1.4. Grading Rubric

Everybody is assumed to start with an A in the course. If you do the work you will keep it, but failing to fulfill the expectations will cause you to drift downward.

Grading for this course is based on frequent low-stakes assessment. Each assignment is graded on one or more of the following criteria:

  • concept: clarity of the key idea, articulation of key principles and narrative, applicability to human or artistic needs, selection of appropriate aspects for proof-of-concept.
  • execution: translation of the concept into design, quality of the technical implementation.
  • documentation: quality of the reflection, clarity of the presentation, detail of the technical documentation.

Each applicable criterion is rated on a two point scale as follows:

  • 0: incomplete: does not satisfy objectives
  • 1: satisfactory: answers the prompt
  • 2: outstanding: surprises, shows deep insight

Full project reports will utilize all three criteria and be graded on a scale of 0-6, comprising two points each for concept, execution, and documentation.

Please note that the typical successful score will be a three, not a six; this is best regarded as a pass/fail score for each of the three criteria with the possibility for bonus points.

Please note that project deadlines are strict as outlined in the Lateness Policy section.

Project reports must also adhere carefully to the requirements specified in the Project Reports section in order to achieve full documentation scores.

The total course grades are scored on a relative scale based on weighted point totals. The approximate total weighting is 60% for projects, 30% for exercises, and 10% for other. The full grade includes many categories:

  1. group project proposals
  2. group project milestones
  3. group project reports documenting full projects
  4. ideation exercises
  5. reviews of lab notebooks documenting technical exercises
  6. brief individual topical lectures
  7. individual peer-evaluation reports
  8. skills survey
  9. individual interviews
  10. attendance

Grades provide only a rough metric for student feedback. The more nuanced and useful feedback comes from in-class verbal critiques, individual interviews, and written comments.

1.4.1. In-Class Project Reviews

Several class days will be devoted to in-class demonstration and critique, including commentary from peers, instructors, and guest experts. Given the size of the class we must keep a rigid schedule during these reviews. Each group will be expected to make a brief 2-3 minute verbal presentation of their goals and results, followed by an open question and critique period. Successful presentation in such a concise form depends on planning; students are expected to prepare and rehearse their explanations.

The in-class presentation and critique of projects serves several purposes:

  • provides a live performance or demonstration for evaluation
  • demonstrates your ability to speak succintly about your ideas
  • provides the primary opportunity for your peers to see and comment on your work

Please prepare for the critique as follows:

  1. Please be prepared to give a brief (typically 2 minute) verbal overview of your idea and execution. Please rehearse this explanation ahead of time.
  2. Please be prepared to demonstrate or perform at your designated time. Please rehearse your performance ahead of time.
  3. For the project artifacts and performance, the overall emphasis is on proof-of-concept rather than fit and finish. Please be prepared to designate what issues were deliberately set aside and which were explored to guide the critique. But please be prepared to justify this choice in light of the overall concept.
  4. In-class critique may still consider all features in relation to their support of the concept, especially when guest instructors are present. When this happens, please consider this an exploration of your idea that goes beyond the graded evaluation.

1.4.2. Interviews

The course includes students with widely varying experience and highly individual learning goals. In order to clarify individual goals and expectations, there will be three private out-of-class interviews with each individual student, held near the beginning, midpoint, and end of the semester. Students will be prompted in advance in order to prepare statements of their objectives, progress, or achievements for each interview stage. This is not a graded exercise but a means of providing individual feedback.

1.4.3. Project Reports

Each assignment serves both learning and evaluative goals. Fulfilling the assignment is an essential step in the learning process, and the result also demonstrates learning success. Please take careful note of the requirements each assignment: they represent a contract between student and instructor.

The objective of assigning reports is to encourage evaluative thinking throughout the process of development. Writing and sketching is much faster than physically building something, and writing the core of the report first is a great way to clarify a concept. It is highly recommended to consider the report requirements throughout your process, e.g., by taking in-process notes and photos, and fully drawing out designs. For full project reports, please be careful to observe the detailed specifications listed in Project Reports.

1.4.4. Written Feedback

The counterpart to the strict submission deadlines is a committment from the instructor to provide timely written feedback within one week of each deadline. This provides an opportunity for constructive critique to be applied immediately.

1.5. General Course Policies

1.5.1. Attendance Policy

Coming to class is important: don’t be absent. I understand that the hour is early and your other courses have big deadlines, but the designated class hours are the most effective time for communicating among group members and instructors.

If you must be absent, please keep me informed, preferably in advance. This is a project-based class where we work in teams, and I need to make sure absences aren’t impacting other students.

Attendance will be recorded for each class period and your record will be considered during final grading. Unexcused absences during review days will reduce your individual project grades.

1.5.2. Physical Computing Lab

The classroom for the course in the IDeATe Physical Computing Lab in Hunt A10. It is part of the IDeATe@Hunt Collaborative Making Facility and students will be required to follow the IDeATe@Hunt policies as detailed under IDeATe Facilities Policies and Fees.

All lab users are expected to abide by the Physical Computing Lab Policies. The lab inventory of components and materials is available online as a Google Sheet named Physical Computing Lab Inventory, with separate tabs for tools and materials.

The room is used quite a bit during Mon-Thu, see Physical Computing Lab Calendar or IDeATe@Hunt PhysComp Lab Calendar.

Other resources may be reserved using the IDeATe@Hunt Reservations Calendar.

1.5.3. Lateness Policy

All assignments must be submitted by the required deadline, unless prior authorization is obtained from an instructor and documented in email. Verbal authorization is not sufficient: any verbal discussion of late submission must be documented with an emailed request and reply.

Assignments received within 24 hours of the deadline will receive half-score. Assignments received later than 24 hours will not be examined and receive zero score.

Assignments bounced for revision at the discretion of the instructor must be returned within 24 hours if not otherwise specified. This rule is meant to allow a grace period for reports which overlook a required element; please do not assume that incomplete work can be resubmitted.

However, please remember that something is always better than nothing. If the deadline is imminent, please submit whatever text, images, and drawings you can rather than do nothing.

And please also note that I understand you have other major deadlines, so extensions will be forgiving. Always ask for an extension rather than silently fail to deliver.