Assignment 1 Submission

Yesterday I submitted my first (and in all likelihood final) assignment for HCI12.

My final submission was somewhat incomplete. In parts it was excellent šŸ˜‰ but in others parts, it was, how can a put it… empty! Ā So what when wrong? Why did I fail to complete it & bother submitting a half-completed assignment?Ā Taking the last question first, I submitted my assignment, even though I know it’s incompleteness will result in a ‘fail’, because I want to take part in the peer assessment process. At the end of the day, experiencing the MOOC, not passing the HCI assignments is my priority.

So why did I fail to complete it? I think there are a number of overlapping factors:

  • Workload – this was a significant piece of work. I estimate I spent at least 5-hours preparing an incomplete assignment! (This includes the observations themselves)
  • Challenging – it wasn’t easy; the bits I failed to do were the bits I found difficult – being creative, brainstorming ideas & finding sources of inspiration for parts 2&3 of the assignment.
  • Motivation – Making a good job of the observations was important to me. I was motivated by the enjoyment of doing them and the actual process. Observing people using computers fascinates me. I know. Weird. I found the process of doing the observations very worthwhile & learnt a lot about the process. But ultimately IĀ don’tĀ have a great deal of motivation to pass the assignment itself or the “assignment track” of this course!

So the assignment is submitted and the next stage is some training in marking assignments before being let loose on 5 other students’ assignments.

Daily catch-up

Not posted for a while… first to catch-up on dailies:

  • Weds – 2nd observation & write-up
  • Thurs – 3rd observation
  • Fri – nowt
  • Saturday – nowt
  • Sunday – 3rd observation review & Assignment 1 submission

Peer Assessment

Our 5 course assignments will be peer assessed. It’s quite an involved process… we have to pass a training session on peerĀ assessmentĀ before we can do it for real. We then have to assess five other students assignments as well as our own. From Coursera:

What is Peer Assessment?

Peer assessment is the process of having students grade each other’s assignments according to a grading rubric that has been pre-defined by the instructor.

What is the process like? A students submits her assignment. Until the grading deadline, she has unlimited chances to (re)submit her assignment, with no penalties for resubmission.When the assignment due date is up, she undergoes a training process in which she goes through a few grading exercises. Some of these exercises may be anonymous submissions from classmates who have not opted out of the distribution for the grading exercise.Once she has passed the training process, she then peer-assesses several submissions from other students in her class, according to the rubric provided.She then self-assesses her own assignment, according to the same rubric.Now that she has completed peer and self-assessing, she can see her results for the assignment. Each student will receive their final grade, as well as the breakdown of each question. Continue reading

Sunday Update

Today I have:

  • Watched 2/3 of Week 2’s videos.Ā  Week two starts tomorrow but the lectures cover the topic of the first assignment which needed to be underway sooner.
  • Emailed all staff in my two Schools to try and get 3 volunteers for observations later this week.
  • Done some reading: Data Gathering in Preece et al (2011) Interaction Design. I feel fortunate to have access to a university library (another post to come on this); Interviewing section in Kuniavsky (2003) Observing the User Experience (scanned copy found online… Tsk)

Week 1 Report

My first weekly report from the Coursera / Stanford University Human-Computer Interaction (HCI) course. As I hope to write something each week I’m going to aim to keep to just one or two topics for each ‘report’.

The course is challenging, made so by the first assignment (due at the end of week 2) which is substantial and requires quite a bit of planning. Working from a choice of design briefs we have to come up with a specific activity to observe and then carry out real-life observations of three people . These have to be written up (including photo/sketch for each) followed by a couple more not insignificant activities. It is this first assignment, not the lectures (which I’ll save commenting on for another week) that has sparked my interest and got me reading round the subject.

I’ve been disappointed with the level and quality of course information and the communication from the teaching staff, particularly for a solely online course. It’s an area that needs addressing. The “syllabus” is a list of the lectures. The “calendar” doesn’t include the various assignment deadlines which are complicated because it’s peer assessment so each assignment has two deadlines. The two ‘Welcome’ emails both arrived later than I would have expected and the course area appears to have opened on the Monday evening US west coast time, so Tues 25th here. It had a start date of 24/9/12 so technically it made it but I’m sure most students were expecting to get access earlier. The relationship between the 5 assignments has not been clear either and there has been quite a bit of clarification sought on the Discussion Boards.

It’s also been disappointing to discover that there is no student list or way to browse / search for other students. The only way to access a student profile is via their name if they have posted on the discussion boards. I have no idea how many students are taking the course (1000s I presume?) but I’d expected to have easier access to them and tools for sending messages, creating group forums etc.