Rubrics and Grading

This document presents the following information:

  • General Expectations
  • Policies for Late Work
  • Rubrics for Open-Ended Projects
  • Grading Breakdown

General Expectations

There are a few elementary things you can do to ensure that you receive a totally respectable grade in the course. These things may seem simple and obvious, but it’s sometimes surprising how few students seem to get this right:

  • Have a positive attitude.
  • Show up to all of the course sessions, on time.
  • Communicate with your professor if you must miss a session.
  • Submit all of the Deliverables, on time.
  • Follow instructions: do all parts of the Deliverables, paying careful attention to seemingly trivial requirements (such as categorizing your blog posts correctly, formatting your code properly, giving your blog post a title in the requested format etc.).

There are also some things you can do to earn a really great grade in the course:

  • Make interesting, novel, provocative work that’s well-crafted.
  • Be resourceful about getting the assistance you need.
  • Help your classmates when they’re stuck.
  • Make helpful contributions to discussions.

Here’s a rubric for how to succeed in a course like this, courtesy Kristin Hughes:


Follow your passion.

With very rare exceptions (I’ll be clear), I will always prefer that you make the assignment interesting to you — if necessary, by creatively bending the rules or re-interpreting the assignment. My assignments are starting-points, prompts and propositions. They are “opportunities for genius.” Think beyond them.

Policies for Late Work

Our class is fast-paced. When you submit work late, you lose big-time — not because of some point-deduction scheme, but because you miss the chance to share, show off, discuss and get feedback on your work.

  • Generally I grade projects a few days after the Crit date. I offer no precise details about this.
  • Projects submitted after the Crit date, but before I get around to grading, will get a 10% grade deduction. You’ll still receive written feedback.
  • Projects submitted after I have done my grading will get a 25% grade deduction, and will probably not receive written feedback.

Rubrics for Open-Ended Projects

The purpose of our open-ended Projects is to provide well-circumscribed opportunities for you to make creative work. Generally the Project prompts will invite you to explore a specific conceptual theme or set of techniques, but, unless stated otherwise, there is no correct solution, and no specific requirement for how to implement your idea. A Project also asks not just for a creative solution, but also for some creativity in defining and approaching the problem. Projects are published presented on this WordPress blog.

Open-ended Projects will be evaluated according to the following considerations:

  • Curiosity: Are you asking questions as you work?
  • Tenacity: Are you forging through difficult problems without giving up?
  • Execution: Are you crafting with purpose, precision, and attention?
  • Inventiveness: Are you discovering/exploring methods outside the obvious and predictable?
  • Fulfillment: Did you meet all of the requested supporting criteria (such as providing scans of sketches, categorizing your blog post correctly, etc.)?

With Projects, it may not matter how much time a student spent making it; you may sometimes observe a very quickly-executed solution which succeeds because of its strong concept. Often, however, the craft of a project is rewarded by extra attention.

Projects always have a list of supporting requirements. These are straightforward to fulfill, but if you fail to meet these, you will have points deducted.

  • Create a unique blog post for your project.
  • Make sure your blog post is titled and categorized as requested.
  • Embed your interactive project into the post, if technologically possible. If it involved writing code, make sure its code is visible (with the WP-Syntax plugin) or properly linked (to your Github repository).
  • Include a static documentation image of your project, such as a screenshot.
  • Include scans or photos of any notebook sketches, if you have them.
  • In the case of dynamic work, include dynamic documentation too: embed a YouTube, Vimeo, or animated GIF demonstrating your project.
  • Write 100-200 words about your project, describing its development process.
  • In your writing, include some critical reflection and analysis of your project: how could it have been better? In what ways did you succeed, and in what ways could it be better?

Related to our course policies on Academic Integrity, you must also

  • Name any other students from the class from whom you received advice or help. If you had collaborators, explain how the work was distributed among the collaborators.
  • Cite and link to the sources for any code, external libraries, or other media (e.g. photographs, soundtracks, source images) which you used in your Project. This is super important, folks.

Projects will be graded with scores of 0,1,2, or 3, 4, as follows:

  • 0 (F) – No credit, generally because the student failed to deliver the assignment at all.
  • 1 (L)Too late. The project, regardless of its brilliance, was submitted so late as to miss the chance to be evaluated by our external reviewers. The train has left the station. Sorry. The one (1) point is a meager consolation prize.
  • 1 (D)A mess. The project doesn’t work, has major bugs or is incomplete to a point that is impossible to get a clear idea of the user experience. Sometimes 10% of the class will earn this grade.
  • 2 (C) – Unremarkable, Weak, Poor, or Mediocre. Unimaginative work, perhaps only technically satisfactory. The student phoned it in, and the project, while just functional, reveals a lack of evident care. Both the technical execution and the concept are sufficient but not outstanding. Sometimes 30% of the class will earn this grade.
  • 3 (B) Satisfactory or Good work, successfully meeting criteria. Generally 50% of the class will earn this grade. Good concept and excellent technical execution. Or, vice versa, excellent idea and good technical execution.
  • 4 (A) – Outstanding or exceptional concept and implementation. Usually 10% of the class will earn this grade.

Hey. Read this. Not every project you make can or will be a work of brilliance. Get over it. in this class, it is much more important to submit work on time than to freeze up, because your work isn’t perfect. Bang it out and then get some sleep. This class is about experimentation.

Grading Breakdown

  • Participation/Engagement (25%)
  • Projects and other Deliverables (75%)