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Catalogue Description

Academy capstone experience, innovative projects leading to operational prototypes and viable enterprises, mentored by faculty and industry experts.

This capstone course comprises exploration, experimentation, and self-directed work on projects assigned in Academy courses. The course also includes labs, workshops, demos, and formative and summative critiques that students will propose and help structure. The Garage is a unique state-of-the-art facility with cutting-edge technology and mentored support. Students will build skills to develop innovative project proposals and produce operational prototypes. They have access to cutting edge hardware, software and mechanical tools for the production of prototypes, promotional materials and the development of professional presentations. Faculty from a variety of disciplines, industry experts and visionaries, and peer mentors will work with students to help them conceptualize their ideas and test their work with authentic audiences and consumers. Students will have an opportunity to “pitch” their ideas to potential employers, patrons, sponsors, and/or funding entities.

In Garage Experience I, taught in the fall semester, students will focus on in-depth development of multidisciplinary, team-based projects, culminating in a working prototype or finished product, service, or process. In Garage Experience II, taught in the spring semester, students will finalize their projects and will “pitch” their idea to potential employers, patrons, sponsors or funding entities.

Learning Outcomes
By the completion of this course, students will be able to

  1. Fabricate products and plan and launch services, and articulate processes
  2. Communicate ideas using multiple modalities including time-based and static images and graphical representations
  3. Facilitate and glean data from focus groups
  4. Develop market-vetted promotional and educational materials
  5. Understand the concepts behind supply chain theory and application
  6. Prepare a financial pro forma to inform business decisions

Course Notes

Prerequisite(s): ACAD 377a, 377b
Co-Requisite(s): none
Concurrent Enrollment: none
Recommended Preparation: Other Academy coursework.
**Other: ** Students will work, solo or in teams, with faculty project advisors, course instructors, and other expert consultants, as appropriate. Class meets twice weekly in the Garage, but some teams may convene off-site or in other workspaces some of the time.

Technological Proficiency and Hardware/Software Required

Varies by project.

Required Readings and Supplementary Materials

Varies by project.

Description and Assessment of Assignments

Primary work for the course is the conceptualization, planning, and execution of an innovation project approved in advance by Academy faculty.

55 percent of course grade based on final "product" and 3 critiques by panel of faculty graded on A (excellent), B (good), C (satisfactory), F (unsatisfactory) scale:

  • Midterm faculty critique of presentation of problem reformulation (week 5)
  • Midterm faculty critique of presentation of "deliverable 0" (week 9)
  • Final faculty critique of presentation and product at semester's end (week 15)

Additional work product and process graded by instructors and project advisors includes: (1) research plan and memo; (3) weekly journey blog; (4) professionalism, attendance, participation, project management, and collegial contributions

Grading Breakdown
The grading for the Garage Experience course has two components:

  • Deliverables/Artifacts/Outputs 80%
  • Process 20%
What % of Course Grade Graded by
Deliverables/Artifacts/Outputs (80%)
End of year product 20% Faculty
End of year presentation 20% Faculty
Milestone 4 Deliverables 10% Advisor
Milestone 3 Deliverables 10% Advisor
Mid-semester demo day 10% Faculty
Milestone 2 Deliverables 10% Advisor
Process (20%)
Participation in collective creative process 10% Instructors
Advisor Checkins, etc. 10% Advisors

Grading Scales and Assignment Rubrics

The grading scales for the Garage Experience assignments are shown below.

