Lecture Materials and Activity 3: Design

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This week we are talking more about design and the way design fits into the concept of Technology as a System – a system complete with inputs, processes, and outputs.

Lecture Materials

For this week, March 12-16, please carefully review two sets of slides on Technology as a System and Problem Solving Design Processes (ODU Google Apps login required).

You should recognize these slides because we’ve seen them several times already this semester. They will not be on a quiz, but will be important in your success on the group project and Activity 3 (explained below).

As designers of technology, you are responsible for carefully managing the flow of inputs (people, information, materials, etc.) through a problem-solving design process in order to maximize desired, intended outputs and minimize undesired, unintended outputs.

By the end of this week and moving into next week, you should have confidence in answering the following questions:

  • What are inputs?
  • What are processes?
  • What are outputs?

Activity 3 (20 points)

Your challenge this week — as a group — is to design, develop, model, evaluate, and communicate a means by which to transport the greatest quantity of provided material from a marked starting point, across a designated distance, and to a marked delivery point with the highest degree of accuracy and precision.

More details to come in class…



Group Problem Statement Focus Checkpoint

By this Wednesday 2.15, each group must have posted on their group blog their Group Problem Focus.

What is this? 

The Group Problem Focus is a short statement of exactly the problem that your group agrees it will address.

Your Group Problem Focus is a declarative statement and could begin as follows (but don’t feel limited by this wording)

The problem is that…

This is still in the Analysis phase of the ADDIE Process (refer to this post as a reminder and link to Lecture 1a: More on Problem Solving and Design slides (ODU Google login req’d for examples and more information).

Analyze: Analyze the problem by identifying, researching, and clarifying the exact nature of the problem.

Think of this Group Problem Focus statement as the culmination of your group conversation to this point: Each of you initially proposed a problem idea and then as a group you wrote a tentative statement of your problem. Next, you each went out and found more research about this tentative problem. You all discussed what you found and asked yourself some tough questions: Do we really understand and agree on our problem? Is the tentative problem we wrote the actual problem or is it a symptom / effect of something deeper? Think of how a medical doctor or psychologist keeps asking questions and probing until she/he has identified the true, root problem. This is what you’re doing now.

You want your Group Problem Focus to be concise — there should be no vagueness or confusion in exactly what you’re tackling. Keep your focus extremely limited and defined.

Again, see the Lecture 1a: More on Problem Solving and Design (ODU Google login req’d) for problem statement examples and how to work through refining your statement. 

Also, check out this tutorial on developing your final Group Problem Focus statement: Writing a Problem Statement

Demo Day Pitches

So, what might your final group project pitches look like? How do we introduce our problem? How are we making meaning? We’ll talk about all of these in greater detail as we go along this semester. Your pitch for this class doesn’t have to have the extreme level of financial details shown in the videos; instead, I want you to focus on effectively explaining your problem and solution, and then how you’ll make things happen.

Take some inspiration from the pitches presented in the video below. You can see and hear how quickly and clearly the presenters deliver the problem and what they’re going to do about it.

Re-vinyl: “A mobile application that connects commerce and creation while making digital music an art of promotion.”

You’ll also recognize in this pitch that they are making meaning by preventing the end of something good.


Here is another one for OnSwipe: “Insanely Easy Tablet Publishing”


And another for BuildingLayer: “Making Lost Obsolete”

Checkpoint: Individual Problem Analysis Statement and Research

As in the Course Schedule, you have a group project checkpoint (ungraded, but I’ll be looking at your blogs for evidence of progress…) for Feb. 5 for which I’ve asked each member to publish a new post to their group’s blog:

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Lecture 1: Technology and Problem Solving

Lecture 1 – Technology and Problem Solving (ODU Google Apps login required)

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