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
- 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
- Why is the course enrollment
- 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.
- 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
- 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 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
- 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
- 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
- Do all students on a team get the
- 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.