Group Brainstorm

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Due: before class on February 2, 2017

20 Points


In this assignment you will use the brainstorming method you learned in class to develop your group project idea. You should conduct at least one one-hour brainstorming session with your group members. You will report the complete list of ideas that your group generated, and then report the final project idea. We expect you to meet outside of class a couple of times to complete the assignment. In addition to coming up with project ideas by yourself, we will also have a couple of sponsored projects, coming from people who have real-world challenges in Pitt. If your group decides to work on a sponsored project, you still need to go through the same brainstorming process to figure out how you are going to approach the problem.


Your writeup should follow the outline below. It will be graded using the writing guidelines detailed later in this document. Remember that less is more. Try to say what you need to as succinctly as possible. But don’t skip any important details.

  • Each team member’s name
  • Brainstorm: A list of at least 20 numbered ideas (preferably 30-60) that you came up with during your brainstorming session
  • Idea Selection: The idea your group chose to work on and a short explanation of why the group picked it from amongst all the possibilities in your list.(paragraph)

  • A Longer Description of the Project (several paragraphs)
  • Target User Group(paragraph)
  • Problem Description (paragraph)
  • Problem Context (paragraph)
  • Why mobile applications are a good technology for the Problem (paragraph)
  • Solution Sketch(paragraphs + sketches)

Writing Guidelines

Brainstorm and Idea Selection (10 points)

This will depend on how many ideas you generated, how creative they were, whether there was evidence of build/jump in the list, etc. We will also examine how your group selected the idea you will address this semester.

Target Users (2 points)

Your target user group should be sensible (people you have access to) and not trivial (CS undergrads shouldn't be your only target user base). Describe the user group in enough detail that you can easily separate the group from other types of people. Then include details about their needs and wants.

Problem Description (2 points)

The problem description should be short and specific about the high-level goals of the project. The problem should be described in terms of user activities and situations where the problem occurs, and what aspects of the situation might be improved with a technical solution. e.g. obesity is a problem for many people and certainly for children. Mobile applications that encourage exercise can help reduce it. Education is a theme that doesnt require justification but you may want to discuss problems with certain types of education in traditional settings. Avoid describing or suggesting a solution at this stage that will hamper your design thinking when you actually start solving the problem.

Context (2 points)

The analysis section should give more background for the problem. What aspects of the situation might influence the problem solution? Think about location, time, environmental factors etc. Then think about aspects of the user group, their education, available time, motivation, values etc., What related or complementary solutions exist already?

Why mobile applications (2 points)

We would like you to explain why mobile applications are good technologies for addressing the problem your group has chosen. The best projects will take advantage of the unique capabilities of mobile platforms.

Solution Sketch(2 points each)

Give a very brief sketch (outline) of the kind of solution(s) you are considering. Since your problem has barely been specified and you haven’t done any user interviews, you probably don’t have enough information to make many design choices. So your solution sketch should be very general. This is an excellent place to make use of real sketches (drawings) as well as text.


Hand in Printout in Class

Print your assignment and hand it in at the beginning of class on February 2. Each group should also upload an electronic version to the class wiki (see instructions below).

Creating a Wiki Page for Your Group

Begin by creating a new wiki page for your group. You will use this page as a general repository containing all the information related to your group assignments and group project. So make sure to follow the instructions given here.

  1. Go to the Project Groups page and find the group you belong to.
  2. Each group as been given a single letter name. These letters are boring. Choose a name for your group and update the link on the Project Groups page.
  3. Suppose you were given the group name 5 and choose to rename your group to Example Group (yes perhaps an even more boring name). You would edit [[Group:X]] to become [[Group:Example Group]].
  4. Now clicking on the Group:Example Group link will lead to a new stub page for your group which you should edit to include the names of the all people in the group and pointers to their user pages.

I've created theGroup:Example Group page as an example. Note that there is a link to the Project Groups page in the navigation sidebar.

Creating Your Group Assignment Page

Edit your group's page to add a link to a new wiki page for this assignment. The wiki syntax should look like this:

[[Group Brainstorm-Group:Example Group|Group Brainstorm]]

Again replace Example Group with your group's name. Look at Group:Example Group for an example. Then click on the link and enter the information about your assignment. Be sure to clearly address everything mentioned in the writing guidelines above.

Uploading Images

To upload images to the wiki, first create a link for the image of the form [[Image:image_name.jpg]] (replacing image_name.jpg with a unique image name for use by the server). This will create a link you can follow that will then allow you to upload the image. Alternatively, you can use the "Upload file" link in the toolbox to upload the image first, and then subsequently create a link to it on your wiki page.

Add Link to Your Finished Assignment

One you are finished editing the page, add a link to it here with your group name as the title link. The wiki syntax will look like this: *[[Group Brainstorm-Group:Example Group|Group:Example Group]]. Hit the edit button for this section to see how I created the link for the Example Group.