Summary: Explains the motivation and requirements for the project.



A major requirement of this course is to undertake a significant team software development project. This will be the first such project for most of you, and it will be a real learning experience. Although there are many aspects of working in industry or on a research team that the project will not simulate (e.g., joining an existing project; coping with millions of lines of code; working with the marketing/sales side of a company), this class will give you experience working in a team on a larger-scale project, in which you design the software as well as implementing it.

The two most important things to know about the project are:

  1. I want you to learn, and 
  2. I want you to be proud of what you do.

Therefore, I'm going to do my best to give you the resources you need for success; the rest is up to you.

Project Parameters

You will work on the project in teams of 4-10. The project will be your primary activity for this course after Fall Break, and you will also do some preparatory work before Fall Break.

What constitutes an acceptable project?

You must implement your project using Ruby on Rails.

Two projects are already planned:

Another idea: I have heard that the Grinnell Texbook Lending Library wants an online catalog of its holdings.

What needs on campus do you know about?


Of course, you'll be building software as part of your project. Here are some more details.


See the schedule.


The final project is worth 60% of your grade: 30% will reflect the success of the project as a whole, and 30% will reflect your individual contributions.

Your grades will reflect a self-evaluation, the evaluation of your teammates, my evaluation, and possibly the evaluation of your customer.

You will help shape the rubrics used for project evaluation. On Thursday, October 11, we will collaboratively generate evaluation rubrics based on what we've learned about Web application design and XP. The following week, as the project gets underway, I will come back to you with a proposed rubric based on our discussion.

Although the schedule currently includes just one final evaluation of the project, we can also discuss whether to have an earlier interim evaluation.

Janet Davis (

Created August 26, 2012
Last revised October 13, 2012