Individual Contribution Statement

Due Thursday, February 19

One of the things we emphasize in design courses is the multi-disciplinary character of the projects. A mix of skills is required to make a project successful, and each of you brings something different to the mix. Part of working well together is realizing that not everyone has the same strengths (and weaknesses) and taking advantage of the diversity. We'll talk some in class about diversity as reflected in personality types or "temperaments."

This year we are prototyping a method for getting each of you to think about the most valuable contributions you can make, and to evaluate how well you were able to do it. For this coming Thursday, February 19, each person should email in (to cs247@cs.stanford.edu, which goes to all the teaching staff) a one-page-or-so message with the following:

  1. Here is the area (or areas) in which I want to contribute my main effort
  2. Here are my goals for what I can achieve there in the rest of the quarter.

The more specific the better. If you just say "I want to program" and "My goal is to do a lot of good programming," It's hard to evaluate. Instead you might say "I can program Flash interfaces to the Arduino" and "I want the program to be able to independently detect the bending of each of the joints on the controller and for the program to use that data to generate a 3-D visualization of its shape."

Relevant contributions can include building working prototypes (both software and hardware), visual/industrial design, working with users (observing and testing), facilitating parts of the design process (e.g., establishing a point of view), creating documentation or presentations, or contributions in the social/organizational side (keeping your team on the same page with what's happening, resolving conflicts,....).

Note that this is NOT a contract that limits your responsibility. It will not be fair to say to your teammates "I didn't put that in my goals, so don't expect me to do it." If in the end you discover that something else is better for you to do, that's fine. If everyone needs to chip in one aspect, do it. The point here is to get you to think at this stage about what you do well, and what is needed to make the project work. Write some initial ideas quickly, then reflect on the larger context of the project (where your project is in the process, who else can do what,...) and refine. Your statement will be shared with the members of your team. Feel free to discuss it before writing, but if that isn't practical, send it in and you can discuss it later. At the end of the course you will reflect on your contribution, and we will use this as input in assigning the individual participation portion of the course grade. (see grading criteria).