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  Course Assignments

Course Assignments

Assignment 1: 20 points
Your first assignment is to prepare an initial design document including the following:

  • Project overview
  • An audience analysis
  • Project goals
  • Technical needs
  • A management plan/ schedule
  • A rough budget
  • A preliminary plan for usability testing (ignore online surveys and focus groups because we do not have the necessary resources)

Sample design document download

Please also prepare a rough project estimate in which you 'guess-timate' the amount that it would cost to complete this project. You will find it interesting at the end of the semester to compare your estimate with the final total in the Budget Tracker.

To help you with the process, please consider each of the following:

  • The Client Survey on Pages 44-55 Client Survey
  • The Maintenance Survey on Page 48
  • The Expanded Tech-Check on Page 57 Expanded Tech Check
  • The Budget Tracker (see page 71). Budget Time Tracker (Important!! Fill-out throughout the semester and include in your final document)
  • The Estimate by Task worksheet Estimate by Task
  • The Estimate by Team worksheet Estimate by Team
  • The Additional Task worksheet (see page 71). (You don't need to fill this out, but you should read it and understand its importance).

Assignment 2: 10 points
Maintain a weekly blog in which you document the challenges and resolutions that you face as you proceed with the design and development processes. The purpose of this exercise is to document the 'trails and tribulations' of the design process and to help you to appreciate your personal growth as a designer. You should also use the blog to document technical problems you experience and solutions that you develop.

Assignment 3: 20 points
Readings: During the semester you are responsible for finding four articles, research papers, book chapters etc. about the design process. My only stipulation about the readings is that they should be directly related to your project design. Below is a list of design books and other resources that may be useful.

Buchanan, R. (1995) Wicked Problems in Design Thinking. In The Idea of Design. V. Margolin and R. Buchanan (eds). MIT Press, 3-20.
Buxton, B. (2007) Sketching User Experience – getting the design right and the right design. Morgan Kaufman.
Cross, N. (2007). Designerly Ways of Knowing. Birkhauser, Basel.
Dorst, C. H. (2003). Understanding Design. Amsterdam: BIS Publisher.
Heskett, J. (2002). Design – A Very Short Introduction. Oxford. Oxford Press.
Krippendorff, K. (2006) The Semantic Turn – A New Foundation for Design. CRC Press.
Lawson, B. (2005). How designers think – the design process demystified. Architectural Press.
Lawson, B. and Dorst, K. (2009). Design Expertise. Architectural Press.
Nelson, H. & Stolterman, E. (2003). The Design Way -- Intentional Change in an Unpredictable World. Educational Technology Publications. New Jersey.
Schön, D. A. (1991). The reflective practitioner : how professionals think in action. Aldershot England: Arena.
Simon, H. A. (1996). The sciences of the artificial (3rd ed.). Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press.

Journal of Information Architecture

Write a blog entry for each of the assigned readings. In all you will write 4 reaction papers (worth 5 points each). Reactions should include two parts: First, you should summarize the reading in your own words. Second, you should address what the reading means to you as a designer. Reaction papers should be no more than 500 words in length. Please indicate the length of your reaction paper at the end of the blog entry.

Additionally, each time you write a reaction paper you are expected to post a minimum of 2 reactions to postings by other class members (i.e. a minimum of 8 postings to other people's entries).

Final Project: 50 points
Your final design project will include:

  • A complete design document
  • The final (polished) product delivered via the web. This is NOT a prototype.
  • All other supporting documentation
  • Results of usability testing

The grades of A, B, C, and D are assigned the following grade-point equivalents by Penn State :

Point Value
Grade Point Average
>94 4.00 
A- >89-94 3.67
B+ >86-89 3.33
B >84-86 3.00
B-  >79-84 2.67
C+  >76-79 2.33
C >74-76 2.00
>69-74 1.00
F 69 or less 0

Please refer to the University Grading Policy for Undergraduate Courses for additional information about University grading policies.
If you are prevented from completing this course for reasons beyond your control, you have the option of requesting a deferred grade.

Accommodating Disabilities

Penn State encourages qualified persons with disabilities to participate in its programs and activities. If you anticipate needing any type of accommodation or have questions about the physical access provided, please see more information on the World Campus Web site. Penn State is committed to affirmative action, equal opportunity, and the diversity of its workforce.