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Hi-Fi Findings and Insights

Our focus for this final sprint in our project was to finalize our design, as well as test the hypothesis that our highlighting and annotations system will benefit reviewers in admissions committee meetings.

Based on the feedback that we received in our high fidelity testing, we decided to eliminate the fun facts and reviewer tracking statistics from the dashboard. These were by far the most polarizing features that we had designed; many reviewers questioned their usefulness and relevance. More importantly, they weren’t adding moments of joy to the experience and actually causing more stress. One reviewer even remarked upon seeing…

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For the past two weeks, Team Super Cool Scholars has been making improvements to our prototypes and testing them with participants. We have also been working on our final deliverables and preparing for our summer presentation. While we’ve been very busy as the program comes to an end, we are excited and motivated by all the work we have been doing and the feedback we have been receiving from participants.

Findings From Mid-fidelity Testing

We held another synthesis session to go through all the feedback that we’ve received from our participants on our mid-fi prototype. Here are some of our main findings:

Feature: Annotation & Highlighting:

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Lo-fi Analysis and Synthesis

This sprint mainly focused on analyzing our lo-fi data, as well as planning and conducting our mid-fi testing. One of the changes we made this semester was to change our note-taking technique in order to facilitate the synthesis of data. Last semester, all our notes were taken in the Google Docs platform, and while this was easy to use, it made it challenging to extract data (qualitative and quantitative) when we needed to. This summer, we utilized the Google Sheets platform for note-taking. We separated the main tasks that we were testing into different columns in the spreadsheet.

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Team Retrospective

The summer semester starts with a bang for the Super Cool Scholars. Our team put into action a whole onslaught of changes and improvements. As a team, we took a careful look at our previous successes and failures. One thing that we changed was that we started to define more responsibilities for roles and people with mixed roles on the team so that everyone can use their strengths and have their weaknesses covered. For example, Ugochi started to seek advice from faculty with a strong research background, supplementing her co-lead, Lia’s strong planning skills, and lack of time. We also…

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Team Super Cool Scholars has spent the last three weeks tying up our research, finalizing our main insights, and preparing for our Spring presentation, which we delivered on the 5th of May. The purpose of the presentation was to present the research we have done, as well as the insights and findings generated from it. We presented to our clients, faculty, peers, as well as the broader HCI community. The presentation was a success and we are very happy with all we have accomplished so far. …

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For the past two weeks, Team Super Cool Scholars has mostly been working on conducting contextual inquiries with reviewers and continuing to synthesize our research data. We have also been discussing the insights we are starting to generate and using them to inform our next steps moving forward. In addition, we are testing our conceptual prototype with admissions reviewers and preparing for our upcoming spring presentation.

Conceptual Prototype Testing With Reviewers

Our team has been working on contacting and scheduling conceptual prototype testing sessions with reviewers and has currently conducted three interviews. As described in Chapter 4, as reviewers go through application 1, they take…

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Over the past two weeks, Team Super Cool Scholars has been working on synthesizing data from the primary and secondary research that we have been conducting to generate deep insights that can guide us moving forward. Alongside continuing research and research synthesis, we have also been working on idea generation to develop a conceptual prototype that we plan to test and validate with our end users.

Contextual Inquiry With Reviewers

We recently started conducting contextual inquiries with reviewers to understand their thought process when reviewing applications, as well as how they use the ApplyGrad system. In addition, we are looking to identify pain points…

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This week is the mid-way point for the ApplyGrad project. Over the course of the past sprint, our team has worked to tie up research on the current and past system of ApplyGrad. We have moved beyond looking at where each department converges and diverges to mapping the journey of administrators (with some also being reviewers). We have collected a lot of quantitative and qualitative data on what reviewers and departments look for in candidates.

Over the course of the next few weeks, we will be jumping into the vast possibilities of what a graduate application system could look like…

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The hum of Super Cool Scholars working…

Research has always been fun as it uncovers insights we were not previously aware of. For the past 2 weeks, Team Super Cool Scholars have been taking a deep dive into the world of graduate admissions review and learning about the practices, behaviors, and habits of people on the admissions board.

We scheduled and conducted interviews with over 10 administrators and directors for master’s programs across the School of Computer Science at Carnegie Mellon University. Our primary research goal was to identify the main pain points that administrators face while using the ApplyGrad…

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As the fields of machine learning and artificial intelligence continue to grow, so does the popularity of Computer Science graduate programs. Carnegie Mellon’s School of Computer Science is no exception. But with this popularity comes an increasing number of applicants; in the 2019–2020 application cycle, over 10,000 applications were submitted to SCS alone. While this is an exciting opportunity for the department, how can the graduate application process be improved to help address the growing workload for admissions reviewers as well as envision the next generation of graduate applications systems?

Team Super Cool Scholars is excited to team up with…

MHCI Capstone - Super Cool Scholars

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