CS 4634 – Design of Information


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To gently introduce you to various methods of approaching design and information, the homework is meant to be fun and easy.

Each assignment is worth 3.5 points. You will get 3 points for completing the assignment on time and meeting the requirements. To get the full 3.5 points, you must go beyond the requirements. You must explain in what way you have gone beyond the assignment. Each assignment will have an example of how much effort is required to earn the full 3.5 points.

Some of the homework assignments will be used in the weekly practicum sessions.

Assignment submissions: Homework submissions are due by class time (11:00 AM) on the due date. Late homework will loose one point for each day late. Homework will typically beuploaded to a designated location on scholar, but email submissions before the class time are also acceptable for special cases. Please contact the professor or TA for permission to submit electronically. Check each assignment description for details on submission.

Remember that the honor code is in effect for all homework assignments.


Homework 1 - Information in the Environment

due 2015.09.01
The first homework assignment is to photograph information in the everyday public environment of Virginia Tech and the surrounding areas that you and your fellow students routinely come into contact with. Grades are here.

Homework 2 - Your Story in Torgersen

due 2015.09.10
Create a 3 panel hallway display about you – particularly, some aspect of you that is relevant to the Department of Computer Science. You get to decide on the content – only a small part of the grade will be about the content. The main point of this homework assignment is to show that you can think about the issues in the display of information. There are two parts to this assignment: the three Powerpoint slides and a short report that describes the design issues you considered and the design decisions you made and the problems you encountered. It should also discuss and present iterations you made as the design evolved. Grades and comments are here.

Homework 3 - XML Shakespeare

due 2015.09.24
You are to create an interactive XML-based system that will result in a new creative work. This project is to (1) make sure all can do competent computer science, (2) get everyone thinking about XML, (3) have some fun. You are to use Jon Bosak's website of XML'd Shakespeare plays (http://metalab.unc.edu/bosak/xml/eg/shaks200.zip) as source to create a new work. Other material may additionally be used. If you are having problems coming up with an idea, see me in office hours or make an ap- pointment. If you are unsure about XML, the first thing to do is look at the XML'd plays. For many of you, that should be enough to figure out the basics of XML; for a tutorial on XML, see www.w3schools.com or www.xml.com/pub/a/98/10/guide0.html. Grades and comments.

Homework 4 - Entering the Design World

due 2015.10.22
You are to immerse yourself in the world of design by browsing the website www.designobserver.com. When you find something that is interesting to you, you are to write a report about it to be shared with the rest of the class. We will set up a wiki page for you to post your commentary. Each report should begin your one paragraph summary of the item, telling us where it is (e.g. its URL), who wrote it, what it is about, and whether there is commentary about it. The bulk of your report should be an argument about why this is important to think about. Post on the course wiki “Homework 4” page, edit to add your article. Grades and comments are here.


Homework 5 - Card Sort

due 2015.11.10
You are to work with your group to come up with contents that a representative user will put into piles and then create labels for. Each person needs to do the card sort with only one person; each representativeuser should not be a person in the class. Grades and comments are here.

Homework 6 - Mini- Pre-Final

due 2015.12.01
Explain how the previous five homework assignments influenced your group’s project. This is to be illustrated by elements found in your blog/journal. The report will be graded on how professional it looks and how well it reads. It may be that the previous homework assignments had little obvious effect on the selected project concept or design. In that case, argue how things you learned in the previous 5 homework assignments could be used to alter or improve the concept and/or design. Regardless, the most important thing about this assignment is to begin using your blog/journal as a reflective tool. Learning to write reflectively based on a review of it is an important design method..

Copyright © 2015 Steve Harrison