Carnegie Mellon SCS TA System

The objective of this project is to identify the problems and opportunity areas on the current Teaching Assistant (TA) System of Carnegie Mellon's School of Computer Science (SCS).

Observation & Interpretation

Each member of our team set out to observe an assigned TA during his or her class or office hour. We acted as an apprentice to the TA's, probed, and interviewed them about their roles and responsibilities.

After each observation, we gathered as a team to create the sequence and flow models for each observation. We generated over 100 notes during this exercise. We also created a flow model and a couple of sequence models for each TA that we observed.

Contextual Design: Interpretation

Affinity Diagram

We then started grouping the notes we generated during our interpretation sessions. We looked into combining ideas and getting a bigger picture of the important scenarios that we can address.

Contextual Design: Affinity

Model Consolidation

We consolidated the flow models for all of the TA's we observed into one, and we did the same for the sequence models. This way, we see the bigger picture of the roles and responsibilities of the TA's, as well as the general sequence of their activities. Museum Storyboard


Finally, we as a group identified the key problem: the students' questions on the assignment are not all efficiently and properly answered by the TA's. With this, we proposed several solutions as shown in the following visions.

Vision 1: Grading System

Contextual Design: Vision

Vision 2: Integrated Course Website

Contextual Design: Vision

Vision 3: Handout Creation and Distribution

Contextual Design: Vision