Final ProjectCode Submission due: 12:00 pm, Thu 7 May
This description applies to students who are pursuing the “Depth” option for completing the SoftDes course via virtual instruction (as a result of unusual circumstances introduced by the COVID-19 pandemic). From now until the end of the semester you will be working with a team of students on a group software project. The theme of the project will follow the MP4 guidelines of interactive programming. The project will culminate during the Final Event period for this class, with a virtual website walkthrough.
- Most of the your final project should be written in Python. It is okay if some amount is written in another language, but the bulk of the project should be implemented in Python. Part of the reason for this requirement is to facilitate peer design reviews.
- You will create a Software Impact Statement that illustrates your reflection on the ethical considerations you made throughout the design process, starting with project ideation and the priorities you set for your team.
- Under normal semester circumstances, we would follow the theme of the course (computation as applied to interesting problems in science, engineering, and beyond) and have teams form around disciplines / problems each team member cared deeply about. We’d offer guidance for doing a project “for” a client, such as faculty and staff on campus or parents and relatives with industry jobs.
- This semester, we are adapting the Final Project format to extended Interactive Programming efforts, that began when Mini-Project 4 was announced.
- A good Final project is one that has a realistic and well-defined minimum deliverable as well as many opportunities for going beyond the minimum deliverable (depending on the pace and enthusiasm of the team).
- You will work on a team of 2-4 students. Project topics must be ones submitted as the adapted MP4 assignment.
Team Formation Advice
- Try to work with people who have similar preferences for remote work as your own. For example, if you prefer to chat via Slack DMs informally throughout the day rahter than meeting by video during pre-defined times, try to work with partners who share that preference.
- Try to work with people because you share a common interest rather than simply working with your friends.
- Work with people that want to devote similar amounts of time to the project. For instance, if you want to devote your life to making the best most awesomest SoftDes project ever, you should probably work with other people who share that desire!
- Work with people that envision a similar style of work on the project. For instance, if you really want to pair-program the entire project, but your teammates prefer to divvy up the work and work independently, that may be a less effective collaboration.
Refer back to the answers you provided during the reflection and teaming surveys throughout the semester and share your thoughts with potential teammates.
Project Activities / Deliverables
Project and Partner Picking
You will need to agree upon team members and a submitted MP4 topic to build upon and indicate to us via a Canvas assignment the team members, the project name, the theme, and the details below. You will then create your GitHub repository by accepting the GitHub classroom assignment and adding all team members to the repository (by referring to the same repo name). You will be using this repository for project code, but some other written assignments will be submitted via Canvas.
Create a document that answers the following questions. More detailed answers give us an ability to give you better feedback to start the project (or revise your proposal).
- The Big Idea: What is the main idea of your final project / MP4 extension? What topics will you explore and what will you generate? What is your minimum viable product? What is a stretch goal?
- Learning Goals: What are your individual learning goals for this project?
- Implementation Plan: This will probably be pretty vague initially. Perhaps at this early juncture you will have identified a library or a framework that you think will be useful for your project (MVC or otherwise). If you don’t have any idea how you will implement your project, provide a rough plan for how you will determine this information.
- Collaboration plan: How do you plan to collaborate over a distance with your teammates on this project? Will you split tasks up, complete them independently, and then integrate? Will you share a screen and pair program the entire thing? Make sure to articulate your plan for successfully working together as a team. This might also include information about any software development methodologies you plan to use (e.g. agile development). Make sure to make clear why you are choosing this particular organizational structure.
- Risks: What do you view as the biggest risks to the success of this project? Since you’ve identified them, how will you mitigate them? How would you describe the ethical risks of a fully realized version of your project?
- Additional Course Content: What are some topics that we might cover in class that you think would be especially helpful for your project?
Please do not just paste in these questions and answer them, instead, use them as guidelines to check for completeness as you draft a cohesive proposal document.
You can assume that this proposal is for information sharing and not seeking approval for you to start working. If we have any questions or concerns, we’ll reach out.
_First Review Date: _
The Architectural reviews are worth 15% of the project grade (rubric).
