6398: Design and Evaluation of Educational Software

Final Paper Assignment

Due:December 2nd, 1997
Length:Approximately 10 to 20 pages
Format:Double-spaced, 12-pt font

For group projects, each team member must submit his/her own paper.

In your paper, your job is to convince me that you know how to evaluate the educational value of software. You will be evaluated on the theoretical grounding, thoroughness, and honesty of your evaluation. Do not be afraid to find fault with your software.

In your paper, please discuss:

Often it's difficult to tell the difference between interface problems and pedagogical problems. If users had significant problems with the interface, you may not be able to tell if the software could have been educationally effective. If that is the case, detail how you would improve the interface. Are these minor usability problems, or do you question your basic design? If there are questions you can't honestly answer, say so.

Do not be afraid to find fault with your evaluation process. I am likely to notice significant flaws. If you point them out, they won't count against you as much. Better to say, "we realize now that it would have been better to test the software on more than two people," than to say "based on the fact that 100% of our sample (2 of 2) loved it, we now know that we can save the world."

If you did not get an extension on the first paper, you may have one on the second paper until Thursday. However, I leave for California on 12/3. You'll need to send me the paper by overnight mail to 420 Monte Vista, Mill Valley, CA 94941. I will be there til the morning of 12/10. Make sure to check the box that it's OK for them to leave it without getting a signature. I will be checking email periodically during my trip. Please try to get the paper in on time if at all possible. Papers not received by Friday, 12/5 will be penalized.