D&T Midterm Requirements, Spring 2020

Resubmission Update (Posted March 26): You are welcome to resubmit your midterm for re-grading. Re-grading will take place as part of final evaluations during the week of May 11. Each new point awarded will add 0.4 points to the midterm project grade.


Your Challenge: When it comes to the technology you grapple with, how might its practitioners better serve its minority stakeholders?

Due as a blog post on March 10 (I’ll check your blogs on this date)
Presentations on March 10 and 12
Revisions to your blog will be accepted until March 15
Grades will be disseminated during spring break, March 16-22. 

Written Blog Post: 1250+ word essay

Your Midterm blog post should be labeled β€œMidterm Project: [Name of your project]” and address the following points. Try to use the suggested word counts to ensure that your post is the required length.

  • Problem (50 words): What is the problem you’re trying to address? How pervasive is the problem? Cite 1-2 statistics to illustrate the problem scope. You are welcome to use the class SSI Stats Sheet for this.
  • Affected populations, salient social identities (100 words): Briefly discuss the populations and identities affected by this problem. Which group(s) are you focusing on in this project? Which group(s) count as “minorities,” and what are their social and/or economic disadvantages? Cite at least 2 statistics to define the social and/or economic disadvantages of your chosen SSI (salient social identity). You are welcome to use the class SSI Stats Sheet for this.
    • If your SSI is not a “protected identity” under New York or Federal law, please cite an additional 2 statistics (for a total of 4).
  • Relevance (50 words): Why is this problem important to the larger community of practitioners?
  • Technology background (225 words): Explain the technology briefly but comprehensively. You can use technical terminology and include citations to technical documentation (e.g. datasheets) if appropriate. Be sure to cover the basics that you explored through the blog prompt from Session 5 (WHO/WHAT/WHEN/WHERE WHY/HOW).
  • Diversity considerations (275 words): Now return to the affected populations and discuss the complex dynamics at play. Based on your research, what are the most pressing issues of bias, oppression, or any other issues named in our class Keywords doc?  (Please also review the Salient Social Identity PDF to make sure that you’re choosing a social identity, not a personal identity.)
  • Current solutions (100 words): What are practitioners of your technology (e.g. companies, organizations, avid users) doing to address the problem you defined? Which solutions worked? Which ones didn’t?
  • Your solution (200 words): Now that you’ve laid out the problem in depth, what solution(s) would you propose?
  • Interview recap (150 words): You will complete a short interview (based on our class interview guide, see Session #9 for more detail) in the lead-up to the midterm. In this interview, you will discuss your proposed solution with someone who is a minority stakeholder—that is, they are involved in the technology you chose, they understand the problem you raised, and they have the salient social identity you’re focused on. Recap this interview and discuss its 2-3 most important takeaways.
  • Conclusion: (100 words): If you were to continue working on your solution, what would be the next steps in your work plan? What are the unsolved problems?

Please also include an MLA-formatted bibliography (Works Cited List) that cites as least 3 sources, including 1 book from the class book list. Please be sure to evaluate your sources for accuracy, objectivity, and potential bias; this NYU Guide may be helpful. You are also welcome to cite other articles previously used in class, and sources from the β€œSupplemental and Possibly Recommended Books” in the class syllabus.

Add 4+ Pictures To Your Blog Post

  1. Include an image of the technology as you use it.
  2. Create an image that represents the salient social identities involved. Try to avoid stock photos. Can you find or create imagery of actual people, and actual minorities, grappling with the technology? If not, try to be creative: make a mosaic, a drawing, or something else that represents the affected populations.
  3. Create a detailed picture that represents your solution. If you’re not sure what to do, start by making a flowchart or a sketch, and then decide if you can prototype this even further into a “looks-like” or “feels-like” prototype.
  4. An image from your interview, preferably a picture or drawing of the interviewee. Be sure to obtain the interviewee’s consent for this. If this isn’t possible, use another picture that would help convey the interview context.


  • Be prepared to present your images on March 10. Each person should be prepared to present 1-2 images for a total of 3 minutes, regardless of whether you’re in a group or not.
  • We will use my computer to project your blog and images, but I’ll ask each of you to come to the front of the room to present. If you have any questions or concerns about this, please let me know.


  • Groups of 1-4 people are acceptable for the midterm. 
  • Even if you don’t prepare your project in a group, it may still be useful to have an in-class feedback partner or group for in-class activities.
  • Group work is fine for preparing:
    • Interviews
    • Pictures and prototypes
    • Background research
  • Essays must be written individually, and blog posts must be posted individually.
  • With this class’s focus on diversity, please consider the diversity of your group. (Friends getting together with similar friendseven at the school level, is one basis of homogeneity in tech companies.) Be prepared to discuss
    • The salient social identities of each group member
    • Why you consider your group to be diverse. 
    • How your group’s diversity supports the goals of the project.

And Please: Proofread!

Please don’t forget to proofread your essay for grammar and spelling. If you need help on this, please visit the NYU Tandon Writing Center and/or ask a friend to help you. Grammarly and MentorMyWriting may also be useful resources.