As I finally close out my course, the first thing I feel is relief. But then I think back: some parts of the course didn’t end that well. I consistently turned in the Unit projects later and later as the course went on. Why was that? I have a few suggestions for improving the way the course is run in the future. These are all ideas that I think will help future students get their assignments in on time.
- Accountability: At least for me, the course didn’t seem entirely real. I think that this was because it wasn’t graded, deadlines weren’t set, and we didn’t discuss assignments. Also, if given the chance not to do something, students will take it and do something else. I think that this could be fixed by establishing grades from the beginning: __ percent for on-time, ___ percent off for lateness. It would also be necessary to meet much more often and talk about our assignments. This provides a necessary social pressure to keep us moving; and also increases the quality of assignments.
- Lack of knowledge: For some of the assignments, especially the ones involving interviews, I feel that we lacked resources. How do you conduct an interview or survey at Davidson? How do you randomly sample people? These are things that would be good to know before starting out. As long as every student knows that there is someone they can reach out to for Davidson-specific questions on UX, this would be good. To help with this, I would consider having a designated person who can answer these questions: someone who has taken the class before. A Davidson-UX mentor, if you will. Having weekly meetings with our groups would remedy this problem: we could ask for help on our assignments.
- The assignments: Each UX course is filled with deliverables: different activities that you are to fill out as you go on. This includes several study guides. When I started the course, I was completing the study guides, which turned out to waste a lot of time. I would rather have used the time I spent making study guides to work on the other deliverables. We need flexibility about assignments: as long as the major steps are in place, we should not have to complete the minute tasks. Also important: We need a Davidson UX mentor who could tell us not to complete the study guide and focus on the important things.
- Apps required for the course: The course requires a lot of random app downloads. Sometimes, learning how to use a new app wastes time that we could spend building a project. We need to be flexible with the apps that students use, and we need to inform them of that flexibility in the future.
I think all of these suggestions will make students more accountable by making them feel the pressure of this course in a more real way, putting them under the eye of their peers, and making it easier in general to complete assignments.