The specific goal of a project, to complete something, is in part
secondary to the learning issues that form the background of the course
CS 190. In a word, those concern developing cooperation.
Since everyone has different strengths and weaknesses a primary
aspect of the way the course CS 190 is taught is to motivate the
individuals involved to do what they: a) think is right, b) see as
useful, and c) falls within their current knowledge or immediate learning
objectives. In the latter case it is the business of the learner to
determine that acquiring the knowledge is worth the time needed to do that,
in terms of its impact on the course project. That is, individuals have
to learn to select from a range of items, and find those useful
technical tools that are both possible-to-assimilate and necessary for their
How people do a project is not important, yet that their work respects the audience they will impact in writing and in presentations is very much the central issue. A large number of tricks of the trade are in the repertoire of most faculty, even those strongly-oriented toward professional specialization. One corpus of material that is conveyed by the course is some of the skills - at exposition, organization, and fund-raising - that are currently of interest to the instructor. Those make reasonable subjects for assessments of learning and growth.
End quarter or final examinations can be composed from
Learning Accomplished quizzes.
Since only the process is important, the way that one motivates oneself in a project need not be the traditional course measure of accomplishment, the grade. As long as you do things that will lead to something useful in time, it is reasonable to continue along a course of action. Examples of that sort of thing are: work for a portfolio to take to job interviews; a draft of a proposal to seek funding to support further technical development; a detailed explanation of how you will turn your work into a profitable business.
Make your work fun ... and do a lot of fun.
Sometimes I play a game to see if I can correctly judge how much I can carry. The game begins with some simple goal task such as opening my front door with the house key. It consists of loading myself with packages and seeing if I have to put something down in order to open the door (in which case I lose the game). On the other hand if I've accurately determined the load, I win, since I finish the task carrying everything I selected.
Both the above items have obvious implications to the computer science design project. Those implications at the most practical level involve using a time line to schedule tasks to be concluded by end of term. (Sophisticated computer software assisting planning project tasks is widely available.)
A big win today in playing the carrying game. I brought my running shoes, shirts from the laundry, and several other things into the house where I'd opened the garage door previously with my running key. I had decided to carry my car keys under my armpits (no hands/fingers were free). The game was to get the car keys into the drawer where I keep them without putting anything down. I was able to open the drawer with my knee and "made a basket" by leaning over it and releasing. As the comedy group the Capitol Steps would put it, the storal of this morey is use your armpits.
Use what you have. First list for yourself your resources and abilities, then try to answer the question "What do I want to accomplish?"
Plan the flight and fly the plan. - Dr. Barry Boehm