Deliverables/Artifacts/Outputs (80%)
What % of Course Grade Graded by Level of Achievement Grade
End of year product 20% Faculty Excellent. The "product" is a high quality version of what it is supposed to be (we delivered what we said we would deliver or this is obviously a superior alternative). Strong evidence of iterative improvements and strong demonstration of Academy skills in the creation of the thing itself. A
Good: The "product" is a good version of what it is supposed to be (we delivered what we said we would deliver), professionally acceptable in the context. Evidence of iterative improvements and demonstration of Academy skills in the creation of the thing itself. B
Satisfactory: The "product" is a version it is supposed to be or a reasonable variation. It may want for more iterative improvements that we see here. There is less of a demonstration of Academy skills in the creation of the thing itself than we would hope for. C
Unsatisfactory: The "product" falls short of what was expected. The iterative improvements from earlier versions are hard to discern. There real questions of how Academy skills are evidenced in the creation of the thing itself. F
End of year presentation 20% Faculty Excellent: Top notch presentation and delivery. Both stand out as evidence of what IYA training yields. All the messaging and info that needs to be here. Audience gets it. Questions handled professionally. A
Good: Solid presentation and delivery with only minor shortcomings. Some IYA criticisms may be warranted, but overall a demonstration of Academy training. Messaging and info mostly on the mark. Good audience response. Questions handled competently. B
Satisfactory: Presentation and delivery good but with flaws. Some IYA criticisms may be warranted, but overall a demonstration of Academy training. Messaging and info mostly on the mark. Audience response might be subpar, questions could be handled better. C
Unsatisfactory: Presentation and/or delivery not acceptable at this stage of training. Messaging and info confusing. Audience perplexed or questions handled poorly. F
Milestone 4 deliverables 10% Advisors/Instructors Excellent: as good or better than expected; objectives met; high marks for learning and professionalism; deliverables position us nicely for next phase of development A
Good: all deliverables delivered; some objectives not met; room for improvement on learning and professionalism; deliverables position us nicely for next phase of development B
Satisfactory: most deliverables delivered; some objectives not met; room for improvement on learning and professionalism; some concern about next phase of development C
Unsatisfactory: Deliverables suggest failure to execute on plans F
Midterm demo day 10% Faculty Excellent: Well chosen object for demo; strong presentation that conveys learning/progress that produced the object AND what kind of feedback you want to elicit to help you iterate forward; good evidence of real progress over the course of the semester so far; solid handling of Q&A. A
Good: Well chosen object for demo; presentation that conveys learning/progress that produced the object OR what kind of feedback you want to elicit to help you iterate forward; evidence of progress over the course of the semester so far; OK handling of Q&A. B
Satisfactory: Perhaps some questions about why this demo; presentation is communicative but audience left without sense of learning/progress that produced the object and/or what kind of feedback you want to elicit to help you iterate forward; evidence of progress over the course of the semester so far; OK handling of Q&A. C
Unsatisfactory: Demo poorly communicates progress to date and trajectory forward F
Milestone 3 deliverables 10% Advisors/Instructors Excellent: as good or better than expected; objectives met; high marks for learning and professionalism; deliverables position us nicely for next phase of development A
Good: all deliverables delivered; some objectives not met; room for improvement on learning and professionalism; deliverables position us nicely for next phase of development B
Satisfactory: most deliverables delivered; some objectives not met; room for improvement on learning and professionalism; some concern about next phase of development C
Unsatisfactory: Deliverables suggest failure to execute on plans F
Milestone 2 deliverables 10% Advisors/Instructors Excellent: as good or better than expected; objectives met; high marks for learning and professionalism; deliverables position us nicely for next phase of development A
Good: all deliverables delivered; some objectives not met; room for improvement on learning and professionalism; deliverables position us nicely for next phase of development B
Satisfactory: most deliverables delivered; some objectives not met; room for improvement on learning and professionalism; some concern about next phase of development C
Unsatisfactory: Deliverables suggest failure to execute on plans F
Process (20%)
Participation in collective creative process 10% Instructors Excellent. Active, professional, positive participation in "pods" and workshops; exercises completed on time and well; evidence of contributions to classmates' projects; openness to collegial input and feedback; positive professionalism throughout. A
Good. Participation in "pods" and workshops; exercises completed on time or well; hints of contributions to classmates' projects; openness to collegial input and feedback; mostly positive professionalism throughout. B
Satisfactory. Perfunctory participation; exercises completed; more present than absent in collective process. C
Unsatisfactory. F
Advisor Checkins, etc. 10% Advisors/Instructors Excellent. Professionalism in advisor relationship - communication, punctuality, etc. per advisor; time reports (WDTTG) and process blog (or equivalent) submitted regularly to advisor/instructors; milestone deliverables negotiated well in advance of deadlines, advisor kept in the loop (rather than having to track team down for updates), etc. A
Good. All boxes on the advisor check in checklist are checked, but falls short of description under "excellent." B
Just satisfactory. Teams don't disappear but advisor has to the the work of keeping you on track, figuring out what's going on, etc. C
Unsatisfactory. You skip meetings unannounced. You go AWOL. Milestone deliverables changed at the last minute. Unprofessional behavior. F

Assignment Submission Policy

Weekly checkins with faculty project advisor (including hours report) to be completed by 5pm Friday of each week) submitted via mechanism agreed to with project advisor and instructor. Journey blog update due Saturday 11:59 p.m. submitted via Slack. Prototypes, presentations and critiques per syllabus schedule.

Grading Timeline

This course features continuous feedback from instructors, project advisors, mentors, and peers. Feedback on written work and ongoing work performance from instructors and project advisors. Feedback and grading of presentations by panel of faculty and/or outside experts. All intermediate grades will be posted within one week of due date.

Additional Policies

Course schedule indicates sessions and events for which attendance is mandatory. Students are expected to be punctual to all sessions and events.

Course Structure
This course meets formally for 200 minutes, twice a week with the expectation of an additional 16 hours of outside work per week. Most classroom time is dedicated to project work — exploration, experimentation, research, and self-directed work on projects that build on previous Academy courses. The course also includes labs, workshops, demos, and formative and summative critiques designed in conjunction with members of the class. A general framework of major milestones and objectives and key results will be adapted to individual projects.

The default participation expectations is that students use class time not allocated to critiques or group activities to work in the Garage on individual projects.

