CMS.594 | Spring 2019 | Undergraduate

Education Technology Studio


Design Journal

Short assignments in the form of a design journal entry or technical preparation will be completed each week. Design journal reflections will be completed in a semi-public journal and typically will be shared in class with peers. In addition, the design journal will serve as a landing page for all mini and final projects. Students are instructed to use the design journal template (PDF)

Assignments listed are due at the start of class. 

Ses # Assignments


Familiarize yourself with the syllabus and come prepared to ask clarifying questions.


Familiarize yourself with the HarvardX-MITx Person-Course Academic Year 2013 De-Identified dataset and brainstorm ideas about what to do, analyze or build based on the provided dataset.

Review your knowledge of a data analysis programing language (R or Python).


Ideate and implement some analysis, charts and visualizations based on the provided dataset. Fill in the two designated slides of the design journal with analysis, visualizations or any other results that you might have accomplished.


In your design journal, you will prepare a final prototype of your learning analytics data-driven product to be presented in class. During class you will be doing a presentation of 10 min + 5 min of questions explaining your motivation to develop this project, who can use this, how and with what objective, and rationale of your technical decisions.

Mini-project #1 submission report and presentation is due before class.

Where to submit: Students will include a link to the presentation slides in their design journal and should upload mini-project #1 submission report to the course website.


After reading about and experiencing practice spaces in today’s class, post a short description (200 words) of your own proposed practice space for mini-project #2 in your design journal. The description should identify: (1) the problem of practice your practice space addresses, (2) the intended user, (3) the proposed setting, and (4) skills you want the user to practice.


Prepare a prototype of your proposed practice space to playtest in class. Feel free to use the technology and interface that you feel most comfortable with; if you have experience with coding and want to create a web application that’s great, but it’s also fine if you want to create a paper prototype or a mock-up in Google Slides. The only requirements are that it represents a fully thought-out idea and that other students can try it out in class.

Where to submit: In your design journal (include links when possible). If it’s a paper prototype take pictures of it and upload it to the design journal. All prototypes should be brought to class for playtesting.


Mini-project #2 prototype and submission report due. Students will include a link to the demo in their design journal and should upload mini-project #2 submission report to the course website.


After reading about and experiencing UDL implementations, write a design journal entry which should consist of a short description (200 words, Images, etc.) describing your own proposed prototype for mini-project #3. Be sure to identify which barrier to learning you believe your design will address.


Prototype of how to improve technology with UDL for all students including students with disabilities to be included in the design journal complete with a 3-slide PowerPoint describing how your prototype reflects the UDL principles.


Mini-project #3 revised prototype memo due. Students will include a link to the demo in their design journal and should upload mini-project #3 submission report to the course website.


Revisit your “reflection” design journal entries from the end of each of the three mini-projects where you wrote notes to yourself about what you would like to accomplish with four more weeks to work on each mini-project. Respond to the following questions in your design journal:

  1. Which proposed improvements do you feel more excited about?
  2. Which improvements seem most promising to you?
  3. Of the potential extensions you have identified, what challenges do you anticipate in implementing your own recommendations? You may also conclude that none of your mini-projects are suitable for further exploration and propose a new innovation for a user/partner of your choosing.

You may include a combination of text plus images, sketches, code, or other media in your response. Be prepared to share your responses in class.


Using your empathy/stakeholder protocol, by this class, you will have conducted an interview(s) of either (1) an expert in the field who directly understands the needs of your end user; or (2) interview extreme users and those in the middle or “mainstream” of your target audience. You must let the instructor know if you need support in identifying and connecting to the appropriate individuals and securing interview(s) in advance of today’s due date. Take field notes during the interview.

Using your field notes, create four slides in your design journal that include the following:

  1. Interviewee: Who did you interview? Justify your choice of an interviewee. Were they an expert or the extreme/mainstream users?
  2. Key takeaways: What are some key takeaways from your empathy stakeholder interview? What surprised you?
  3. Design refinements: How will you integrate feedback from your interview to make refinements to your prototype? Propose 2-3 ideas for changes that you will make based on your interviewee’s responses.
  4. Potential roadblocks: What challenges do you anticipate in implementing these refinements and what resources might help you address them?

Be prepared to share with peers during class.


Playtest-ready project prototype and protocol for playtest.

Where to submit: In your design journal (include links when possible). Cases where the design journal submission format is not feasible should be discussed on an individual basis with the instructor.


All final project components due: (1) Final project prototype, (2) final presentation slide deck, and (3) written product.

Where to submit: Project prototype and slide deck should be linked in the design journal. The final written product should be uploaded to the course website.

Learning Resource Types
Lecture Notes
Projects with Examples
Instructor Insights