Assignment 2 - Application Seminar

Issue date   Monday, 21 August 2017
Groupings due   Friday, 25 August 2017, 23:59
Slides submission   Friday, 1 September 2017, 23:59
Presentation   Monday, 4 September 2017, 18:30
Application critiques   Tuesday, 5 September 2017, 23:59
Mutual critiques   Sunday,10 September 2017, 23:59

General Overview

In order to build good and original applications, it is important to learn what other people have already done — and think critically about what is good and bad, as well as explore ways to improve and to generate new ideas. In addition, it is important to learn how to articulate one’s ideas in a clear and succinct way both orally and in writing. The application seminar is designed to help students both (i) gain a better understanding of existing applications; (ii) learn how to present (or sell one’s ideas) and (iii) learn how to articulate their ideas on paper.

You will form groups of 4 people to study one application of choice and make a presentation about it to the rest of the class on 4 Sep 2017. Each team will put up their grouping and propose three choices (in order of preference) by 23:59pm on 25 August 2017 on the seminar groupings page on the Course Wiki. Your group can talk about any app that has been released within the last three years. The reason why each group is required to submit three choices is to avoid duplications. In case of duplications, we will make the choice at random. We will sort out the assignments of the applications to be studied by 27 August 2017 and you will be informed.

Grading and Admin

The presentations should attempt to cover the following points about the chosen application:

  1. Description of the application
  2. Why we should care about the application you chose
  3. How the application can be implemented if you had to do it (Describe the program organization by using high level views like logic flow, identifying technologies used like Flash, FBJS, etc)
  4. What is good, bad and ugly about the application
  5. Suggested improvements
  6. Commercial potential
  7. New app(s)/business models/ideas arising from studying the application

From our past experience, students tend to ramble on and on in their presentations. To control this we are using a format called Pecha Kucha. See for an example. It works like a charm. We will do the same this year.

In particular, each presentation is limited to 20 slides and each slide should have exactly 20 seconds of air time. This means that each presentation should be approximately 7 minutes long. Please stay within this time limit. You can choose to have a single person present or more than one but keep in mind that you have a limited time. The teaching staff WILL cut you off after 7 minutes.

Perhaps it is impossible to cover all the suggested points above in 7 minutes? Well, the point here is to make a thoughtful presentation. You need to work out as a group exactly what do if you can’t fit everything into 7 minutes. Sometimes less is more. Sometimes it’s not. Life is full of hard questions.

You can present using Powerpoint, Keynote or whatever tools you wish to use. Surprise us (in a good way) if you can. BEFORE submitting please ensure that your slides auto-advance every 20 seconds. No cheating! 😜

Following the presentation, there will be a short Q&A session opened to the rest of the class for a maximum of 3 minutes.

Application Critique

After listening to all the presentations, each student will be randomly assigned to write about one of the applications that was presented (but not his/her own presentation), and have to blog about the following:

  1. Summary of what the presenting team said about the application that you think is most important. Don’t just regurgitate the entire presentation. Focus on say three points and explain why you feel that they are the most important points. If you cannot even find three significant points/lessons from the application you choose, then pick another one! (15%)

  2. What are your (original) thoughts? (10%)

The fun part is that the assignment of the presentation each student has to write about will be done only AFTER all the presentations are over. This means that every student will have to pay attention to every presentation 😎. Those who like Russian Roulette are welcome to play and sleep for some presentations.

This is not a literature class and you are not required to write in poetry. We only ask that you think carefully about what you heard and express your ideas clearly. Points will not be taken off for typos or grammatical ideas as long as the ideas are expressed clearly and can be understood easily. There is no minimum length, but do have some mercy on your poor lecturer and try to keep within what would be 2 pages of A4 if it was a typed report. What matters is not how much you write, but the quality of your thoughts and ideas and how much you actually learnt from the process.

You are of course also welcome to blog about other aspects of the app seminar and also about lessons learnt in addition to this assignment. The application critique should appear on your blog by 23:59 on 5 September 2017 (i.e. the next day).

Mutual Critique

Just when you thought you were done after you finish writing your own critique, you’re not. What you need to do after that it to visit your fellow coursemates blogs and critique what they write, i.e. post comments on their critiques. You can agree with them; you can disagree with them and offer differing opinions. It is therefore important that your blog has commenting functionality and that comments appear after a person posts it, without admin moderation.

Just bear in mind that goal of CS3216 is to learn. You do not do better in this segment of the assignment by being really nasty and running your coursemates down. Be civil. Be polite. Be kind. If others post comments disagreeing with you on your blog, do not be too defensive. All these comments should be posted by by 23:59 on 10 Sep 2017 (Sunday).

How many comments should you post? As many as you think is appropriate and sufficient to earn the 10% grade for this part of the assignment.

Remember: it will go well with you (and your grade) if you demonstrate that you actually learnt something and have approach this application seminar in a thoughtful way 😃.

You also get points if your friends come post stuff on your blog. The idea here is that whether you can write stuff that is thoughtful enough to attract readers and people to post comments is a measure of “quality”.

Assessment Scheme

The following are the weightages for the two components:

  • 55% Group presentation
  • 25% Application critique (what you write in your blog)
  • 10% Mutual critique (comments people post on your blog)
  • 10% Mutual critique (comments you post on people’s blogs)

Overall, the application seminar is worth 10% of your final grade.

Mode of Submission

The slides for the presentation should be named group-<number>-seminar.{pptx|key} and uploaded to IVLE by 23:59 on August 26 (Friday), because we will be pulling the slides from IVLE to project on screen during class. The application critiques should appear on your blog within 24 hours of the app seminar, by 23:59 on 5 September 2017* (Tuesday). Your comments for the mutual critique part should be done by by **23:59 on 10 Sep 2017 (Sunday). Not following the submission instructions (e.g. incorrect file naming) will result in deduction of marks.

Clarifications and questions related to this assignment should be posted to the CS3216 Slack channel “#ay1718-assg2”.

The way this assignment is structured, it might seem very stressful — but it’s really not quite as bad as it seems. It’s actually fun if taken in the right spirit.

Good luck and have fun!