20 Jan 2010 08:00 am

What are the course projects?

In the projects, students will synthesize and demonstrate what they have learned throughout the course. The projects need to be working syntheses of two or more data sources and services relating to the course theme of open government. Students will have opportunities to brainstorm ideas, choose a specific focal point (drawing from structured feedback from other students and the instructor), craft a proposal for their projects, and then present their work at the end of the course. We hope to assemble a panel of practitioners in the field to whom we can showcase the work of the course.

Project Proposal Format

Proposals are meant to clarify our ideas on what exactly we want to do and how we plan to do these things.

Your proposal should address the following questions:

* What problem is your project aimed at solving? Alternatively, why would someone want to use what you are making in your project?
* Is your project doable given the constraints of time, our starting knowledge, etc?

Please be as specific as you can in the following areas:

  • What interface are you imagining? Is it a web, desktop, or mobile application? What platform are you running? Often a rough sketch of the interface can help clarify a lot of issues
  • What data or services are planning to bring together? Be specific.
  • What’s your plan for getting the data. Often the data you might want might not be easily available.
  • Do the APIs you plan to use actually support the functionality that you need in your application? Show how it does so.
  • What programming language do you plan to use?

Provide an action plan:

  • Break down the project into steps. You can end up changing the steps later, but I want to make sure you have a clear conception on what the steps are.
  • Highlight what you are currently working on.
  • Identify areas of “high risk,” areas that you are uncertain about and/or things that might undermine the entire project. Write about how you are planning to deal with these potential problem areas.
  • If you are unclear about what you might want to do, I’d suggest starting with Flickr-centric ideas if you don’t have any other ideas in mind.

My hope is that the projects are going to interesting, engaging, and helpful in exercising practical skills.

Please do look at what others are doing. I encourage you to work in groups of 2 or 3 but I’m also very happy for you to work alone.

Final Project Proposals are due on Wednesday, March 10, 2010 at 11pm PST.

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