December 2010 Archives

Due Today:

Final Portfolio

1) Written Report (30%)
  • Abstract (10%)
  • Body (20%)
2) Final Portfolio Screencast (30%)

3) Presentation and Project (40%)

1) Written Report

Your final project report starts with a blog entry, written for the benefit of an outside audience (one that does not know anything about the purpose of EL405).  The written component of the final portfolio should be about 800 words (roughly three or four pages, not including illustrations). Feel free to link to more detailed blog entries if you have more detail than will fit in 800 words.

The blog entry that starts your final project portfolio should either contain or link to an abstract.
Note: The abstract does not simply list the questions you are going to answer. Instead, it actually provides the answers (as briefly as possible).
  • If your term project is an IF game, then I ask that you create a promotional page for your game, as part of your iPad-optimized web portfolio. (Why? Because I would like to see your polished HTML skills; further, your game may be of interest to players who aren't that interested in your educational goals.) Your promotional page should include a screen shot, instructions for first-time players (you can link to existing online instructions rather than write your own, but a few original lines will be useful), and a prominent link to where your visitors can play your game online. Don't forget to beta-test this promotional page. Here are examples of Emily Short's promotional pages and Adam Cadre's promotional pages. Artwork is optional.)
  • If your term project is a web site, then you don't need a separate promotional page.
Your reader will read your abstract first, but you should write your abstract last -- after you have written out all the details in the body of your report.

Your complete abstract will feature, in a usefully-organized manner,
___ a description of your final product
___ the goals that motivated you at the beginning
___ the resources you used as models and tutorials
___ your previous experience in your chosen genre
___ your most important beta-testing results
___ the most important changes you made since the beta report

___ concise, informative prose
___ specific answers and conclusions (an abstract should not simply tease the contents of the full report)
___ a link to your final online project
___ a link to your final portfolio screencast (see details, below)
The abstract should be very concise, with no more than a sentence or two devoted to each item, but feel free to share your frustrations and triumphs, demonstrating your ability to engage as well as inform; please don't just write down the information in the order that I've listed it here. Instead, write an informative, persuasive package that highlights your accomplishments. Ask yourself, if your reader looks at nothing but your abstract, will he or she get your best points? You can leave the details for later, but the abstract is not a table of contents or a teaser.

The body of your portfolio should offer
___ more detailed treatments of each point you made in the abstract (with specific examples or narration, as appropriate), following the same order in which the points were presented in the abstract.  (You might offer additional blog entries to supply details of the various supporting points, or you might divide your work up into numbered subsections.)
___ as part of the details mentioned above, useful, selective screenshots of both the code and final product. (Carefully explain each screenshot, but note that three or four detailed examples that show diversity and creativity will be more valuable than an exhaustive record of what happens when you click every link or type every command)

2) Final Portfolio Screencast

Your final screencast should be four to six minutes long. Mention all the components of your portfolio report, but feel free to emphasize those parts that would be most interesting in video format.

The screencast should not simply walk the viewer through your project. Rather, its main purpose is to demonstrate how your usability testing helped you improve your project. (Try to make this engaging, rather than dry; hit the highlights.)

That screencast should include brief clips (introduced and/or captioned so that their purpose is clear) showing
___ a volunteer user (not someone who is already familiar with your work) struggling with some area of your project (perhaps the user gets lost or confused, or gives up, or misses something that you thought was obvious)
___ your explanation of the code causing the problem (remember to change the font size so the code is legible)
___ a demonstration of your ability to modify the code to address the problem
___ a demonstration of how your code change avoids the problem (it would be acceptable if you simply demonstrated the revision yourself, but it would be even more persuasive if you can show a clip of a volunteer who, thanks to your revised code, sails through what had been a problem area)

Overall, your screencast should show
___ careful explanations of what you hope to accomplish by showing each clip. Think of the needs of an audience with no outside knowledge of your project or EL405. (It may help to think of a potential employer as your primary audience.)
___ good production values (smooth edits, audible sound, legible text)
___ selective editing (I am not asking to watch a user's complete encounter with your project -- just brief highlights; any long sequence where a player is reading or wrestling with a problem or the text isn't legible might need voice-over narration or pop-up captions so that the viewer can tell what's going on and why the clip is important; trim the dry stuff, so that your viewer spends more time watching interesting stuff)

Relationship between the written report and the screencast

While your screencast and your written portfolio cover the same subject, design them so that they make sense separately.
  • Your screencast should not assume the viewer has read your report, and your report should not refer specifically to something you say in your screencast.
  • I'd rather not watch a screencast that simply clicks through each section of your portfolio, but if you reuse some material, that's fine. Just bear in mind that you are demonstrating your ability to present the same information in two different formats.

3) Project Presentation

Update, Dec 1

Form: Either a video posted to YouTube, OR a formal live presentation.

While the portfolio screencasts focuses specifically on how your user testing helped you improve your final project, the entire project presentation has a broader focus.  (See the subject checklist, below.)  Pitch your final presentation to your classmates and your professor, who are deeply familiar with the goals and methods of EL405; avoid summary, and spend time on analysis, synthesis and evaluation. (See "Writing that Demonstrates Thinking Ability.")

(See the project proposal page)

___ Presentation revisits your initial goals in terms of your artistic, technical, and personal goals
___ Presentation showcases your methodical, thorough user testing procedure
___ Presentation assesses how your final project has approached your artistic, technical, and personal goals
___ Presentation includes hand-coded HTML optimized for the iPad (for IF projects, a single promotional page is fine; for HTML projects, the project itself is enough)

___ Project ambition (to what extent does it stretch the skills you demonstrated at midterm?)
___ Project depth/scope (to what extent is it bigger/longer/more complex/better than your midterm project in the same genre?)
___ Project polish (writing, mechanics, small details)
___ Project organization (how do the components mesh, flow, interact? Are the purposes of each component clear? )
1 2 3 4 5 6 7
8 9 10 11 12 13 14
15 16 17 18 19 20 21
22 23 24 25 26 27 28
29 30 31        
      1 02 3 4
5 6 07 8 09 10 11
12 13 14 15 16 17 18
19 20 21 22 23 24 25
26 27 28 29 30    
          1 2
3 4 05 6 07 8 9
10 11 12 13 14 15 16
17 18 19 20 21 22 23
24 25 26 27 28 29 30
  1 02 3 04 5 6
7 8 09 10 11 12 13
14 15 16 17 18 19 20
21 22 23 24 25 26 27
28 29 30        
      1 02 3 4
5 6 7 08 9 10 11
12 13 14 15 16 17 18
19 20 21 22 23 24 25
26 27 28 29 30 31