Final Project

Three deadlines:

    Proposal: Due 11:59pm on Friday, May 17th

    In Class Presentation: In Class at 1:30pm on Wednesday, June 5th

    Final Submission: Due 11:59pm on Tuesday, June 11th


In the final project, you will work in a group of three to design, launch, and manage a social computing system.

If you treat this like other final projects, you will have a bad time. In particular, it takes time, effort, and patience to launch a social computing system, so you'll need to work in advance. If you wait to launch it until near the deadline, your potential users may be busy or under the thumb of finals themselves, and it will be hard to achieve.


Form a team of three. Remember from lecture that teams are hard, because interdependence is hard! So, make sure to have conversations up front with your team about what kind of norms you want, how you will interact with each other, and why.

Work with your team to develop a proposal. What are you proposing to create? Who is the set of people who will be seeding your social system? You may pick the goal: fun, collaboration, collective action, creativity, or anything in between.

All projects must be of substantial design complexity: they must represent a new social computing design that is novel, interesting, and thoughtful. Creating a Facebook group, email list, or new subreddit, for example, would not be of sufficient design complexity. In addition, depending on your group's background, you may opt for either:

  • Technically challenging project: creating novel software or platforms yourself, often a system built and launched from scratch. We expect to see some social behavior and dynamics from the launched system.
  • Socially challenging project: social bricolage, utilizing existing software. This project must demonstrate far more substantial social behavior on the platform in terms of activity level and thoughtful analysis than the technically challenging project.

You may also pursue a combination of technically and socially challenging: just be sure to articulate what you're aiming for. Feel free to chat with the staff in office hours if you'd like feedback.


Form your team and develop a design direction. Then, form a prototyping plan. Return to the lecture on prototyping and growth: how will you test your envisioned social dynamics without spending weeks building the system? If you wanted to get a sense in one week for whether your design thesis is right, how would you do it?

Submit on Canvas a PDF of 500 words or less on behalf of the group that reports the group members, the design proposal, and the prototyping plan. Begin executing your prototyping plan while waiting for the staff to give feedback on your proposal, and start thinking ahead about how who you can reach out to as an initial community in your system.

In-class Presentation

The final day of class, June 5th, will largely be dedicated to team presentations. Your team will have one minute to share their project with the rest of the class. You will create slides that can be entered onto a shared Google Presentation that we will use in class. We recommend focusing on your design insight, what you created and for whom, any class concepts that explain key design decisions, and a high level description of how much behavior you observed and what kind of behavior you observed.

Since the presentation is only one minute long, make sure to design it well and practice it. The project does not need to be complete at the time of the presentation; the presentation is a chance to share ideas and results with your classmates.

Grading rubric

We plan to use the following rubric to evaluate your 1-minute presentations on Wed, June 5, 2019.

Category Insufficiency Adequacy Proficiency Mastery
[1 / 7pts]
The basic goal and design were unclear.
[3 / 7pts]
The basic goal of the work was communicated, but major components were buried or confusing.
[5 / 7pts]
The main ideas were clear, but the details were confusing, incomplete, or signaled a misunderstanding.
[7 / 7pts]
The presentation clearly sets out the project's goals and design.
[1 / 5pts]
The project had severe issues in the core need that it was trying to address, from the point of view of course concepts.

Example: "People lose touch over time."

[3 / 5pts]
The project conveyed a moderately clear human need that it is trying to address. However, the need was too general, or runs counter to course concepts.

Example: "People want to meet up with their weak ties."

[5 / 5pts]
The project articulated a clear and specific human need that it is trying to address.

Example: "People are excited to reconnect with old strong ties who dropped off into weak tie status, but they can't find good opportunities to reconnect."

[1 / 5pts]
The project had severe issues in the design and implementation from the point of view of course concepts.

Example: "We made a WhatsApp group."

[3 / 5pts]
The project conveyed a clear design idea and implementation. However, there was at least one moderate weak point from the point of view of course concepts.

Example: "We made an app where people can ping their friends." (Course concepts don't suggest that weak ties would appreciate constant notifications from each other.)

[5 / 5pts]
The project articulated an effective design and implementation to address the problem.

Example: "We realized that lots of these people go to the same events but don't coordinate and so miss each other — so we made an app that stages group reunions for concerts, movies, and other events that lots of people will go to."

[1 / 3pts]
The presentation ran out of time or misappropriated time between components of the project.
[3 / 3pts]
The presentation was effective in its use of time and respected the time limit.

Final Report

Submit a final report of up to 2,500 words. Suggested sections include:

  • Introduction: a summary of who you were designing for, what you created, and what happened when you launched it.
  • Design: a description of your final social computing system. Focus on describing the experience of the system, rather than a tour through all the features of the system.
  • Prototypes: the prototypes that you developed along the way (i.e. using social bricolage), who interacted with them and how, and what you learned from the prototypes.
  • Implementation: technical details of the system you created, or how you bricolaged the system together.
  • Deployment: who you launched to, how you did it, and who used the system.
  • Interaction: an analysis of the kinds of behavior and interactions you saw on the system.
  • Discussion: reflect on what worked, what didn't, and why — what did you learn?
  • Conclusion: a brief closing summary.
You may include screenshots and images; they do not count toward the word limit.


The overall grading breakdown will be:

  • 20%: Proposal
  • 20%: In-class presentation
  • 60%: Final report

The final report will be graded on the following rubric items:

  • Design concept: how creative is the social computing design, and how effectively does it pull from course concepts?
  • Prototyping: was the design concept prototyped effectively before being implemented?
  • System: was the system competently executed?
  • Deployment: did the system achieve reasonable levels of usage?
  • Interaction: did the system produce interesting social interactions?
  • Style: is the report clearly written and well organized?