Each team will complete two architectural reviews, which will entail teams presenting (via video conference) plans for their project to instructors, course assistants, and potentially other teams or virtual guests. These reviews are intended to be interactive, and will focus on soliciting useful/actionable feedback rather than being a one-way brain dump. In addition to the synchronous component of this activity, there will be a framing/agenda setting document due before the review and a reflection/synthesis document due after.
See the Architectural Review page for full details about the assignment.
Final revision, that incorporates instructor feedback, due .
The final website is worth 25% of the project grade
Your project website is the lasting record of what you have accomplished over the course of this project, and hopefully a valuable contribution to your professional portfolio. You should draw upon all the deliverables and activities above to create the final site, combining, reformatting, and adding to them to effectively tell the story of your project.
The project website can serve many audiences, including:
- Current and future SoftDes students and faculty
- Potential users of your software and those with a domain-specific interest in your topic
- Future employers
- Final event audience, broader Olin community, family
There are many successful formats for a project website, but you should consider including:
Big Idea/Goal/What is this?/ Why did we do this? Quick and easily understandable explanation of what your project is all about. Consider including a narrative or example use case, e.g. via screenshots, video, or story boarding.
User instructions/README Information to help users download, install, and get started running your software (README rubric)
Implementation information Code doesn’t tell a story by itself. Use more effective methods such as flowcharts and architectural, class, or sequence diagrams to explain how your code works. You could consider including or linking to snippets of code to highlight a particularly crucial segment.
Results Though the details will be different for each project, show off what your software can do! Screenshots and video are likely helpful. Include graphs or other data if appropriate.
Software Impact Statement Reflect on the ethical considerations you made throughout the design process, starting with project ideation and the priorities you set for your team. You should think of all of the stakeholders that might be impacted by your project and unintended consequences of the deployment of your software in real world scenarios. Discuss strategies for mitigating these issues.
Project evolution/narrative Tell an illustrative story about the process of creating your software, showing how it improved over time. This may draw upon what you learned from the two peer technical reviews and from the code review. Consider the use of screenshots or other tools to demonstrate how your project evolved.
Attribution Give proper credit for external resources used.
Note: These content prompts exist to inspire your thinking, and you should use whatever organization and sections make sense for your project and the story you’re telling. Simply answering the given prompts sequentially is not the strongest way to communicate your work to an external audience. Think about what you’ve accomplished and frame it nicely - finish strong!
Your final project website will be implemented using GitHub pages, possibly along with Jekyll (as we do for the course website). If you have a compelling reason you need to use a different platform, please discuss with course staff.
You must include a link to your project website from your GitHub repository.
Submission mechanics: Your project’s GitHub repo page should link to your web site. This means either the README, or the Website that is optionally displayed in the upper right corner of your GitHub repo page, should contain this link.
Demo Session Poster
_Completed and shared before on _
The project poster are worth 10% of the project grade.
Each team will also generate an informational poster about your project following the template provided by course staff.
This semester, we are not asking teams to create videos - which would have been short (1-2 minute) pitches for your project - demonstrating its functionality. They typically included the project’s goal, what the software does, how to use it, why a team made it, and what a team would do if they had more time. Any team can make a video and add it to their webpage, however this is completely optional.
Due: Thursday, May 7
Project code is worth 40% of the project grade (see code rubric on the course policy page)
Project code must be submitted via GitHub by May 7. You must include a README describing how to run your code, including any required dependencies (e.g. libraries to install) and any input files (README rubric).
Proper documentation is important to your final submission, and one way to ensure you have adequate docstrings is to generate documentation from them. You can do this using pydoc:
$ pydoc path/to/my_project.py
This will open a help file based on your docstrings (use q to quit). Make sure the help file would be useful to someone using your code, and feel free to attach it to your code submission as an appendix. If you want to generate truly beautiful documentation, check out Sphinx (the tool used to generate the Python documentation).
Make sure that your code gives appropriate attribution to external resources used, as per the course policy page. If you have any questions about this, just ask.
Submission mechanics: Push your work to GitHub, and verify that all your final changes are reflected on github.com. Submit a link to your work on Canvas.
Final Demo / Presentation Session
Date: Thursday, May 7, 12:00 PM
During the Final Event, all studios of SoftDes will be invited to the zoom room and we will allow each team to talk for a minute or two about their posters. Other members of the Olin community may join virtually.