Guidelines for Belinda Thom and Christine Alvarado's 2005/2006 Clinic Team

Purpose of this document

Clinic is a difficult but rewarding course. To help you enjoy and structure this experience, this document identifies what we expect from you as your clinic faculty advisors and how you will be graded.

Clinic Project:Fair Isaac
Team Members:Matt Reynolds (PM), Kristen Kurimoto, John McCullough, Will Shipley
Project Web-site:Twiki
Weekly Schedule: On Wiki, here

Our participation as faculty advisors

Our purpose is to monitor the team's progress, direct the team in important decisions, sign off on the final deliverable given to the client, and assign grades.

Getting hold of us

During the fall semester, please feel free to contact either of us any time you need to discuss something clinic related, be it technical, administrative, or interpersonal. Both Belinda's weekly schedule and Christine's weekly schedule are posted on the Web. Feel free to drop by anytime (and knock, we are both often in the office when the door is closed).

Email to Belinda and/or Christine is a great way to get hold of us, but for technical content, use the clinic group mailing list to ensure that each member remains "in the loop." Also, feel free to call one of us (Belinda: 607-9662; 982-9247; Christine: 607-0443; 714-680-4407). No calls after 10pm please.

In the spring semester, Belinda will be on sabbatical and Christine will become the sole faculty advisor. In the spring, you will be contacting solely Christine with questions or concerns.

Our grading policy

We will assign each member a grade individually. Your grade will be based on four relatively equal-weighted considerations:

Within the A to D range, our grading scheme is a relatively linear function of your performance. Maximizing your grade can be accomplished by performing well on each of the items listed above. However, if you do not meet a minimum time threshold, you risk not passing clinic.

Time commitments

In the CS Department's clinic handbook, clinic is described as a 10 to 15 hour a week commitment. In order for you to pass clinic under our guidance, you must demonstrate that you have spent no less than 9 hours per week on clinic (including meetings). Note that this is strictly a lower bound---there will likely be weeks where you'll have to spend more than 9---but by working consistently, our hope is that you'll never have to spend more than 15 :-). Your weekly ability to meet the 9 hour minimum will be assessed via: Should an emergency arise, exceptions can be made from time to time, but it is your responsibility to ensure that exceptions don't negatively impact the group---work out necessary make-up schedules in advance.

Group work block

The safest way to ensure that you meet this minimum 9-hour-a-week commitment is to set up a regular 6-hour block of time (Meeting Schedule) in which all team members work in concert.

Mandatory administration

The other 3 hours can then be easily met with the following mandatory requirements: Times, deadlines, and locations are Meeting Schedule on the Wiki, here. We will monitor your status reports and attendance at general clinic meetings. For other meetings and the 6-hour work block, the group should keep logs on the Twiki. You should rotate who logs each meeting. Be sure to include attendance as well as tardiness.


Keeping the group's meeting logs and your weekly status reports up to date should receive very high priority.

Status reports

You must submit your own status report weekly. These will be due every Monday at midnight (exceptions when vacation is involved will be made as needed). You should maintain a wiki topic that contains your own logs (most recent entered first). These will be kept in the Wiki in the IndividualLogs topic. By using the
command, along with appropriate headings, a high-level table-of-contents of your logs will be automatically generated (use the date for each log's heading). This report is extremely important because it allows us to independently assess your performance. Please provide a comprehensive and compelling description of your efforts on clinic that week. You should shoot for several bulleted lists or paragraphs per week outlining things like: tasks you've completed that were explicitly assigned to you, tasks that you did that were not explicitly assigned, tasks that were assigned that are not yet complete (along with current progress), issues that have arisen, concerns that you have, etc. It is very important that these reports (as well as your attendance to meetings) be on-time because they directly measure your constancy as a team member. Repeatedly neglecting to turn in status reports (or having to be reminded/nagged to do so) will definitely lower your grade.

Sign-off policies

One of us must sign off on the team's oral presentations and written documents well before their final due dates. We will not be very flexible regarding deadlines, especially draft due dates. These dates are outlined in your clinic handbook; be intimately familiar with them.

Although all members are not required to speak at all presentations, each member's active participation should be evident in the presentation's content. Per presentation, we expect to attend one (or more) practice talks, the first at least two days before the actual presentation is scheduled. Furthermore, you must set up a meeting to go over your slides with one of us (or at the very least simply submit your slides for comments) at least one full day before the scheduled practice talk.

All members should attend all practice talks, even if they are not speaking. The speaker (or another member of the group) should distribute a printed set of slides for each attendee (even if you just submitted slides the day before) at the beginning of the practice talk. We expect the whole team to actively participate in improving the talk. This includes arriving on time, staying until the end, and asking good questions and making substantive comments after the talk.

Regarding written reports, each team member should significantly contribute (e.g. one reasonable model would be every member writes at least one chapter). However, the entire document should flow consistently from start to finish. This includes a standard tone, tense and writing style throughout. We will enforce these consistencies starting very early on in the writing process, so sit down and discuss these issues before you do any writing.

You must submit an outline for approval before you start writing a draft of any report. Obviously, this outline should be submitted well in advance of the draft deadline (think weeks, even months). Your outline should contain a title for each major section and subsection, as well as topic sentences or brief statements of section content whenever possible.

Regarding the final clinic deliverables, note that, although meeting the sponsor's reasonable expectations is a key concern, clinic is an educational experience. Ultimately, we are the ones that will need to approve of and sign off on your team's final deliverables.

Your input

Periodically, we will schedule individual meetings with team members so that we can chat about your clinic experience. These meetings will help us address issues or concerns you might have and will also provide us with an idea of how well your team is functioning as a group. Expect one interview per semester.

Towards the end of each semester, we will also have each of you assess your own personal contributions and the contributions of each of your colleagues. This information will be considered when we assign grades.

Project manager (PM)

The PM's key duties include: To ensure that these goals can be met, the advisors and PM will meet once a week (Meeting Schedule), typically for 1/2 hour. There, we'll review the PM's log book, and the online status reports and meeting minutes. We will also agree upon that up-coming week's work-plan. The PM will then distill the results of this meeting into a weekly task-plan, outlining each member's anticipated contributions for that week. The PM will need to maintain a task list log on the Wiki, which should be updated weekly by Wednesday at midnight.

As a result of the additional work-load that these management duties will have, the PM may not contribute as much technical content. At the same time, the PM should directly contribute to some aspect of the project's technical development. Towards this end, we recommend early on that the PM identify some well-contained piece of code to take ownership of.

Team Members

Whatever each member's relative strengths, every team member should be involved in: communicating effectively with the group, time management, technical contributions, written reports, and oral presentations. One of your most important contributions as a team member will be to provide feedback early and often: What technical aspects of the project do you most want to "own"? Do any procedures feel like "time wasting" and if so, how can these be addressed? Is there anything the PM or faculty advisors should be doing be doing differently? etc.

One of clinic's most difficult (and yet rewarding aspects) is working as a team. This becomes much easier and more fun to do if everyone is open, honest, and has their heart in the right place.

And with no more ado, lets Have Fun!