Final ProjectProject Website MVP due: 5:00 pm, Thu 29 Nov
Project Website, feedback addressed due: 12:30 pm, Thu 6 Dec
Final Deliverables due: 4:00 pm, Tue 11 Dec
From now until the end of the semester you will be working with a team of students on a group software project. The project will culminate during the Final Event period for this class, with an EXPO style demo session.
- As this class is called “Software Design”, your project should have a substantial software design component (interfacing with mechanical or electrical systems is considered on a case by case basis, but the software should be the major component).
- 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.
Suggestions for Project Topics
- Because the theme of this course is “computation as applied to interesting problems in science, engineering, and beyond” you may want to use this project as an opportunity to explore how computation can be applied to a discipline / problem you care deeply about. Choosing an interdisciplinary project may also allow your software design project to overlap with work you are doing in other courses (we are fine with this, but we would have to check with the other instructors to make sure this is okay). If you choose to be interdisciplinary, perhaps we can recruit an appropriate faculty angel adviser for your project.
- If you want to have some experience doing a project “for” a client, talk to faculty and staff on campus. Talk to parents and relatives with real jobs. They may have a need that your team can help with.
- Make a positive difference in the world. See broken things and try to fix them.
- A good project is one that meets your learning goals. For instance, if it is really important to you to learn how to create a program with a GUI, you should make sure that your project topic aligns with this learning goal.
- A good 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 2-3 students (4 possible for the right project). Instructors will help facilitate teaming and approve final teams
Team Formation Advice
- Try to work with people because you share a common interest rather than simply working with your friends (we will offer guidance during the final project kick-off).
- 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 is probably not a good situation.
Refer back to the answers you provided during the reflection and teaming surveys and share your thoughts with potential teammates.
Project Activities / Deliverables
Team Registration Survey
Due Thu, Oct 25
Add your team members and project idea to the ideation spreadsheet shared on Canvas.
Create your GitHub repository by accepting the GitHub classroom assignment and adding all team members to the repository. You will be using this repository to turn in all of the project deliverables listed below.
Due Mon, Oct 29
The project proposal is worth 10% of the project grade (rubric).
Create a document on your team’s final project repo 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 project? 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. If you don’t have any idea how you will implement your project, provide a rough plan for how you will determine this information.
- Project schedule: You have 6 weeks (roughly) to finish the project. Sketch out a rough schedule for completing the project. Depending on your project, you may be able to do this in great specificity or you may only be able to give a broad outline. Additionally, longer projects come with increased uncertainty, and this schedule will likely need to be refined along the way.
- Collaboration plan: How do you plan to collaborate with your teammates on this project? Will you split tasks up, complete them independently, and then integrate? Will you 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?
- Additional Course Content: What are some topics that we might cover in class that you think would be especially helpful for your project?
The teaching team will either approve your page, or provide suggestions and request revisions.
Date: Monday, November 5
The Architectural review(s) is worth 15% of the project grade (rubric).
Each team will complete one (or more) architectural reviews, which will entail teams presenting plans for their project to other teams, NINJAs, and instructors. This review is intended to be interactive, and will focus on soliciting useful/actionable feedback rather than being a one-way brain dump. In addition to the in-person 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.
Due: 5:00 PM Thursday, November 29.
Final revision, that incorporates instructor feedback, due 12:30 PM Thursday, December 6.
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.
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 may be implemented using whatever platform you like. You can use GitHub pages, possibly along with Jekyll (as we do for the course website), or you can switch to an easier option like Google Sites. If you’d like to make a GitHub site with multiple pages using Markdown, former SoftDes NINJAs Patrick and Franton have written a helpful guide.
Whatever implementation option you choose, you must include a link to your project website from your GitHub repository. Remember that this is part of your professional portfolio as you select a platform – choose something that will still be around in the future!
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 and Video
Printed before 16:00 PM on Tuesday, December 11
The poster and video are worth 10% of the project grade.
Each team will create a poster to accompany the final demonstration session. Your poster will contain similar information to your website, but reformatted and selectively edited for a different context:
- Poster - large form factor, tool to support your demo (content need not stand alone without explanation)
- Website - one-way communication, allows for more complete/in-depth coverage
Posters are generally 24 x 36 inches. You may use a larger size if you want. You can print your poster in the Olin computer lab.
Your poster should have the same sections as your website (but leave out installation instructions). It serves two purposes:
- We will put these on the wall during the final event, to display our work to each other and to visitors
- It is practice for a research poster, which is a standard format for presenting work at an academic conference, or in the halls of an academic institution. You may have seem posters during Olin EXPOs, or on some of the AC halls at other times. [Thinking and explaining clearly and laying out your work in this format is not bad practice for industry presentations too.]
Examples and guides:
Your website will have a video of your team demoing your project and giving a 1-minute or less pitch about it. Include the project’s goal, what the software does, how to use it, why your team made it, and what you would do if you had more time.
The teaching team will offer suggestions and give feedback on draft videos related to production quality and content.
Submission mechanics: (1) Your project README or project web site must link to your poster file and video. (2) Your poster must also be printed in time for the Dec 11 final event.
Due: Tuesday, December 11
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 December 11. 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: Verify that the link in the Final Project Team Survey is correct. Check that you have git pushed your final changes to GitHub.
Final Demo / Presentation Session
Date: Tuesday, Dec 11, 16:00 PM
During the Final Event, SoftDes will meet for an EXPO style poster/demo session of your final projects. This session is for everyone to share what they’ve created, and will not be evaluated. We will be inviting other members of the Olin community to check out your fantastic work.