about the Course
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 didnt 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 havent 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 isnt free of ethical dilemmas and
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 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
This class was unlike any other
Ive 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. Im 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
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
Id 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
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
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
products 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
This class seemed like the
perfect course for me: an opportunity to work with a small team on a real-world
problem, especially one thats 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. ... Im 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, Ive
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 Im happy to have
gained new perspectives on the central issues of the
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
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
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
In response to these
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.
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
User-focused design, broader
understanding of assistive technology
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
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
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
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
Come with an open mind and
expect to learn a lot just by being exposed to the speakers and community
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
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
The project is what you make of
it. Dave really really cares about this class. Definitely take
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
The website is helpful! Very
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.
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
VA hospital was an eye-opening
Loved the speakers especially
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
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
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
The custom wheelchair lectures
were very interesting and helpful.
Needfinding / empathy
When presented with the ROTA
scooter, it really inspired us to look into hand powered movement for our
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.
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
Value and problem definition,
trade-offs, and challenges overcome.
Working on problems pitched by
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
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
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
- 2017 2016 2015 2014 2013 2012 2011 2010 2009 2008
Comments from Cardinal
Course Student Survey
In response to these
Provide an example of a
course concept that you encountered in pursuing your
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
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
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
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
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
- 2017 2016 2015 2014 2013 2012 2011 2010 2009 2008
Final Reports or Individual Reflections
Thank you for organizing such an
interesting course and enabling us to pursue novel solutions for these
Thanks so much for a great
Thank you for a meaningful and
Thanks again for a great
Thanks for a great
Thank you again for the
Thank you for an awesome quarter
and for all that weve learned about the disabled
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
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
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 /
There was a good variety of
projects and quantity
The field rip to the VA was
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
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
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
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
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! ...
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
- "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
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
- "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
- "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.