeks of the semester, you will work for the University of Maryland’s President’s Commission on Ethnic Minority Issues (PCEMI). This commission was established in 1973 to address the concerns of ethnic minority groups on the UMCP campus. As an advocate for the ethnic minority community, PCEMI has endeavored to ensure that barriers to equal access are identified and addressed, and that ethnic minorities are represented in all aspects of life and study throughout the UMCP campus. PCEMI is especially concerned about the population of first-generation minority students on campus. They would like to establish a supportive community for this group of students at the University of Maryland. In order to accomplish this, they must first gain an understanding of the needs of this population of students. They have called on your group/class to help them by designing technology (e.g., social networks, mobile technology, devices, etc.) that will help first generation college students to establish or find supportive communities within the university that will foster their success at the university.

You must first gain an understanding of this population – their needs, goals, challenges at the university, etc. You must then design a system to address some aspect of their needs. You will therefore be requested to conduct a needs analysis, collect data, and work with users (first generation college students) to develop a proposed prototype (e.g., paper, midtech, or interactive) and evaluate user response. You will work in teams of 3-4 students to complete this project. The Group's final PowerPoint presentation to the client (PCEMI) should include: a summary of the design process, the prototype to-date, initial findings from evaluation, and proposed next steps for an eventual development process. In no more than 10 pages, but no less than 5, each team member should provide an individual paper with the following:

  • The user need(s) that should be addressed
  • Supporting information on why you know this is an important problem to solve (e.g., literature, observation of others, personal experience, all of them...but it can't just be your personal experience)
  • Proposed technology for satisfying this need
  • Summary of Design Process
  • Proposed next steps
  • Any references you have cited
All papers and group presentations must be submitted to the class WIKI by 2pm December 12th. If it is not submitted on time that day, your grade will be reduced by 8 points. For each subsequent day it is late your grade will be reduced by 8 points. All final projects will be graded based on the group and individual work. This includes the content, slide presentation, writing structure, and design approach in the following form1 and form2.

Academic Integrity

The University of Maryland, College Park has a nationally recognized Code of Academic Integrity, administered by the Student Honor Council. This Code sets standards for academic integrity at Maryland for all undergraduate and graduate students. As a student you are responsible for upholding these standards for this course. It is very important for you to be aware of the consequences of cheating, fabrication, facilitation, and plagiarism. Please visit the Code of Academic Integrity or the Student Honor Council, for more information.