Academic Conduct

Plagiarism – presenting someone else’s ideas as your own, either verbatim or recast in your own words – is a serious academic offense with serious consequences. Please familiarize yourself with the discussion of plagiarism in SCampus in Part B, Section 11, “Behavior Violating University Standards” policy.usc.edu/scampus-part-b. Other forms of academic dishonesty are equally unacceptable. See additional information in SCampus and university policies on scientific misconduct, http://policy.usc.edu/scientific-misconduct.

Support Systems

Student Counseling Services (SCS) – (213) 740-7711 – 24/7 on call
Free and confidential mental health treatment for students, including short-term psychotherapy, group counseling, stress fitness workshops, and crisis intervention. engemannshc.usc.edu/counseling

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline – 1 (800) 273-8255
Provides free and confidential emotional support to people in suicidal crisis or emotional distress 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. www.suicidepreventionlifeline.org

Relationship and Sexual Violence Prevention Services (RSVP) – (213) 740-4900 – 24/7 on call
Free and confidential therapy services, workshops, and training for situations related to gender-based harm. engemannshc.usc.edu/rsvp

Sexual Assault Resource Center
For more information about how to get help or help a survivor, rights, reporting options, and additional resources, visit the website: sarc.usc.edu

Office of Equity and Diversity (OED)/Title IX Compliance – (213) 740-5086
Works with faculty, staff, visitors, applicants, and students around issues of protected class. equity.usc.edu

Bias Assessment Response and Support
Incidents of bias, hate crimes and microaggressions need to be reported allowing for appropriate investigation and response. studentaffairs.usc.edu/bias-assessment-response-support

The Office of Disability Services and Programs
Provides certification for students with disabilities and helps arrange relevant accommodations. dsp.usc.edu

Student Support and Advocacy – (213) 821-4710
Assists students and families in resolving complex issues adversely affecting their success as a student EX: personal, financial, and academic. studentaffairs.usc.edu/ssa

Diversity at USC
Information on events, programs and training, the Diversity Task Force (including representatives for each school), chronology, participation, and various resources for students. diversity.usc.edu

USC Emergency Information
Provides safety and other updates, including ways in which instruction will be continued if an officially declared emergency makes travel to campus infeasible. emergency.usc.edu

USC Department of Public Safety – UPC: (213) 740-4321 – HSC: (323) 442-1000 – 24-hour emergency or to report a crime.
Provides overall safety to USC community. dps.usc.edu

Schedule

Weekly Schedule

Each student or team will develop a work plan that articulates with a common framework of milestones at weeks 2, 5, 9, 11, and 15 and includes a set of team-defined objectives and observable results. Additional formative assessments of work in progress will be scheduled with instructors, course and peer mentors, and outside consultants.

PLEASE NOTE: Faculty project advisor check ins and Milestone meetings are scheduled, by default, on Wednesdays but each team/advisor will arrange these by mutual convenience. Attendance at all these meetings is mandatory so please schedule wisely. Course instructors will look for updates weekly so meetings should happen before Friday 5 p.m.

NOTE: Final presentations to be scheduled during USC exam week, May 2-9, 2018. Remember that university policy says "No student is permitted to omit or take early a final examination and no instructor is authorized to permit a student to do so. Students should plan in advance to avoid scheduling conflicts in their final examinations." Exam slots for this course fall on 5/2, 5/4, and 5/7.

Phase I Flight Plan

1

Monday 1/8


Faculty:

Wednesday 1/10


Faculty:

Faculty:

2

Monday 1/15

What's Due
Nothing

Wednesday 1/17


Faculty:

Phase II Taking Off and Reaching Altitude

3

Monday 1/22


Faculty:

Faculty: DR SB

4

Monday 1/29


Faculty: DR SB

Faculty: DR SB

Wednesday 1/31


Faculty: DR SB

5

Monday 2/5


Faculty: DR SB

Faculty: DR SB

Wednesday 2/7


Faculty: DR SB

Phase III Cruising Altitude

6

Monday 2/12


Faculty: DR SB

Faculty: DR SB

Wednesday 2/14


Faculty: DR SB

7

Monday 2/19

What's Due
Nothing

Wednesday 2/21


Faculty: DR SB

8

Monday 2/26


Faculty: DR SB

Faculty:

Wednesday 2/28


Faculty:

9

Monday 3/5


Faculty: ALL

Wednesday 3/7


Faculty: ALL

Phase IV Descent

10

Monday 3/19


Faculty: DR SB

Faculty:

Faculty: DR SB

Wednesday 3/21


Faculty: DR SB

11

Monday 3/26


Faculty: DR SB

Faculty: DR SB

12

Monday 4/2


Faculty: DR SB

Wednesday 4/4


Faculty: DR SB

13

Monday 4/9


Faculty: DR SB

Faculty:

Faculty: DR SB

Wednesday 4/11


Faculty: DR SB

Phase V Landing This Thing

14

Monday 4/16


Faculty:

Faculty: DR SB

Faculty: DR SB

Wednesday 4/18


Faculty:

Faculty: DR SB

15

P1

Monday 4/30

What's Due

Wednesday 5/2

What's Due

P2

Monday 5/7

What's Due

Wednesday 5/9

What's Due