Sonification Lab Research and Design Studio:
Multimodal User Interfaces, Displays, and Applications

Home Page & Syllabus (Updated August, 2017)

Instructor:

Bruce N. Walker

Office:

Room 230, Psychology Building (Coon Building)

Telephone:

(404) 894-8265

Email:

bruce.walker@psych.gatech.edu

Course web page:

http://sonify.psych.gatech.edu/~walkerb/classes/studio/

Office Hours:

After class and by appointment

 

CLASS MEETING TIME:

8-9am, THURSDAYS, throughout the semester (Fall 2017)

CLASS MEETING PLACE:

JS Coon Psychology Building
Room G48 (room may change)

Course Description

The Sonification Lab Research and Design Studio is a semester-long, 3-credit course, which aims to bring together small, agile, interdisciplinary teams of students to tackle research and design challenges related to the research going on in the GT Sonification Lab.

Teams of two students (with a mix of skills and background) will work on a semester-long project that is part of, or in support of, the research being done in the Sonification Lab.

The approach is a sort of "middle ground" between (a) a typical semester-long project course, in which typically teams of four students tackle a major project; and (b) an independent study where one student interacts directly with a professor and does a project alone. The R&D Studio approach, on the other hand, allows for more students to get research experience, without 10x the overhead for the professor that would come from a bunch of 8903 or similar special projects. Also, the studio course format allows us to teach some material that is not usually covered in either a research project-only course, or a typical class.

Class Meetings/Lab Time (see above for the exact day/time)

There are typically 6-10 teams signed up for the course in a given semester, and all of the students will come together for one required meeting per week (i.e., if there were 8 pairs, then all 16 people would show up at the scheduled meeting time). During that weekly group meeting, there may be lectures on background topics, demos or lab-like explanations of research or development techniques, or discussions of project issues. Topics will be relevant to HCI, Human Factors, User Experience, research, etc., and meetings will be led by one of the students in the course, and/or a Sonification Lab graduate student, and or a researcher or the instructor (Prof. Walker). These skills will be useful in completing the research/development project, but also generally useful in your career. They will complement the skills and topics being covered in other coursed like CS/PSYC 6750 Intro to HCI, CS/PSYC 6755 HCI Foundations, or the Research Methods courses.

Project Structure

The team will work directly with a PhD student and/or research scientist, but also closely with Professor Walker. The team will be required to thoroughly define the problem, to a deeper level than the topic is specified at the start of the semester. They will then search for prior work, related projects, products, even patents, before moving ahead. Often there will be prior work (and perhaps code) already within the Sonification Lab archives. The team will then carefully and thoroughly scope out the project and put together a proposal document that describes their blend of research and development, including a thorough plan for evaluation and iteration, and the division of effort among the team members. They will then work on completing the project.

Deliverables (subject to change)

Along the course of the semester (about once a month), there will be some required deliverables including:

  1. a project proposal, including a plan to divide up the work amongst the two students (10);
  2. a survey of literature, existing projects, existing products/systems, prior art, patents, etc. (10);
  3. a web page describing the project, with links to video(s), images, prototypes, research papers, etc. This page will be updated as the project progresses (10);
  4. a short (1-3 minute) video of the project (15);
  5. a poster and/or demonstration suitable for use in GVU Demo Days, etc. (15); and
  6. a final report, in the form of a draft conference paper (40); this assumes, of course, that the system is completed and evaluated, and research conducted. The development is only part of the project; the research is also a major component.

Note that it is required that all code, designs, electronic files, scripts, sketches, etc. be archived. This is not factored into the points total, but students will not pass the course unless and until their project is archived.

Grading

Since this is a graduate-level course, it is assumed that students are approaching it in an adult manner, and will complete excellent projects, and not worry about grades. Having said that, grades will be assigned based on a cummulation of points, as indicated in parentheses, above. It is intended and expected that the team will work together, and share the work. It may not be a completely 50-50 split in terms of hours, but there needs to be an equitable division of effort. This must be agreed upon in the Proposal document. At the end of the semester, the team (as a pair) will receive a total score for the project; in most cases, the score will be turned directly into a final grade for each student. However, each student, as well as the supervising students, researchers, and professor will determine if the final, actual division of effort was substantially different from the proposed work plan. If you work as a team, and complete a solid project, you will both get high grades. Social loafing (letting the other student do all the work, flaking out, etc.) will be severely penalized, and could result in one student getting a much lower final grade than the other. However, we hope that will never happen. Right?! ALSO: Attendance in the lectures is mandatory, and up to one full letter grade may be deducted from the final grade for poor attendance.

Follow-On

The efforts in this Research and Design Studio course will live on in the research of the lab. Other student teams may carry on or iterate, or extend your work in a later semester. Or the system you create may be deployed in a classroom, or used in a dissertation, or whatever. It may also spark a larger project or even a proposal for grant funding. You have to anticipate that you are part of a larger effort, and conduct your work accordingly. This includes, for example, providing all the iterations and drafts, and all the code (commented!!) and electronic files, so that the next team can pick up your work and run with it. We will require that resources are appropriately archived (code in the GT GitHub repository, other documents and data archived on our file server, etc.). Note that you may choose to do a follow-on project, yourself. This might be through another SonLab R&D Studio in a later semester, or by moving into a Masters Project or Masters Thesis, or even a project in another class.

Project Ideas

There will be a list of projects that are being "sponsored" (suggested, supervised) in a given semester. See separate document, via link at the top of this page. You may also propose your own project idea by discussing it with Prof. Walker before the start of the semester.

Students with Disabilities

Students needing accommodations must provide me with the Georgia Tech ADAPTS letter describing accommodations. I also ask students to email me one week prior to any exam if they plan on using testing facilities at the ADAPTS office. Further information can be obtained from the ADAPTS office (894-2564).

Academic Integrity

All students are assumed to have read the Honor Code and consented to be bound by it. Violations of the Honor Code are taken extremely seriously and will result in a failing grade for the course and referral to the Dean of Students for further action. Specific violations include (but are not limited to):

I will assume that all students enrolled in the course know and understand what constitutes academic misconduct and agree to be bound by these rules.