Winter Quarter 2022

Perspectives in Assistive Technology


David L. Jaffe, MS
Lathrop Library Classroom 282
Tuesdays & Thursdays from 4:00 to 5:30pm PST

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Individual Project Activities




Individual Projects are designed to be less time-consuming for a student whose schedule does not permit working on a team-based project but wishes to receive one credit unit and a letter grade. Students working on an Individual Project must meet with the course instructor during the second week of classes to discuss and agree upon the specifics of the project.

Individual Projects differ from Team Projects that they (Individual Projects) address simpler problems, have less complex solutions, do not require a fabrication component, may not involve a user, may not require following an engineering design process, or result in a lower level of prototype functionality (such as producing a CAD design instead of building a working physical prototype). For example, a project may focus on investigating a service related to assistive technology.

Optionally, two or more students may work collectively on an Individual Project, sharing these tasks: obtaining background information and brainstorming. However each student is required to pursue, present, and report on different solutions. Individual Projects require attendance in at least 15 class sessions, including the first class session, Introduction to Assistive Technology, Mid-Term Student Team Project Presentations, and End-of-Term Student Team Project Presentations.



For their Individual Project, students are asked to choose and pursue a specific project activity listed below, present their work, submit an end-of-term project report that encompasses their efforts for the entire quarter, and reflect on their experiences. If appropriate, students interview an individual with a disability or an older adult (or family members or health care professionals).


Required Individual Project Activities

The required course and project activities for students working on a project for one credit unit and a letter grade are itemized below. (Note that these tasks / activities are not necessarily meant to be performed in chronological order.)

  • Participate fully in the class including attending lectures as required, listening actively, posing questions to the guest speakers and the course instructor, engaging in class discussions, verbalizing thoughts and analyses, reading and responding to emails from the course instructor, and communicating project progress.

  • Attend at least 15 lectures, including the first lecture, Course Overview & Introduction to Assistive Technology. Sign the Attendance Sheet to verify your presence.

  • Review the Candidate Individual Project offerings.

  • Select a listed activity that relates to or would potentially benefit the interviewed older adult or individual with a disability. typical tasks include interviewing an individual with a disability or older adult to get a better understanding of the individual's life, challenges being faced, successes achieved, and desires for the future. Review assistive technology used, their benefits and limitations, problems experienced, and similar products on the market.

  • Meet with the course instructor to agree on an assistive technology project and how to report progress during the quarter.

  • Give an end-of-term presentation of about 15 minutes in length to be scheduled outside of class time during the week of February 28th that includes PowerPoint slides, photographs, and short videos as described below.

  • Submit an end-of-term report that documents the entire quarter's effort and addresses the elements described below. Individual final reports are due Monday, March 14th.

  • Compose an Individual Reflection as described below. Individual reflections are due Monday, March 14th.


End-of-Term Individual Project Presentation

Schedule a presentation date and time during the Week of February 28th with the course instructor. Describe your project work in a 15-minute presentation that may employ PowerPoint slides, photographs, and short videos. Other students and community members may be in attendance. Your presentation should include the following elements:

  1. Personal introduction
  2. Brief project description
  3. Overview of the interview with the older adult or individual with a disability
  4. Review of assistive technology employed
  5. Choice of and rationale for the selected project activity benefitting the interviewee:
    • assistive technology topic
    • paper design
    • work of art
    • aftermarket aesthetic design / functionality / usability design
    • project from the Individual Projects list
  6. Discussion of project activity process: background research, alternatives considered, selected approach, rationale for choice, prototypes made, and final design
  7. Project visualizations: photographs, videos, sketches, drawings, models, prototypes
  8. Activity demonstration (as appropriate, depending on project choice)
  9. Future work and challenges for continuing the project, including technical feasibility, engineering difficulty, estimated cost of a commercial product, and market potential (as appropriate, depending on project choice)

The teaching team, your classmates, and others in attendance will judge the process employed, the prototype on its overall design, and the presentation on its overall quality using the following metrics:

  • Process: (How the team addressed the problem) - problem information, background research, design concepts brainstormed & prototyped, testing & evaluation
  • Design: (What the team fabricated) - creativity, originality, functionality of the design concept(s) and the likelihood it will address the user's challenge or problem
  • Presentation: (What & How the team presented) - clarity, organization, and completeness of the information presented as well as professionalism, enthusiasm, conviction, confidence, energy, volume
  • Overall: (Overall score) - combined impression of presentation and project

Other presentation considerations and suggestions:

  • Anticipate questions from those in attendance.
  • There may be people from industry attending the presentation, so please dress professionally (no jeans, t-shirts, or flip-flops).
  • Most important - practice your presentation to maximize the quality of its content, clarity, conciseness, completeness, understanding of your design decisions, creativity, pacing, and timing.

