Technology Assignment Clarification

September 10, 2003


Beginning next week, you will have the opportunity to start presenting interesting technology features related to our discussion topics of the week. We've done the math and there aren't enough presentation opportunities for everyone in the class. So, these opportunities are now optional rather than mandatory. If you do a technology presentation, your requirements under assignment IV will be reduced to 1 translation essay and 1 comment on someone else's during the semester. If you do not do a technology presentation, you will still have the original requirement of 3 translation essays and 3 comments on other students' essays.

For those of you would like to present a technology platform or feature, here's how it will work.

1) Signups. I have posted a discussion topic in blackboard listing the presentation slots. They are available on a first-come, first-served basis, by posting to BlackBoard a few sentences describing what it is you would present. When you do so, please also send an email to the course instructors and TA (we might not notice it otherwise) and you may get some feedback or pushback about the appropriateness of the topic you've selected. Some examples of possible topics would be tools for social network mining such as that found in Friendster or novel features of chat systems or blogging platforms. The topic you choose should be at least vaguely related to the discussion topic for that day.

2) The actual presentation. Plan to present in class for about five minutes, with five minutes of discussion. PowerPoint or handouts or a live demo may be appropriate, depending on what you talk about.

3) The content. The idea is to present some technology feature that is actually used in some on-line community and isolate it as a feature that might be applied in other on-line communities. If the feature is already embodied in a software library or an API of some technology platform so much the better. You should show how the feature is used in a particular context, explain the essence of how it works technologically, and suggest some other contexts where it could be used. Anupriya, your fearless TA, will model this for you on Friday with a presentation of the collaborative filtering technology underlying MovieLens (she'll also be walking you through MovieLens' other features).