Comments - Winter 2016
Online Teaching Evaluation
In response to these
What would you like to
say about this course to a student who is considering taking it in the
If you're expectations are to learn
about software engineering, don't take it. The class is made for mechanical
engineers. [The course is open to students from all majors, but it is not a
programming or software engineering course. No technical background is
Pick a great group and a great
The effort is totally worth
Absolutely take this course! It is
a great chance to practice the design process, and also to build empathy for
your users. It is also a great chance to learn about the emerging and growing
field of assistive technology. Great speakers from a variety of
Choose a good team.
You learn the most outside of the
classroom. [Not sure if this refers to the field trips, assistive technology
faire, movie screening, or working on the team project.]
What you get out of the class seems
to exponentially increase when you take it for a letter grade [while doing a
Pick a good
Field trips [are] extremely
It is a course that gives
technology that we learn about much needed context. I was very excited to hear
from guest speakers and innovators in the class.
Don't have huge expectations for
the project. [I don't know if this comment was meant to refer to the
commercialization prospects for the project.]
Take it! Amazing class, and Dave is
Ton of fun. David really cares
about his students (he even brings us cookies each lecture!), and wants you be
excited to learn more.
It's a great class and definitely
take it. Also start the project early and stay on top of it.
Take it! The lectures are
fascinating and it's fun meeting the speakers afterward.
This is one of the most rewarding
and fulfilling courses I've ever taken. It's literally a class where the more
you put in, the more you get out of it. I was able to confirm my passion for
designing and building while hopefully developing something that can help
people in need. This class is what Stanford means to me.
Would you like to
provide any other comments about this course?
Not sure the best way to do this,
but class size was very big. Possible way to restructure for bigger class
sizes? [I agree that at a record enrollment of 50 and 12 projects, the class
size was large, so I will be considering capping it at 10 teams of 3 next
Cool class. The comment on
instruction isn't regarding Dave himself, but the structure of teaching /
grading. Either peer grading shouldn't be a thing because not everyone fully
understands everyone else's project, or it should be revamped. [There is no
peer grading in the course - the students do provide peer
evaluations of each other's projects as is done is several other
courses. I believe that the teams' presentations should communicate an
understanding of their projects for other students, community members, and the
Great course -- I loved the guest
speakers and would often leave feeling really inspired to work in the assistive
tech field. Best seminar-type class I've taken at Stanford!
I think it's great.
I really appreciate how much Dave
wants everyone to be able to take the class and do well. Most professors do,
but Dave acts on it.
I cannot speak highly enough of the
course. Having the class filmed is very useful, and the ability to present in
front of community leaders allowed me to practice with a wider audience.
Hopefully, presentations can be split into two days next quarter, to allow for
a Q/A session for each presentation. [Certainly the 5 minute limit on
presentations is challenging, but in professional life one rarely gets enough
time to present their efforts. And I am very reluctant to eliminate the
demonstration day when teams show off their project efforts to other teams,
community members, and the course instructor. An option is to the presentations
and demonstration for the Final Exam time in Week 11.] But other than that,
thank you for the course!
What skills or
knowledge did you learn or improve?
I learned a lot about what
assistive technologies are.
Inventing! Real world problem
Fabrication and User
I think my knowledge of the types
of devices out in industry to help with disabilities expanded greatly. This
exposure is something I wish I had been able to experience earlier on in my
college career (now being almost a graduated senior) as it was really
transformative being able to see the impact of these devices. I used to think I
only wanted to design internal medical devices, but this class has helped me
find that there is a large range of types of devices that can ameliorate
problems many humans face.
I improved my personal philosophy
on assistive technology design. I improved my written and oral communication
skills, and well as my ability to form good team dynamics. I also gained a
broader knowledge in the field of assistive technology and
Rapid prototyping &
I learned about the engineering
process and how designs are progressed into the market.
Explorative tools for analyzing
needs for disabled individuals.
I learned about broader definitions
of assistive technology and how to work with a team on an issue not usually in
my comfort zone.
