Winter Quarter 2019

Perspectives in Assistive Technology


David L. Jaffe, MS
Lathrop Library, Classroom 282
Tuesdays & Thursdays from 4:30pm to 5:50pm

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Comments about the Course
Winter 2018



Comments extracted from students' Individual Reflections

I came out of this class with great knowledge and a new interest in a field I didn't know much about, and I feel much more confident in my ability to design a product for real-world use, and for that, I am very grateful.

I first heard about this course from two great friends of mine and they spoke nothing but positive things about it. Now, looking back at the quarter, I see why they spoke so highly of the course but I am a bit confused as to why they didn’t mention the great amount of growth one experiences not only as engineers but as humans. This has been one of the most personally frustrating classes that I have taken at Stanford, and I mean this in the most positive sense. Most of my engineering classes challenge me in a very one-dimensional way: they present a specific topic in engineering, I attempt to learn the material, and I solve problems on paper. While I have learned a great deal throughout my time at Stanford pursuing a Mechanical Engineering degree, I haven’t really taken a step back and questioned why we do all of this in the grand scheme of things. This course not only pushed me to ask these questions and find answers, but it also revealed to me that engineering isn’t free of ethical dilemmas and political debates.

I found myself at Stanford, with the desire and tools necessary to bring to life ideas and projects that could in a small way change how society perceives disability. I found in Perspectives in Assistive Technology the perfect opportunity to fulfill this goal.

This course, “Perspectives in Assistive Technology” has given me a new perspective on the exciting possibilities within the health field and how creativity, intentionality and determination can truly create something beneficial. One of the most inspiring aspects of this course are all of the speakers and how they have given us many perspectives on both assistive technologies and the experience of having a disability. Another part of this course I have enjoyed is the “hands-on” approach, where we can directly work with a community member to attempt to solve a real issue. Sometimes at Stanford, I feel that we study a lot and learn a lot but do not always get the opportunity to apply these skills in real life. Part of working in real life involves flexibility and communication, and those are two skills I have worked on throughout this course.

This class was unlike any other I’ve taken at Stanford, mainly because of the inspiring focus on community involvement and meaningful projects. ... This course will absolutely inform my life after this quarter, both in how I perceive and interact with those with disabilities around me, and in my understanding of the current successes and opportunities for innovation in assistive technology. I’m excited to move forward with this knowledge in hand, and feel very grateful for the education I received in this class!

I appreciated how the design work fit into the course and the way we learned to think about assistive technology. The lectures rarely related directly to our project but provided a broader view of AT design and opportunities that were incredibly helpful. I hope to incorporate these perspectives as I continue pursuing a career in assistive technology and mobility design both in the immediate future, as a summer intern at Ekso Bionics, and beyond.

Before I left Stanford, I wanted to have the opportunity to get exposed to these [assistive technology] devices and ENGR 110 seemed like the perfect class to do that. Not only were the projects interesting and challenging, but the lectures covered topics that I never had the opportunity to learn about in my other classes, such as exoskeletons and wheelchair design. ... Overall, I think I had a wonderful experience in the class. I learned a lot from the speakers during lectures as well as worked on a prosthetic device with a practicing prosthetist. This class helped me ensure that I want to work with medical devices in the future.

For future students taking this class, I encourage them to find an issue to solve that is relevance to them, personally. I was highly motivated to work on this project, partly because I had experienced the problem of soft voice amongst people with PD first-hand, with my grandfather.

Overall, the project experience was rewarding. Going through the different stages of the design process gave me a sense of what to expect in each stage of the design process in future projects. Most importantly, my experience in the course showed me the value of constantly interacting with the user.

Spending the time in class to hear from so many interesting and accomplished individuals allowed us to continually keep perspective on the importance of our project work, and the passion and excitement of the speakers inspired us to be more creative and push our solution as far as it could go within our means. ... What this course has especially taught me is how important it is to stay in touch with the people you are designing for, and that a product that improves the life of just a single individual is a product with incredible impact and worth designing.

