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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Course Organization and Operation

This webpage serves to address questions students might have about the course.


I am a freshman / sophomore who is very interested in the course, but I do not yet have experience in fabrication techniques that the projects may require. What would you recommend I do?
You can take the course this year for one-credit unit and attend at least 10 lectures (including the first one). When you are a junior or senior, you can take the course again and work on a team project.
Why is the course enrollment capped?
The course can only accommodate 27 students who work on projects - 9 teams of three students. The cap does not apply to students who take the course as a one-credit seminar, rather than working on a team project.
Can I take the course if I am not in an engineering discipline?
Yes, the course is open to everyone, regardless of major. The lectures are non-technical and some projects may not require extensive engineering or fabrication skills. Other team members who have some building experience can be helpful. In addition, PRL Teaching Assistants can provide useful advice and suggestions.

Class sessions

Why aren't smartphones and laptops allowed during the class?
These devices create a distraction, not only to the student who uses the device, but also to others nearby. It is very disrespectful to the guest lecturers to be on these devices during their presentations. Guest lecturers have requested that students do not use these devices.
Why am I asked to fill out speaker evaluations at each class session?
These evaluations provide the teaching team with information on how guest lecturers' presentations were received. Student comments are sent to the lecturers.
I would prefer that the class time be earlier.
The class time 4:30 to 5:50pm was chosen as a parking convenience to community members who attend the course - there is open parking after 4pm.


Why do project teams consist of three students?
Three students seem to be the optimal number. Two students would most likely not be able to address all the project tasks and there may not be enough concurrent tasks for four students. In addition, it is easier to find a common meeting time among a team of three rather than four.
Why is there a cap on the number of project teams?
Nine teams gives an adequate time (about 7 minutes) for each team to present their projects in an 80-minute class session.
Why don't lecture topics relate to the projects?
Lecture topics are chosen to be interesting assistive technology subjects presented by local experts. A talk on a specific project topic might only be relevant only to the team of three students pursuing that project.
Why are teams requested to meet with the instructor?
The instructor can provide valuable information and suggestions regarding the team's progress, resulting in better use of fabrication time, a better project outcome, and an optimized grade.


Since there are no exams, quizzes, problem sets, or finals how are grades decided?
Grades are based on students' performance on their projects, presentations, reports, and participation.
Do all students on a team get the same grade?
Typically all students on the team get the same grade. However there have been circumstances in which a particular student got a different grade based on his/her efforts.

Updated 08/30/2018

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