Syllabus: Spring 2014
A short, focused tech project
PUB607 is the MPub program’s Publishing Technology Project course. In Spring 2014, the course will be run as a 4-week project, to follow on the PUB606 magazine project courses. This course aims to provide a context in which MPub students can:
- gain hands-on experience researching and developing a range of
digital technologies representing the state-of-the-art;
- gain experience working on a decent-sized, structured IT project full of the kind of ambiguities and unknowns that typically characterize such projects;
- develop an appreciation of documentation-driven project management;
- experiment with new technologies without serious (business) consequences.
The backbone of the Project is documentation. You will begin with documentation, proceed by documenting what you are doing and why, and end with a document that reports on what you have achieved and what you have learned. This strategy gives you the means of organizing your priorities, keeping your team-members abreast of all new thinking and development, keeps a record of your decisions and rationales, and provides a means of evaluating what you’ve achieved.
This spring we are branching out in several directions. We will build out a variety of facets from the magazine project. Building wherever possible on the editorial ideas and audience definitions of the three magazines (Roam, Part&Parcel, Shed), groups will develop prototypes that explore the practical opportunities and limitations of digital media.
We will generally meet Fridays. There are 7 groups, so Friday meeting schedules will be established in advance. Additionally, your team will meet itself, and you’ll meet with the instructor, many more times along the way. Your weekly documentation/report—revised and brought up to date each time—is due each Monday.
Tasks are iterative: each week you are striving to better define the project and its scope, assembling and mastering the available resources, and getting better clarity on your requirements. The following is a rough outline for the project:
Week 1 – ending Friday, March 14
Develop a project proposal, defining the aims, scope, and deliverables of your project. This document is your contract with the course. Your proposal should include the following:
- A statement of who you are and any background context for your project (e.g., you came from a magazine project group). What is your decision-making process (especially important for groups with even numbers of people)
- General aims and specific goals for the project. What do you hope to acheive? Be as specific as you can, though you will revise this statement going forward.
- List available resources (the knowns) that you will draw upon aand requirements(the unknowns) that you will have to figure out how to satisfy.
- What will you present on April 9th? Presumably it will be a prototype that does something, or the results of research into how to do something. Be as specific as you can, although you will revise this going forward.
- Make a provisional schedule for the next four weeks. What will you have to do when in order to meet your deliverables?
Week 2 – ending Friday March 21
Based on your research and explorations, further develop your proposal: fine-tune your aims and goals, schedule, and your statement of deliverables. Ad more detail to the resources and requirements section. Include sketches, wireframes, mock-ups, and whatever other early representations of your project are approriate.
Week 3 – ending Friday March 28
Development: begin to assemble working prototypes. Revise documentation to reflect what you’re doing.
Week 4 – ending Friday April 4
Finalize your project development and documentation. Begin preparation for next week’s presentation.
Final Presentation: Wednesday April 9
The presentation will be in the afternoon of Friday the 4th, in one of the theatres (room TBA). Each team will take the stage to show and tell about its project. Everyone must have a speaking role. You should plan your presentation to show how wonderful your work is, but also to explore the particular decisions and challenges you faced.