Course NumberCSE 557A
SemesterFall 2016
HoursMW 4:00-5:30
LocationLopata Hall / 202
InstructorAlvitta Ottley
Emailalvitta at
OfficeJolley 410
Office HoursMW 2:00-4:00
Project Description
Project Milestone
Peer Assessment
Submission Instructions
Grading Criteria


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Final Project

For your final assignment in this course you will work on a project. The goal of the project is to design and implement a web-based interactive visualization that allows you to answer questions you have about some topic of your own choosing. You will acquire the data, design your visualization, implement it using modern web frameworks, and evaluate the results.

Project Team

You will work closely with other classmates in a 2 person project team. You can come up with your own teams and use our discussion forum to find prospective team members. If you can't find a partner I will team you up randomly. I recognize that individual schedules, preferences, and other constraints might limit your ability to work in a team. If this the case, ask me for permission to work alone. In general, I do not anticipate that the grades for each group member will be different. However, I reserve the right to assign different grades to each group member based on peer assessments (see below).

Project Steps

There are a few actions you have to for your final project. It is critical to note that no extensions will be given for the final project presentation and the final submission for any reason. For due dates see the schedule below. Late days may only be used for the project proposal and milestone. Projects submitted after the final due date will not be graded. Here are the project steps:


You start your project by forming your groups and letting me know what topic you are interested in exploring by submitting a project data form. Each team will only need to submit one form. In addition to the form, you will create a proposal document, addressing the following points. Use these points as headers in your document.

Each team member must submit this document on Blackboard. As a ballpark number: your proposal should contain about 2-4 pages of text, plus 5-6 pages of sketches.

You will have time in class every Wednesday to work on your project and ask any questions you may have. You may also schedule a project review meeting either during the Wednesday class or during my office hours . Make sure all of your team members are present at the meeting.

Project Milestone

For your Milestone I expect you to hand in your code and your process book in it's current state (see Final Project Submission for details). You don't have to have your website ready.

For your Milestone you should have completed your data acquisition, or at least have a significant sample of your data. You must have your data structures in place. For example, if you plan to collect 1000 data records, but only have 200, that's fine. If you are missing one of two datasets you want to use you will loose points, since you have to have the whole structure.

You must have a working visualization prototype. You must not have all your views up and running, and it must not be completely interactive, but the direction and the content must be clear.

If you are uncertain about the scope, please contact me.

Final Project Submission

For your final project you must hand in the following items.

Process Book

An important part of your project is your process book. Your process book details your steps in developing your solution, including the alternative designs you tried, and the insights you got. Develop your process book out of the project proposal. Equally important to your final results is how you got there! Your process book is the place you describe and document the space of possibilities you explored at each step of your project. It is not, however, a journal or lab notebook that describes every detail - you should think carefully about the important decisions you made and insights you gained and present your reasoning in a concise way.

I strongly advise you to include many figures in your process book, including photos of your sketches of potential designs, screen shots from different visualization tools you explored, inspirations of visualizations you found online, etc. Several images illustrating changes in your design or focus over time will be far more informative than text describing those changes. Instead, use text to describe the rationale behind the evolution of your project.

Your process book should include the following topics. Depending on your project type the amount of discussion you devote to each of them will vary:

As this will be your only chance to describe your project in detail make sure that your process book is a standalone document that fully describes your results and the final design.


Your web-based visualization can be implemented using any API or programming language you would like as long as it runs in modern browsers, but I will only support and answer questions regarding Processing, Java, D3 and Javascript. I expect you to write high-quality and readable code. You should strive for doing things the right way and think about aspects such as reusability, error handling, etc. Here are some guidelines specific to JavaScript code. We also expect you to document your code.

Project Website

You will create a public website for your project using GitHub pages or any other web hosting service of your choice. The web site should contain your interactive visualization, summarize the main results of the project, and tell a story. Consider your audience (the site is public) and keep the level of discussion at the appropriate level. Your process book and data should be linked from the web site as well. If you are not able to publish your work (e.g., due to confidential data) please let me know in your project proposal.

Project Presentation

Each team will do a 5 minute presantion showing a demo of your visualization and/or some slides. Focus the majority of your presentation on your main contributions rather than on technical details. What do you feel is the best part of your project? What insights did you gain? What is the single most important thing you would like your audience to take away? Make sure it is front and center rather than at the end.

Peer Assessment

It is important to provide positive feedback to people who truly worked hard for the good of the team and to also make suggestions to those you perceived not to be working as effectively on team tasks. Please provide an honest assessment of the contributions of the members of your team, including yourself. The feedback you provide should reflect your judgment of each team member's:

Your teammate's assessment of your contributions and the accuracy of your self-assessment will be considered as part of your overall project score.

Submission Instructions

Submission will be handled trough github. All teams must use a single shared github repository. If I cannot access your work because these directions are not followed correctly, I will not grade your work.

To submit your work you must fill out the form that is part of Assignment 4 where you specify your project URL.

Store the following in your github repository:

Grading Criteria

Your individual project score will also be influenced by your peer evaluations.


due 11:59 on due date