I’d like to start my reflection by expressing gratitude for the support structure and wellorganized nature of the class. It was my experience that lectures and class activities were well advertised, planned and executed, and that the weekly deliverables and expectations were clearly laid out in email communications and the course website. ... Overall, I feel the most important take-away for me from this class is a greater respect for and sensitivity to how we classify and name different levels of ability. I feel that this increased sensitivity, although a lifelong learning process, will help me in many aspects of my professional and personal life.

Overall, I very much enjoyed the course and working on the project. I learned a lot of things about the design process, specifically in terms of assistive technology. I would highly recommend the course to future students and encourage them to find room in their schedule for a team project!

I decided to take the class because I found it to be a unique opportunity to interact with medical devices and the people involved in making and using them. I wanted to participate in the course because it was going to require me to work outside of my comfort zone while also tying directly in to the type of medical work which I intend to do after graduating. This course ties directly into my career plans because it gives me a point of reference for how development would work in a smaller team working on a medical device, from ascertaining need to determining how best to fulfill that gap between need and expectation.

This class has overall helped shape the way I look at the world. Thanks to this class I look at the world at much different lenses. I see that innovation and ideas are all around us. This particular class helped me understand the true value of design, brainstorming, and prototyping as an aspiring prospective engineer. I can honestly say that it has been one my favorite classes here at Stanford. What I really enjoyed about this class is being able to actually interact with the folks that we as a team were designing for. I really enjoyed how learning to see how our work affected the outside world around us. It was eye opening to see how the work of an engineer actually affects our daily lives. I really appreciated being able to learn more about different communities and those who are disabled as well.

ENGR 110 offered the opportunity to learn through a number of lenses that I didn't expect even after beginning the course. A typical academic context offers knowledge through lectures and textbooks; this course certainly delivered on the lecture component, by both the instructor's lectures and his guests', but far and a way the most valuable part of the course was the engagement with community members who attended and interfaced with it.

My favorite part of this class was not what I expected, however. I really, genuinely loved having guest lecturers. It was amazing to see what companies are already out there, and what is being created already. I was able to really imagine myself at one of the workplaces from which our speakers came, and that was a beneficial experience. I particularly enjoyed the diversity of speakers. I feel as though I was able to get a broad understanding of engineering of assistive technology after hearing from those with disabilities, engineers in the workforce, and academics working on cutting edge technologies. ... After only 10 weeks, I realized that I am only getting a taste of what is out there for assistive technological design, but equipped with my engineering degree and new knowledge of overlooked issues around assistive technology products such as: cost, accessibility of maintenance, aesthetics, and convenience, to name a few, I am eager to begin the next stage of my academic career with new goals in mind. ... Thank you for an amazing quarter, and thank you for putting together an amazing class that really motivates the rest of the major's cumbersome problem sets and exams!

One aspect of this course which I was not completely expecting was the level of interaction with community members whom had an interest in assistive technology. One example of this that impacted me was when some my classmates presented to the course on their disability. I remember one girl had an amputated leg and she was still an avid swimmer and a student at Stanford University, seemingly unperturbed by her experiences. This was an eye opening but also inspiring event. ... Secondly, I also enjoyed the opportunity to get to know a person with Cerebral Palsy more intimately. I had never had the opportunity to interact with a person experiencing this. He taught me that he had ambition, humor, and much more humanity than unfortunately my previous experiences and popular media had allowed me to understand.

Since taking that course, I have an increased desire to learn about disabilities and truly getting to understand the people behind the disabilities. This course gave me another opportunity to do just that. ... Overall, a fantastic course!

Interactions in class were very beneficial for me. I enjoyed most of the guest lectures but especially enjoyed the field trips. I thought they brought a lot of practical exposure to real life problems and solutions in assistive technology. The magical bridge playground was super cool. I love seeing people pursue their passion, and help others at the same time.

Perspectives in Assistive Technology was one of the most unique classes I have taken at Stanford. Not only did it allow me to practice designing and prototyping a tangible product, it provided me the valuable experience of working directly with the product’s intended user. Even more unique was that the intended users in this class are members in the surrounding community with disabilities, and the projects made for them are personally tailored to their needs. The most rewarding experience for me while taking this class was working with [our user and his brother] to ultimately find a way to noticeably improve [our user's] quality of life, allowing him to act more independently in spite of his condition.

