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  • Daniel J. King

Dissertation Blog #9

I got a lot of good thinking done this morning. I woke up at 5:00 a.m. with anxiety about the election two months away, so I went walking around the neighborhood for about 90 minutes in the early-morning darkness.


Whatever results from the election, I want my dissertation work to make a positive difference in the world. My goal is to make a mobile game called Field of Cures, and have it raise money for a organization like the American Academy for the Advancement of Science.


I spent most of this morning pondering the UCF Computer Science Senior Design program and how it may figure in my dissertation project.


At the highest level, my project proceeds thus:

  1. Make a construction kit to use for a participatory design workshop

  2. Run the participatory design study

  3. Expand and revise the game design based on the study results

  4. Develop Field of Cures

In class, I have brought up my worry about all the programming I have to do to make Field of Cures and my uncertainty over what goal I should set for my dissertation project to make it feasible.


When my classmates suggested pitching my project to UCF Computer Science Senior Design program, it was tantalizing to consider that they could do step 1 for me, the construction kit. But I realized today that this doesn't really make sense. These students are looking for a meaningful, professional-level project that will occupy them for a year. They want a client asking for a well-defined product, not a grad student asking for something slightly more advanced than a paper prototype.


It makes much more sense to pitch the project to senior design students at step 4, the development of the full game as an app that can be sold on app stores. That would be a better use of their time and talent and a bigger help to me.


Based on this conclusion, I have resolved that I will be the one to make the construction kit (which was the original plan, anyway). It makes no sense to try to prototype my idea on paper, so I just have to suck it up and continue learning to code on my own, for the time being.


A sketch of a timeline:


Academic Year 4

  • Fall 2020: Complete Dissertation Design class, design construction kit, learn GML

  • Spring 2021: Pass candidacy exams, write prospectus, pseudo-code construction kit

Academic Year 5

  • Fall 2021: Defend prospectus, get IRB approval, develop construction kit

  • Spring 2022: Run participatory design study, design Field of Cures, prepare pitch for CS Senior Design program

Academic Year 6

  • Fall 2022: Write dissertation, pitch Field of Cures to CS Senior Design program

  • Spring 2023: Defend dissertation

The key here is that the dissertation ends with at step 3, the design. It may include a chapter on step 4, the implementation, but this is a stretch goal.

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