I took CS247I last quarter and really enjoyed designing an explorable explainer and a game for people to play. My favorite part of CS247I was thinking about how to design both of these intentionally so that people would achieve certain learning goals. I went into CS247B excited to design more experiences where we want users to learn something specific. The course was not quite what I expected it to be. At the beginning we learned a lot about behavior science which was super interesting and I saw some neat ways this could be connected to designing a learning experience using these techniques. I remember sharing with my friends all that I learned through the readings and course discussions about habit formation. The whole 21 days thing is total BS. It is actually about anchoring your new habit to existing ones so that it becomes impossible to forget to do it as part of a routine. I feel unsatisfied with how much of this behavior science my team and I were able to use when designing the app. I wish we had time to do a few more user tests and iterate on those to test our different ideas. For example, my group and I use nudging to remind people to do a short creative task. However, we are worried that these nudges might actually increase anxiety or put so much pressure on people that they stop whatever they are doing and complete them right then (taking them away from whatever moment they were present in at the time they received the nudge). I wish we had time to do a few more user tests with our clickable prototype to test these higher level design choices. In our user tests in class, I think we were testing mainly that our wireflow (and concept really) made sense to users. But, I think we were missing the next level iteration to really feel like our app has all that we learned from this class in it.
The 2×2 and creating models in general were challenging to me. It was difficult for my mind to organize data in some of these ways, But, once I wrapped my head about the model, they always provided insights. My favorite model that I made was the connective circle. It helped my group organize activities, feelings, and quotes into one space and then connect them so we could understand chronologically how they intertwined with each other.
At first, I really didn’t like doing the sketchnotes, but I think as I started to make ones that I was more proud of, they became more fun. These are my two favorite sketchnotes that I have made: 5 ways to know if your idea is stupid and Needfinding. I like to watch videos and sketchnote those. Laura’s talk on how to know if your idea is stupid was so fun to watch and it felt like sketchnoting came naturally to that video. Last quarter, I remember the one on defining “fun” was also easier to sketchnote than the readings. I wonder if videos are just easier to sketchnote. I should user test it haha.
I really appreciated the ethical discussions we had in this course. I feel like these are what Stanford students need to critically think about as they go into the world. I am so grateful for all the work that went into the ethics modules and I hope these can continue to spread far and wide at Stanford.
Reflecting on these past 10 weeks, I know that I have learned so much. These concepts felt more tangible than what I learned in CS247I. I also think the smaller class size made the course in general more engaging. It was also really fun to think about how everything from this class applied to my research project with Chris where we designed a virtual co-learning space for students. One thing that I am excited to reflect on over spring break is the ethical implications of the co-learning space. We have struggled to think about how to incentivize this (without evil gamification and without course credit) to students as well as how to keep them from cheating. Our idea for keeping them from cheating was to design an experience that would be so much more beneficial than cheating that they would not do it (I guess it would have to be 9 times better than cheating given what we learned in this class). I also want to think about nudging students to co-learn could add a lot of stress (I know I would be scared to talk to a random other person in the course. What if they are smarter than me?).
I heard someone at the GSE say that one way to measure learning is to measure how much a student participates in and engages with a course. In this new world of online learning, I want to design spaces to get people collaborating with their peers. You could say I want to change their behavior so that learning online can go from a purely individual (and often negative) learning experience, to a more collaborative (and hopefully positive) experience. After what I learned in this course, I appreciate the difficulty of getting people to change how they learn. I also realize I need to think very carefully about the ethical implications of this tool so that it empowers students rather than exacerbating imposter syndrome. I also recognize that I need to slow down and focus on understanding my users’ day to day lives, and current learning experiences, before trying to build a better one. My experience with CS-ed research so far is that people really like to build things and try them on students but often skip the upfront work of understanding the students so that they can best design for them. The baseline and diary studies were really informative for our app, as we understood how busy Stanford students prioritize their time and where they had time and space to work on creative tasks. I think this research will be key in understanding when in the learning process students would most benefit from collaborative learning and also what kind of students would even want this. Anyway, apologies for the rant on this but I had a great time applying what we covered in this class to the app I worked on with my group and also thinking about how to apply this to my research and even future ideas I want to work on.
Thanks so much for a great course! Looking forward to CS547 next quarter 🙂