Problem Solving Project
You will research (part A) a specific problem, and a way to address that problem with
computer technology. You will then create a handout (part B) about the problem, a
presentation (part C) about the technology, and a spreadsheet (part D) showing monetary
or time considerations involved in the problem or the use of the technology.
Note that the ban on direct quoting of text from any source does1 apply to this project.
You may work alone or in groups of up to 3 on this assignment; all group members
should participate in all parts.
Part A – Concepts / Research [20%] Choose some specific problem which affects a subset of people, but not all people. It can
be one that affects you, or only one that you are interested in. Research the problem itself.
Then choose some computer technology that solves, helps with, or in some way
addresses the problem, and research that. This technology may be hardware, software, or
Here are a few examples2
missing medication deliveries which require signatures due to limited mobility,
addressed with a smart doorbell
difficulty reading text due to dyslexia, addressed with a browser plug-in that uses
a specially designed font
difficulty affording prosthetics for a growing child, addressed with a 3-D printer
inability to use a standard game controller, addressed with a chin- or eye-based
Choose a specific, real problem which affects the lives of some people, but not everyone.
Choose a specific, real technology that is available for purchase/use. A technology that
combines hardware, software, and networking would be acceptable, but you need only
1 Claiming that you read this as “doesn’t” will not save you. Copied text -100%. No excuses.
2 These are only examples, you can choose another problem and technology that interests you.
The technology you choose must address the specifics of the problem in some way, not
just make someone’s life more pleasant in a way that could apply to anyone. For
example, a tablet computer to deal with boredom during chemotherapy would not be an
appropriate choice, since it could be used to deal with anybody’s boredom in any
The technology need not have been designed to address this problem, but if it involves a
modification or hack of an off-the-shelf technology, a lot of your focus should be on that
Make sure that you choose a problem and technology that provide you enough to work
with so that you can fill the requirements of the rest of the project.
About the problem I would expect you to include information such as:
Who is affected by this problem?
What causes it?
What impact does the problem have on their lives?
What strategies, other than adopting the technology, are used to deal with it?
Are there other technologies used to deal with this problem?
How would the people affected use the technology you are presenting?
About the technology I would expect you to include information such as
What does it do?
How does it address this problem?
How does it work?
What is the interface like? Do you need special training to use it?
What are the costs?
What are the drawbacks?
The grade for part A will be based on your presentation of this data in the rest of the
project. The more specific the better. Include a list of your sources in one of your
Part B – Word [30%] Create a 2 full page3
(not fewer or more) document in Word that describes the problem
you have chosen.
This document is not intended to be an essay or paper, but the kind of attractive handout
you would give someone who was interested and wanted to learn more.
3 So, your content should fill from top to bottom of two pages viewed in Word.
This document is on the same topic but not directly related to the presentation in part C.
In this part, you are presenting primarily information about the problem to people who
are not familiar with it. You should also briefly introduce the technology.
Use your Word skillz to make good use of the two pages of space without having to write
too much text. Part of the credit for this document will be for the overall design and
Your document must include at least 5 of the following:
More than one font
Other text formatting such as bold, italic, etc.
At least two images
A bulleted or numbered list
A footnote or endnote
A header or footer
These should be used appropriately to present your content. Credit would not, for
example, be given for a table just used to put a decorative box around text or to make
columns (which would instead be done using actual Word columns).
Part C – PowerPoint [30%] Create a 5-7 (not fewer or more) slide PowerPoint presentation as if you are trying to
convince a group of people that the technology you researched is a good choice for
dealing with the problem.
This presentation is on the same general topic but does not cover the same material as the
document in part B. In this part, you are presenting information about the technology in
detail to people who already know about the problem. You can imagine that these are
people affected by the problem, or people who might contribute time or money to getting
the technology into the hands of those who need it.
In your presentation, use
fonts and other text formatting
at least two images
Do not include audio or video.
Part D [20%] Create an Excel spreadsheet that covers monetary or time issues related to the problem
and the technology you chose. The items to include will depend on your topic.
Here are some possibilities to consider:
o how many people affected
o how often it affects them
losses caused by the problem
o money necessary for other strategies to deal with the problem, such as
o lost money, including income, due to the un-addressed problem
o lost time, due to the un-addressed problem
o costs of damage caused by the problem
o costs of medical problems caused or exacerbated by the problem
costs of the technology itself
o buying or renting hardware
o software licensing
o extra needed hardware such as connection cables or adapters, or upgrades
to existing hardware to allow more complex software to run
o installation fees
o salary for trained operators
o monthly internet access costs needed
o consumable resources such as batteries, ink cartridges, etc
o maintenance or update costs
o helpline or support fees
o training costs
o costs of modifications or hacks required
o how long the technology lasts
effects of adopting the technology
o how often it can be used
o monetary costs it helps reduce or eliminate
o time costs it helps reduce or eliminate
o savings compared to other comparable technologies
Not all of these will apply to all situations. You should include all that apply for your
topic. These must be real numbers, and you should include somewhere the source where
you found them.
If there is another type of numerical data related to your topic that you would like to use
in a spreadsheet unrelated to money or time, please see me to discuss.
You must have at least 5 items (individual numbers). Put individual amounts in clearly
Include one of the following:
A single cell with a formula for some overall result based on combining at least
three of your numbers, for instance the total cost for one person adopting the
technology for a year, the projected savings in medical costs if everyone affected
adopted the technology, etc… The formula must be written so that it would
update if the other cells were changed.
Or, a meaningful graph or chart illustrating some or all of your data.
In your spreadsheet, use appropriately:
fonts and other text formatting
cell formatting (shading, outlines, etc)
numerical formatting (percentage, dollar, etc)
Credit will only be given for using these appropriately.
Turning in the Project
You may work alone or in groups of up to 3 on this project. Even if working alone you
will need to join a “group” by yourself in Blackboard to turn in the assignment.
Turn in your project through Blackboard by attaching all documents (Presentation, Word
Document, and Spreadsheet) to a single submission. Do not zip or otherwise reformat
your documents. If your files do not display correctly in Blackboard4
and open directly5
in the appropriate Office 2013 programs on an HCC machine, you will not receive credit.