Communication skills, writing,
rapid prototyping, design process
Definitely gained more a
sensitivity to challenges faced by people with disabilities and gained my first
insights into the design space surrounding these challenges.
I learned about the different types
of assistive technology, important factors to consider when designing,
building, and trying to manufacture assistive technology, as well as hear from
users their experiences using assistive technology.
My understanding and perspective on
Assistive Technology and what I can do to help.
Learned a lot about how to make
better design decisions, particularly in assistive technology.
I learned about important
considerations to be made when designing a product for people with
Teamwork skills were a big part of
my development this quarter thanks to this class. In addition, learning how to
properly evaluate and implement the needs of a user versus what I have
pre-conceived to be the best approach.
For students who worked
on a team project - Please provide an example of an assistive technology or
design / development concept presented in class that you encountered in pursuit
of your team project. Did working with the user with a disability or older
adult or project suggestor help you better understand it? If so,
Exoskeletons because the importance
of feeling like you could walk or move again helped my understanding of what
technology could do.
Great time talking with Barbara.
[Barbara is an older adult who self-identifies as a conceptual designer,
consults at IDEO, was a guest lecturer in the course, and has provided several
project suggestions this year.]
I think it was Gary Berke, who
talked about the 5 c's of design, specifically I can remember cost, function,
comfort... I think we found these to be true as we were designing a
low-technology, low-cost device. If it wasn't comfortable our user wouldn't buy
it, if it didn't meet our minimum viable product criteria it wouldn't meet her
We encountered the difficulty in
truly understanding the need of our user because we had a plan and then
realized we forgot a large subset of our audience and had to rethink our design
after talking with people with disabilities who the product was aimed
The concept that many assistive
technology devices are ultimately not used due to causing fatigue, pain, or
being detrimental to the lifestyle of the user. It helped me to reinforce the
idea that no matter how much I may love my design, in the end it is important
that the user is comfortable with it and proud of it, so that they can use it
daily and have a tangible effect on their lives. Working with our suggester
helped us to see this, and the external speakers really helped to bring this
home. Ease of use trumps coolness, but if you can do both, then the user will
love the device.
For students who worked
on a team project - What did you find most valuable about your team project
Interacting with a population that
is not served typically by technology.
Working with users of the product.
Developing relationship with them.
Working with the
Working with other team members and
bouncing off ideas.
Working with others on a real
I think the most valuable part of
our experience was being able to work with and design for a community member,
even if her need was applicable for a much larger subset of
Great group members
Learning that every person brings a
different yet equally valuable perspective to the group.
Going to the site and testing our
product and seeing what was needed were most valuable.
Personally, being reaffirmed that I
was choosing the right major, as both of my teammates were ME, and I had just
decided to switch into ME from EE. In addition, the necessity of flexibility in
learning to properly utilize each member's particular skills.
For students who worked
on a team project - How could your team project experience have been
N/A. I really liked my team and
It would have helped to have been
connected with our project suggestors instead of having to do it ourselves. We
weren't sure what protocol was. [The "protocol" was mentioned in class and
contact information for all the project suggestors was listed in the
More support for the fabrication.
[There are 18 Teaching Assistants available in the Product Realization
I'm not sure it could have! Regular
meetings with my team made the quarter feel very smooth and
By being able to choose teammates
better. [Perhaps I will ask students to raise their hand if they don't think
they would be a good teammate.]
Starting sooner to have more time
I think we struggled with timing
and would have improved if given more time or we balanced our time
Incorporate five minutes per class
for group discussion (this can easily be done, as the class usually begins 5
minutes past the start time to allow community members to arrive). This would
encourage more updates between students. Also, a list of contacts in regards to
specific technologies would be useful (e.g., person A is a specialist in
electronics, person B is a specialist in mold making, etc.). [This is a good
idea; however students are still streaming in 10 minutes after the start of
class. The TAs in Room 36 have a variety of expertise in electronics,
microcontrollers, mechatronics, and fabrication. Also a list of Resource People
and their expertise are mentioned in class and posted on the course Resource
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