This class seemed like the perfect course for me: an opportunity to work with a small team on a real-world problem, especially one that’s impactful for a marginalized community in our society. Thus, I enrolled with the expectation of engineering the solution to a problem and developing a prototype that would address different facets of that problem. ... I’m proud of what I achieved throughout this quarter: applying my engineering skills to a real-world problem by developing and fabricating a solution.

Through this course, I’ve been able to gain a new perspective on the process of designing products for people in the world who need additional assistance to live fully and achieve their goals. ... Hearing from different professionals and users opened my eyes to the variety of products that exist to help people with disabilities. I was inspired to be exposed to the magnitude of companies and people who are dedicated to helping people with disabilities: from Eatwell, to Magical Bridge, to high-tech exoskeletons, I was so impressed with the breadth and depth of assistive technology out there. ... Aside from the companies and products, the stories of people with disabilities gave me a new perspective on the challenges that life can present, and the kinds of tools that people utilize to move forward and make the best out of each moment. These tools include but are not limited to a positive mindset, a can-do attitude, and a support system. ... Overall, I learned a lot throughout this class through the lectures, by experience with users, and by experience through the design process. I feel proud of the products that my team and I created, and I’m happy to have gained new perspectives on the central issues of the course.

From a lecture perspective, I really enjoyed learning about the assistive technology space, especially because I had relatively little knowledge about it prior to this class. As someone who is pursuing a career in medicine, I found the rehabilitation medicine lectures and our trip to the VA Hospital as highlights of the lecture part of the class. ... Overall, I'm very happy that I was able to have this project experience, especially with working with one of my great friends. Even though we had about 7 weeks during this design process for our prototype, the most valuable part of the course was learning to work with community members and collaborators, which helped create a positive project experience. ... Thanks for this opportunity Dave!

I believe this class has done what a truly great educational experience should do; it has permanently changed the way I think and understand the world. Certainly, it has altered my understanding of the design process, mostly in terms of relationships with partners, clients, and users. But it has also helped me grow in terms of my views of people who experience disabilities, and helped develop my empathy in general. ... This was one of the best experiences I have had working on a team project, since we achieved all of the goals we aim for using a relatively stress-free, thoughtful, and creative process. ... I am grateful for this class for the ways it made me a more confident engineer, but I am even more grateful for the way it made me put myself in other people's shoes every day. Empathy matters a lot to me, and, in the context of academics and engineering, there are not always opportunities to exercise it. I am grateful that this class was truly different, and I am very glad to have taken it.

Perspectives in Assistive Technology has been an incredibly insightful class. I am a mechanical engineering major and I always felt a drive towards assistive technology, and I felt that this class would be an amazing place to start learning more about it. I went in just expecting to learn about assistive technology and the different products on the market, but I came out with so much more. The lectures and projects were great tools that I was lucky to have been a part of. They allowed me to grow as an engineer and individual. ... Thank you, Dave for making this class so fun and educational. I truly feel like I have grown into a more mature engineer and intellectual. This class has prepared me for graduation and has made me more confident to join the work force.

The key characteristics of a class that make it or break it for me are the projects that are assigned, the team group that one lands in, and exposure to topics outside one's project. E110 fulfilled all those areas for me. It gave me a chance to work on a project with larger implications and do so on a hardworking and focused team, without completing being absorbed by the project and being unable to learn about other assistive technologies.

The winter quarter course Perspectives in Assistive Technology, ENGR110/210, taught by David Jaffe was an incredibly educational experience to me in several different realms of learning; including, but not limited to: team experience, design process, and the commercialization process. I was interested in taking this course since I first heard about it from being involved in the disabilities community on campus. ... Overall, this class was extraordinary fulfilling to me. I want to thank Dave for putting it together. Although this is the first Mechanical Engineering course I have taken, I am strongly considering majoring in MechE now. I really enjoyed the building and design process.

