Winter Quarter 2018

Perspectives in Assistive Technology


David L. Jaffe, MS
Thornton Center Classroom 110
Tuesdays & Thursdays from 4:30pm to 5:50pm

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Students' Comments - Winter 2017

Online Teaching Evaluation Summary
[Instructor's responses]

In response to these questions:


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

Very practical course with an immense potential to change the lives of the disabled.

Yes take it!

Take this class! You will hear from so many great guest lecturers, and Dave is always available to provide very helpful feedback. One of my favorite classes I've taken at Stanford.

I highly recommend this class. You will learn a lot about working with the community.

Some of the guest speakers are really interesting but the quality varies widely. [It is not suprising that there were differences between guest lecturers as each presented in his/her own area of expertise. In addition, there were two new speakers this year whose presentation quality I was not able to establish prior to their talk.]

Take it!

Take it! Great course

Good class! Crazy [I suspect crazy is a positive attribute] organized, and good guest speakers. Taking it for 1 unit CR/NC is a great easy way to open your eyes in terms of perspectives in engineering!

Easy class and also fun. But make sure you have people with technical skills in your team too so prototyping won't be too hard. [Technical skills needed vary with the team project chosen.]

Dave's intentions are good, but the execution of this class could go much better. There are many things that are way too excessive such as TWO presentations, TWO reports, mandatory attendance, field trips, screenings, feedback on EVERY single class and lecturer, and on top of that, endless hours in the PRL. These are only some of the things that aren't acceptable for a 3 unit course. Dave also uses primitive technology and refuses to update to software that can play videos (or at least use Chrome, not IE!) for presentations, making every presentation suffer because of that. There could be vast improvements. [I believe these are the comments of a student under end-of-term academic stress. The course expectations are described on the first day of class, have remained unchanged for a number of years, and are reasonable for a 3 credit unit course. The mid-term presentations allow team members to receive evaluations from fellow students and community members that identify areas of proficiency and improvement for their end-of-term reports. In the same way, my mid-term report markups highlight writing strengths and need for corrections for the end-of-term reports. This student is unaware of the inability to play an embedded video in a PowerPoint slide show on a computer that is different from the one on which it was created. This is not a browser issue. Playing the video uploaded to YouTube works well, but does require clicking on a link in PowerPoint and expanding the video to full-screen. I wish this student listed the "vast improvements".]

Dave is an amazingly organized and sweet guy who will make a lot of time in his own schedule to help you and your time. He is lecturing about a topic that he is truly passionate about and has grown a community around it.

Awesome intro to assistive technology and its applications/impact, take it!

It is a great way to learn about assistive technologies even if you have not had any prior exposure before.

Take it

Doing a project is pretty worthwhile. You might not develop new skills, but you get something that feels fulfilling.

Come in with the mentality of "getting out what you put into it." It's a course that is very dependent on the individual and the team. If your team is willing to put in time and onboard with the community partner and engaged with the material, you will get so much out of the course.


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

thanks for the cookies

The team project is enough. Everything else does not add anything but stress. [I believe the team reports & presentations, guest lecturers, the field trips, film screening, and Assistive Technology Faire do add to the course.]



Pace can be slow - I would have preferred no break in the class. It is a short enough class that a 5 minute break after 10 minutes of introduction feels unnecessary. Would also cut a lot of the professor introductory remarks in the beginning as it can be summarized in a slide or sent out as written instructions. [I think a break is needed in an 80 minute class session. A good time to do this is the transistion between the my opening remarks and the introduction of the guest lecturer. This gives time for late arriving students to sign in, collect the handout, and get the speaker evaluation form. Even though the introductory "administrative" remarks can be found on the course website and are included in a weekly email, I have found that both written and verbal reminders are helpful.]




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

How assistive tech can transform the lives of the disabled and the incredible amount of courage that they possess.

Our platform should be written as if we were making a product for older children (not cartoony)

How to incorporate the subject [user] into the design process

Interesting designs!

I thought the playground was the best trip, and most eye opening!

Working with a community member on need identification and the prototype

The most impactful moment was when you organized a group of Stanford students that used assistive technologies to come in and tell their stories. It was the first time I think I really empathized with some of their disabilities.

info presented at Stanford student speaker panel

I like learning about how students at Stanford deal with their disabilities.

Working on empathetic design

Even the smallest innovations can make a huge difference in people's lives.

I was most surprised to learn how important aesthetics were to the users.

The Magical Bridge Playground field trip was awesome and gave me an entirely new perspective on how much thought and innovation goes into every design aspect of assistive tech


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.

Designing beyond the norm: Our prototype aimed to be inclusive of those with and without disabilities.

Interactive games that assisted in teaching special education students.

Desire to look good

Iteration, iteration, iteration. Making sure the "product" works well and the user will be proud of using it.

Helping students learn to function in society by providing them the tools to practice societal skills.

The idea of not coming in with an idea already in mind -- it was so necessary to approach the problem with an open mind.

We definitely pursued the five C's presented by Gary Berke in class

emphasis on modality and adjustability

visual feedback

Modular grips


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

Teamwork and prototype building skills

Collaborating as a team to complete a goal was the most valuable part of my team.

Working through a problem that was impactful

Going through several failures and learning from them. We couldn't give up because we were building this for someone else, rather than just for a grade.

Great way to learn to work together efficiency and build something fun at the same time.

Working with someone who could provide us with a new perspective

Meeting with our community member was very valuable

interacting with the participants at Abilities United

creating an attraction for people with a visual impairment

Working as volunteers

Comments from 2017 Cardinal Course Student Survey

Why would you recommend that other students take [this] community engaged learning (i.e., service-learning) course?

One of the few classes that allows you to take what you learned in class and apply it to a real world application.

Great learning experience and gives you new perspectives.

It is necessary to incorporate experience with the community in any academic setting, gives good insight.

Real life application!

It was an educational and fun experience.

The course changed my perspective on disability and assistive technology.

I loved this class.

Great way to see real world applications.

It is a great way to incorporate service with my academic interests.

Didn't know this [community engaged learning] was something that existed until I was given this form.

It was cool to work on a project and see it finished. Very satisfying knowing everything was created by you.

Incredible learning experience and I will grow personally / academically.

Previous years' comments

2016  2015  2014  2013  2012  2011  2010  2009  2008

Updated 07/31/2017

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