End-of-Term Individual Project Report

  1. The End-of-Term Individual Project Report should include all efforts for the quarter including background research, user interaction, evolution of ideas, etc. The report should be less than 10 pages in length. The report sections can be modified to fit the nature of the project pursued.

  2. The End-of-Term report should be submitted by email and is due on Monday, March 14th by 5pm. The suggested format is:

    • Cover page - include course name & year, project title, team name, team member's names, and team members' photos (do not include a page number on the cover page)

    • Abstract - one paragraph summary of objectives, approach taken, and results of the project

    • Introduction - problem to be addressed, problem background

    • Objectives - project goals and rationale

    • Design criteria - background research, interviews with project suggestors and potential users, design specifications, brainstormed design alternatives (at least 3)

    • Methods - what did you do and why - include any sketching, prototyping, model building, preliminary testing, analyses of design alternatives

    • Results - discuss specifics of your design alternatives such as features, benefits, aesthetics, cost, safety, reliability, usability, test results, feedback from users, etc.

    • Discussion - include engineering challenges and suggestions to further develop and fabricate a chosen design

    • Next steps - assuming this project will be pursued in as directed study, identify future challenges and include a timetable of major tasks to produce and test a functional prototype

    • Additional - optionally address issues relating to commercialization including technical feasibility, engineering difficulties, safety considerations, potential manufacturing, cost of materials, mass production, marketing, advertising, distribution, sales, licensing, etc

    • Images - embed photographs, drawings, graphs, and sketches documenting your design process and activities throughout the body of the document, not at the end

    • References - bibliographic and web citations

    • Acknowledgements - mention all individuals and facilities who helped your team

    • Appendices - detailed sketches, calculations, testing notes, relevant vendor information, etc. that are referenced in the main body of the report

  3. Submit your report in Word or PDF format by email.

This course has received a Cardinal Course Grant Award (2020) from the Haas Center for Public Service and the Community Engaged Learning and Research (CELR) Team. One condition of this support is that abstracts from students' Final Project Reports be shared with them. (The content will be anonymized by redacting text that identifies the student, the project partners, and users.)


Individual Reflection

Reflect on your class and project experiences. Provide a discussion (two pages minimum) of your design process, what you learned, and what was most valuable to you individually. Here are some items to consider and address:

  1. Review Learning through Structured Reflection article.

  2. You have spent the past quarter hearing from different professionals and users, interviewing community members, brainstorming with your instructor, doing background research, looking at prior art, fabricating and testing a prototype device, etc. Please comment on the relative value of the different parts of this process toward your design.

  3. How did the different interactions in the class (with users, community members, guest lecturers, professionals, etc.) contribute to the results of your design? Was any particular interaction especially rewarding or helpful? Why?

  4. If you were to go through this process again, what would you do differently? Was there support from the teaching staff or course content that was helpful or that you felt was missing? What advice would you give to future students?

  5. Additional questions to be considered for your reflection can be found here.

  6. Submit your report in Word or pdf format by email by Monday, March 14th at 5pm.

This course has received a Cardinal Course Grant Award (2020) from the Haas Center for Public Service and the Community Engaged Learning and Research (CELR) Team. One condition of this support is that students' Individual Reflections be shared with them. (The content will be anonymized by redacting text that identifies the student, the project partners, and users.)



End-of-Term Presentation
End-of-Term Report
Individual Reflection
Participation *
* Participation includes attending class sessions, meeting with instructor, actively listening, posing questions to the guest speakers and the course instructor, engaging in class discussions, verbalizing thoughts and analyses, and submitting Weekly Project Reports or meeting with the course instructor.

Updated 01/17/2022

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