The course was extremely informational and the project gave me a lot of experience I'll need to work in a team. One thing I found interesting in most of the lecturers was how much detail they put into every aspect of their design. It was also just great to hear from the community about what they have to go through and how they or another group went about solving it. Overall it was a enjoyable class and I can't think of a lecturer whose presentation I didn't enjoy or learn something from.

Personally, I highly valued the time I invested in developing my understanding of assistive technology and its role in our society. Over the course of ten weeks, listening to the lectures from different professionals and academicians working in assistive technology enlightened me on this subject of which I had no prior experience. ... This course was educational and meaningful, and I would highly recommend it to anyone regardless of their prior knowledge or background.

First of all, class lectures provided many examples of good design practices. Through the lectures we learned that there are many considerations to take into account when making a product that people will want to use. Designers must consider not only function but also form-that is, there is a "coolness" factor which will let users be proud of using the product. ... Support from the TAs in the PRL and from Dave was invaluable. Whenever we were stuck at step of the design process, we could meet with Dave and quickly get a plan of action worked out.

Previous years' comments from Student's Individual Reflections

2014  2013  2012


Comments from VPTL Online Evaluation

In response to these questions:


What skills or knowledge did you learn or improve?

I gained a deeper understanding of the design challenges, societal challenges, and economic challenges facing users of assistive technology.

Development and reiteration

I learned about the design process, how people have created inclusive products, ways to think about disability, how to write a clear report, how to present, how to talk to a community member in a professional setting, and I was able to practice creativity and learning new skills.

Sensitivity with respect to people of varying ability

My ability to communicate my work done on a project

Learned about assistive technology and what it means to have a disability and how to make life easier for people with them.

My design process skills

User-focused design, broader understanding of assistive technology

Engineering skills

I learned so much about connecting with people and about how products are created.

Understanding perspectives and needs different to my own


What would you like to say about this course to a student who is considering taking it in the future?

The course offers a good introduction to assistive technology. Overall, the project is not too strenuous as long as you spend some time each week working on your project.

Take it! Choose a project that is in line with your skills

This course will make you think a lot, and you should feel proud of your project at the end!

Put work into the project and you can make something really cool. There are some great people involved in this course and Dave clearly cares a lot about it.

I would recommend it! It's valuable to broaden your perspective with respect to ability, and give you access to work with real-world users that can benefit from your design work.

Come with an open mind and expect to learn a lot just by being exposed to the speakers and community members.

Very chill course for an upper level engineering course. You get to go on fun field trips and the guest lecturers are very interesting! You don't learn too much technical knowledge, but you gain a better understanding of the struggles of the disability community and try to develop new techniques / products to help ease their problems.

This class is great. The guest speakers are engaging and valuable, the field trip to the playground is fun and educational, the projects are diverse and challenging.

Good class. Slight unbalance between the lectures and the project. Because we never work on the project during class, it was hard for me to connect the two.

Very fun class! Cool way to learn a lot about different assistive technologies and design an awesome product to meet the specific need of a community member! Definitely take

The project is what you make of it. Dave really really cares about this class. Definitely take it!

Definitely recommend

Take it! And def do a group project. Take it seriously and you will learn a lot.


Would you like to provide any other comments about this course?

Cookies helped get me through class.

The website is helpful! Very organized

Dave asks for feedback a lot, which I appreciate, I can tell he loves this class and he does a good job overall. I actually like the no-cell phone policy.

Dave is a huge asset to the course for his network and motivation.

Thank you Dave.


For all students - What item did you hear, see, or learn was most surprising, new, interesting, or provided a new perspective?

The sheer variety of assistive technologies, especially the "non-traditional" ones was amazing.

VA hospital was an eye-opening experience.

Loved the speakers especially Gary!

I was surprised to see so much work being done already. It was really inspiring to get away from the typical tech companies that we hear about at Stanford and realize that there is amazing work being done.

The lectures discussing hearing disabilities and wheelchair designs in developing countries were the most impactful.

I loved learning from all of the guest speakers, really. We had such a variety of people come into our classroom, people who owned businesses or just shared their story. I think it taught me a lot about what it means to be human and to relate to one another and how to problem solve.

