Research & Learning
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Participation & Attendance: 40%
Participation & Attendance
Showing up on time, engaging in the class discussion, and offering advice and critique on other projects in the class is a major part of your grade. Please be present and prompt. Lateness will hurt your grade. If you're going to be late or absent, please email your instructor in advance. If you have an emergency, please let your instructor know as soon as you can. Please turn in assignments on time as well.
Laptop use is fine if you are using your laptop to present in class, or if we're in the middle of an exercise that makes use of it. Whenever classmates are presenting or we're in the midst of a class discussion, however, please keep your laptop closed. The quality of the class depends in large part on the quality of your attention and active participation, so please respect that and close your lid.
Please put them on vibrate or turn them off before you come to class unless they are part of your project. If you have an emergency that requires you to answer your phone during class, please tell your instructor ahead of time.
There is a lab activity for nearly every class in the first half of the semester. They are very short, simple activities. These are the basic steps you need to go through to understand the principle discussed in class each week. They're designed to help you not only to understand the technical details, but also to get a feel for what the technologies we're discussing can do, so that you can incorporate them into actual applications. You should at least complete the steps outlined in the lab activity each week, so that you understand practically what it is we're talking about. Document on your blog any discoveries you make, pitfalls you hit, and details not covered in the class or the lab that you think will be useful for your fellow students and future students in this class.
For production assignments, you'll be expected to present your project in class on the day that it's due. If you're working in a group, all group members should be present, and should participate equally in the presentation.
Journal & Documentation
You are expected to keep an online journal of your progress. The purpose of the journal is twofold. First, it is a valuable way for you to communicate to your instructor that you are keeping up with the work in the class. We read the journals to see how students are doing, so you should update your journal regularly throughout the semester. At a minimum, reference to each week's work is expected, as well as reference to the readings, and thorough documentation of the production projects and technical research. Second, the journal is a way to document your work for your own use and that of others. Many ITP students have found themselves using their journals as a place to store notes, code samples, and more.
Good documentation habits for this class:
You may choose to document your major projects in a separate individual or group site if you choose, but you will be expected to link your site to the main site, and contribute to the class site as well nonetheless. Please avoid flash, shockwave, or other sites that are not text-searchable, as they won't show up on search engines for others to use.
Blogs are great for documenting your process, as they're usually defaulted to organizing the information chronologically. However, projects summarized in a blog can be confusing. It's often worthwhile to set up a separate page or pages to summarize your projects when they're done.
You should document your projects thoroughly. Plan in advance, and perhaps as a group, to have what you need to document at least your midterms and finals. Photos, video, drawings, schematics, and notes are all valuable forms of documentation. Explain the project at the beginning of your documentation, so that people who come to the site from outside this class will understand the overview before they get the explanation.
Don't overload your notes with code. If you've made a big improvement on an existing piece of code, post your new code, and link to the code you based it on (just as you would in citing a pervious author in a paper). If you only changed one part of an existing program, post only the part you changed, and link to the original. Make sure any code you post is well-commented, so you and others can understand what it does.
Always cite the sources of your code, the places you learned techniques from, and the inspirations of your ideas. This is the equivalent to citing your sources in a written paper, and copying code or techniques without attribution is plagiarism. few ideas come out of the blue, and your readers can learn a lot from the sources you learned from or were inspired by.
Good documentation should include a description and illustration of your project. You should include what it looks like, what it does, what the user or participant does in response. It should give enough information that someone from outside ITP, who's never seen the project, can get an understanding of what your project is.
You should also include a section describing the workings of the project, aimed at a more informed reader (me, or next year's classmates), so that the details of production are clear. It doesn't have to include every scrap of code and circuit diagram, but it should make clear what the major components of the system are, and how they communicate, and what the code, if any, does.
Work on this as you go, don't put it off until the end. Your fellow classmates will find your notes as useful too.
Pictures and video help a lot.
Some good project summary sites:
A few good recent sample journals: