Projects

During the first seven weeks of class, project work builds incrementally as described in each week’s lectures, labs, and assignments. The Project Work list in Week 5 Assignments summarizes much of that preliminary work.

After the spring break trips, the class focuses intensely on their projects. This page describes the project design process and deliverables starting with Week 9.

Examples of student work can be found on the Project Results page.

Project Deliverables for 2nd Half of Term

Wiki Design Notebook

Each week, your team should update your team’s wiki page. If you do a great job documenting everything, it will make your final report much, MUCH easier to write.

The wiki should include key documents (project specs, etc.), an ever-changing schedule, photos from experiments, scans of best brainstormed ideas, etc. It should also contain a weekly report on your communications with your community partner (you should do everything in your power — regular emails and/or phonecalls to stay in touch) so that they are up to date on your progress and can offer feedback.

Initial Design Review (Week 12)

At this review, you’ll have 10 minutes to present your project, and then 15 minutes for discussion and questions. If you want to use powerpoint, send me your presentation by 9 am that morning. You should bring your working prototype and show it working. For teams that will need fire, for example, you should think about whether you want to do your presentation outside, but also have a weather backup, like a video of your prototype working. You should also have a looks-like prototype, either by making your working prototype one that looks like it’s supposed to look like, or by making a second prototype. (For example, if you were inventing an iphone, you could have one prototype that was on a laptop that showed all the software functionality of the iphone (works-like), and a metal and glass model that didn’t work but showed how it’d look, or you could have the whole iphone all together, depending on how far along you were in your design process. There will be some people at the design review who will be brand new, so as you prepare your presentation, assume a scientific audience with no background on your project or D-Lab Energy whatsoever.

A video of the initial design review presentations is on the Project Results page.

Final Design Review & Presentations (Week 14)

Our final presentations will be part of a Saturday showcase of the projects from all D-Lab classes. Each team will prepare the following:

  1. One-minute Presentation. Each team will need to prepare a VERY brief, one-minute oral presentation that describes your prototype and summarizes the key aspects of your design. Your audience for this is non-technical, and this presentation should be engaging and exciting and get people to want to learn more.
  2. Poster Session. After the presentations your team will host a booth so that people in the audience can come to ask you questions about your final prototype. For your booth you should have a working prototype and you should prepare up to two 20’x30’ posters for display that help describe the problem and your solution. Engaging posters and hands-on activities for the general public are ideal.
  3. Final Design Review. During the poster session, your team will break off for a bit for your final design review presentation. At this presentation, you’ll have 10 minutes to present your project, and then 10 minutes for discussion and questions (20 minutes total). You should bring a working, good-looking prototype and show it working. For teams that can’t demonstrate it working in a classroom because of fire issues or something, show a video for the working aspect. In this case, your prototype should be at full on iPhone version, not split into a “looks like” and “works like.” There will be some people at the design review who will be brand new, so as you prepare your presentation, assume a scientific audience with no background on your project or D-Lab Energy whatsoever.

A video of the final design review presentations is on the Project Results page.

Final Report

The final report (one per team) is due at noon on our final class day, along with a teamwork survey (one per person).

The purpose of the final report is to document your project so that community partners and/or future students interested in your work can understand it, avoid repetition, and make further progress. As a team, write a 12-15 page report describing your project. In it you should include:

  • An abstract, summarizing your work (about 150 words) and a single, representative photo for the project.
  • The problem statement, including information about your community partners.
  • The design specifications you developed and reasons for them.
  • A brief review of the design concepts you considered and the reasons why you selected your final design.
  • A detailed description of your design, including reasons for your design decisions. Include pictures, drawings, and calculations as needed to fully describe your design such that an outside party could both fully operate your product and create replicas. An appendix with an instruction manual is appropriate.
  • Methodologies and results of tests you performed in designing and refining your prototype.
  • Discuss the extent to which your final design meets the design specifications, and if there are shortfalls, indicate how these might be addressed in the future.
  • How your design has been received by your community partner, what follow up is needed (prototype delivery, etc.), and how that will be achieved. Include any plans your team and/or any members of your team have for moving this project forward beyond the auspices of SP.775.

As always when writing, be sure to cite any references properly and edit carefully.

Sample final reports can found on the Project Results page.

Grading Rubrics

Design Project grading rubric used by instructors (PDF)

Teamwork self-assessment rubric (PDF)

Course Info

Learning Resource Types

assignment Problem Sets
group_work Projects with Examples
theaters Lecture Videos
theaters Demonstration Videos
assignment Activity Assignments
assignment_turned_in Design Assignments with Examples
assignment_turned_in Presentation Assignments with Examples