How to talk about people with varying levels ability (as opposed to terms like "disabled people") was very informative

I really like learning about the commercialization process from Eat Well.


For students who worked on a team project - Provide one example of an assistive technology or design / development concept presented in class that you used in pursuit of your team project.

The custom wheelchair lectures were very interesting and helpful.

Needfinding / empathy building

When presented with the ROTA scooter, it really inspired us to look into hand powered movement for our project.

I enjoyed the presentation of brainstorming as a wacky and free form process. I think I had been too serious in my previous design classes.

Thinking about how the "coolness" factor is an important part of our team project.

We used the notion of handcycles in our group project, and that was extremely helpful.

Wheelchair accessibility considerations

I think the lecture about how to interview people really helped. It emphasized that a very important step is to understand the need you are trying to fill.


For students who worked on a team project - What did you find most valuable about your team project experience?

Value and problem definition, trade-offs, and challenges overcome.

Working on problems pitched by the users.

Creating such a cool end product that meets a specific need

I learned about the potential in our creativity and also how the design process is a long one

I liked interacting with an actual user during our home visit.

I think the freedom and creativity to work with a team and actually build something that could be potentially useful. It makes me feel really proud in a way that psets don't necessarily make me feel. I like that we are doing something.

Interacting, brainstorming and prototyping with the end user! This was extremely valuable to have access to a real user with real needs and human complexity

I really thought that learning communication amongst team members was an amazing learning experience.

Previous years' comments

2017  2016  2015  2014  2013  2012  2011  2010  2009  2008


Comments from Cardinal Course Student Survey

In response to these questions:


Provide an example of a course concept that you encountered in pursuing your project.

Yes. It helped me understand the importance on helping the communities and it helped me learn more about how I can apply my skills to the real world.

Because this course focuses on assistive technology, we learn about how to make things accessible. However, it is completely different to actually be creating something that is inclusive. Working in a community and with an organization that does this for their job is incredible- learning about all the little details it takes to apply your knowledge.

Course concept: sensitivity to and understanding of different levels of ability. This concept is not something I had given a lot of thought to previously (for example, I would previously call someone a "wheelchair user" instead of a "person who uses a wheelchair"). While the difference is subtle, it represented a big shift in my view of interacting with people of all abilities, and I believe it helped me be more respectful and genuine when interacting with Danny and Stanford.


What did you find valuable about your project experience?

I found it valuable because we were applying skills that were effecting change and we were working to help the disabled.

I feel that you can learn a lot about how things work in the real world. Conceptually, things can seem pretty straight-forward, but implementation is completely different, and I think as students, we need to know this. We can't just go into the world naive, thinking we can just make things perfect. We need to understand our own intentions, potential challenges, and barriers, and how we can work around this.

I found it valuable to go into the community members' home and observe the actual use case and areas for improvement that my product would be related to.

It bridged the gap of developing and building a technical prototype with a purpose for a community-oriented project.


How could your project experience have been improved?

I think we could have improved in making sure that I expanded our skills in working on other technical aspects and taking a risk to do something a bit more challenging.

I think it was great and the partner we worked with was great, so no suggestions from me!

No improvement points that I can think of at this time.


Would you recommend that other students take this course?

Yes I would because it helped me work with other people. It helped me understand how my skills come into play in the real world.

You learn so much from working with things hands-on!

Very rich lecture material and outside community member visits. There's a lot of opportunity to learn and do meaningful, impactful work through the class projects!

Provided a good learning experience by doing a project based in the community

Previous years' comments

2017  2016  2015  2014  2013  2012  2011  2010  2009  2008


Comments accompanying Final Reports or Individual Reflections

Thank you for organizing such an interesting course and enabling us to pursue novel solutions for these impactful problems!

Thanks so much for a great quarter! (5)

Thank you for a meaningful and wonderful quarter!

Thanks again for a great quarter!

Thanks for a great class!

Thank you again for the wonderful class.

Thank you for an awesome quarter and for all that we’ve learned about the disabled community.

I really enjoyed your class and thank you for organizing all the great guest lectures!

Thank you for such a great quarter and we hope to remain in contact!

Thank you for a great 10 weeks with this course!

Thanks for this opportunity Dave!

Thank you for your support and flexibility in assisting me with taking the class this quarter, and for helping me get set up with a great individual project!

Thank you for all your help this quarter, and hope you have a nice spring break!

Thank you for all of your hard work to make this a wonderful class.

Thank you for running this class and I hope you have a great break!

Thanks so much for a wonderful class and have a great spring break!


Comments in reply to instructor's review of students' Individual Reflections

Thank you again for offering the class to me in this manner! I'll definitely recommend it among my peer group.

Thanks for your response to my individual reflection. Just another example of how much time and care you put into the course and your students.


Comments from community members at the Final Project Presentations


Comments from students on the Course Evaluation Form

I loved the guest spwaker! The variety of speakers was great and I learned so much.

Loved my project! ... Loved how interesting & engaging the speakers were! .. Great course! A lot of fun & very interesting! My favorite lectures were the panel of Stanford students with a disability and Gary Berke!

Really enjoyed the guest speakers. ... Loved the field trips ... VA hospital was amazing ... The Bionic Ears was particularly useful - I enjoyed hearing from someone who had a personal experience. Lindsey Felt was a great speaker.

Great variety of lectures / classes.

There was a good variety of projects and quantity

The field rip to the VA was cool

Gary Berke and Katie Strausser were the top lectures of the quarter. Amazing - bring them back! ... The Assistive Technology Faire had really cool vendors with a wide variety of projects.

I enjoyed the varity of lectures. ... I enjoyed the variety of projects I could choose. ... My favorite lecture was Steve Collins' "Designing Exoskeletons and Prosthetic Limbs that Enhance Human Performance". I think exoskeletons are suoer cool and found his research extremely interesting.

Loved the variety of available projects & how immersive they were.

My overall course experience was great! ... I worked on an Individual Project and liked seeing what ther teams did. ... Guest lecturers were great! ... Dave was always available when I needed to meetwith him. ... I liked the relaxed, yet interesting and engaging atmoshpere.

The breadth of the course made it particularly wothwhile. .. I liked the different scales of need throughout the course, especially in project pitches, need finding, Stanford students with disabilities, and the Assistive Technology Faire.

Classroom location was SUPER convenient. ... The Faire was AWESOME. Bith field trips were also cool. In general experiences [field trips and Faire] are far superior to lectures. ... Dave knows his stuff, but his greatest asset to the course is his connections. (In a nice way.) ... Gary Berke's lecture was super engaging. ... Lindsey Felt was a strong presenter.

Dave was very easy to meet with and easy to schedul meetings with. ... I liked that the course was built around guest lecturers, so we could hear first-hand about the work they are doing & their experiences. ... This was a great class! I'm glad I took it!

I loved my project and working with people. ... I really liked the more interactive classes: both field trips, the Faire, etc. Also especially liked Lindsey Felt's lecture on Bionic Ears and Ralf Hotchkiss' lecture on wheelchair fabrication.

I really enjoyed the variety of the lectures! ... The instructor is really accessible and I appreciate the time he puts into this course. ... Very knowlegable and creative. ... I liked how different this coure is from many other engineering course at Stanford. I'm so grateful for having the opportunity to take this class. ... Lindsey Felt's presentation was really engaging and I was really inspired to learn more about education about disability here at Stanford. I know that Lindsey teaches a PWR course and I am interested to learn more about her class. ... The class is a must-take!

I really liked the field trips. ... Dave was available a lot, which I appreciated. ... I like the home visits with my project partner. ... I enjoyed learning about Rehab Medicine from Debbie Kenney's lecture and was super happy to vist the VA

The lectures were awesome! ... Thank you

I loved the variety of activities (lectures, field trip, etc) and the lectues and field trips themselves. ... The field trip to the Magical Bridge Playground was so much fun! I have never been on a field trip in college before, which was great!

I liked having guest lecturers. ... Dave was very easy to contact. ... I liked the seminar format. ... I really enjoyed Katherine Strausser's presentation on exoskeletons.

The Assistive Technology Faire was really cool as well as the field trips. ... My team project was really nice. ... The exoskeleton lectures were very extremely interesting and informational. ... The VA trip was nice, informative, and a unique experience.

I really enjoyed the course. ... I appreciated the cookies, breaks, and structure of the classbeing based off of topics of interest. ... Loved the variety of lectures, field trips, Faire, and film screening. ... The course was great, I can't wait to take it for more units [and work on a team project]. ... Thank you


Comments from community members on the Course Evaluation Form

I loved all the speakers, good variety. ... The field trip to the Magical Bridge Playground was an amazing experience. ... Ralf is a great speaker!! ...LOVED the variety of projects that could meet different levels of interest and engineering experiences. Midterm was so helpful to learn from!

The material is extraordinary relevant, changes lives! ... Outstanding, Dave is amazing!! ... The diverse views and combination of experts relative to assistive technologies was absolutely fantastic! 22 lectures, different and distinct

My course experience was informative & enjoyable. ... The lectures were an excellent combination of learning experiences.


Comments from community members by email

What Dave has done with this class is remarkable and I believe every student leaves with a lifetime appreciation for how many in our community need design to move towards a universal direction.


Other comments from VPTL Online Evaluation and Responses

One student found the instructor's lectures to be "boring and pointless", his advice to be "unhelpful", and the assignments as "tedious".

Each student is welcome to provide their own assessment of the lectures and advice. However, the assessment of this one student isn't shared by any other students. The students provided their preference for these lecture topics.

By assignments, I assume this student is referring to the in-class guest lecturer evaluations. They ask each student to provide lecture comments, questions, and suggestions and to identify one item that was new, surprising, interesting, or provided a new perspective as a way of assessing the presentation. This information provides valuable information to the instructor and the guest lecturer.

One student found the project expectations to be "unclear" and the project support to be "insufficient".

Teams' final prototypes are expected to be functional and be tested by a user. In some cases, the final prototype is not far enough along to be tested by a user - or a suitable user may not be available.

I assume project support means either funding of parts, purchase of PRL Shop Passes, or engineering support. Project teams are reimbursed for the first $200 of parts purchased. This amount has always been adequate and is the amount the Haas Center provides in their course grant. The grant specifically does not fund PRL passes. As far as I know, there is no class that supplies PRL passes. Engineering support is provided by 19 PRL Teaching Assistants, four Course Resource People, and the instructor.

Project development beyond the one quarter course can be accomplished through pursuing independent study, enrolling in a course on commercialization (such as ME265), or engaging with one of several on-campus entrepreneural organizations (such as StartX or BASES).

"There was a wide variety of final results: some creative (though crude) prototypes, some more refined designs, and some groups that just bought components without much thoughtfulness or design work."

This wide range of results is a consequence of the different challenge each project presents and well as the engineering and fabrication skills and experience of the team. In a larger sense, going through the design process is the primary objective of the project.

"Because we never work on the project during class, it was hard for me to connect the two."

Lectures often do not relate to the teams' projects. Guest lecturers are chosen by the ability of an individual to present an excellent lecture on an interesting topic related to assistive technology, while candidate projects are accepted if they meet many requirements. For these reasons lecture topics and project areas may not overlap. Since there are many more candidate project offerings than teams and class sessions, and teams do not decide on projects until Week 2, it would not be possible to schedule specific lectures based on the teams' project choices.

"Please provide an address or link when introducing places for field trips."

I understand that car pool drivers might want to program their car's navigation system to augment the maps and directions to the field trip destinations. Of course this information could be found online.

"More project options for non-elderly applications would be appreciated."

Hmm, only 3 of the 21 team projects addressed challenges that older adults experience. I seek many more projects than there are teams so that teams have a choice.

One student thought the weekly meetings were "worthless".

Each student is welcome to provide their own evaluation of their team project meetings with the instructor. I provide advice and suggestions that is intended to help teams produce a better project result. However, this one student's assessment is not shared by any other students.

Updated 11/15/2018

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