Feedback & Response

Some weeks have passed since the submission of the prospectus and pitch presentation and results and feedback have arrived from Sweii. I will make it clear at this point that I have little regard for actual grade and percentages, but more focus on the project itself and bettering it in any way based on personal discovery and external opinions.

Here I would like to address concerns and criticisms of my prospectus and identify what I did wrong, what was not clear, and solutions to these problems.

I was unclear on the level of academic basis of the prospectus and pitch presentation
Prior to submission, I asked around to try to clarify how academic the document and presentation had to be. I concluded from what I sourced that these requirements were based more on convincing clients rather than building academic arguments. This was a misjudging on my part. If I were to redo it today I think I would be much more academic in my content, not only because of the feedback, but because my experiences over the past few weeks have made me prefer academic arguments over wow factor.

One element of the module that confused not only myself but also a number of my classmates was the first half that included Jason’s lessons. These lessons were meant to improve our presentation skills and to prepare us for the expectations of external and industry guests. Unfortunately, I find that it did not steer us in the direction intended. Jason often references Steve Jobs, who occasionally, but not often, brought up statistical data or academic justifications. This gave the majority of us in the class the impression that the presentation and supporting document should have more focus on aesthetic, user experience, and wow factor, neglecting the importance of academic and factual reasonings.

Despite my efforts to remain logical, I couldn’t help but feel a little peeved at the line from the feedback, “the content lack (sic) knowledge of real referencing and academic study”. The case was not that I lacked knowledge of it, but that I was under somewhat of a false impression as to the purpose and intended methodology of the prospectus and pitch presentation. I realise the problem and what went wrong; the fault lies on my shoulders too, so in future, this should not be the case.

The desire for local examples and studies
This was part of the feedback elaborated with this line, “there would be plenty of local examples of e-learning studies published to create awareness and identify content gap to find opportunity for innovative solution.” Considering the desire for academic justifications, and the line, “it sound (sic) like speculation of a problem from His (sic) opinion and own personal experience”, this request lacks the understanding of how badly the Ministry of Education understands modern learning processes.

I spent the entire semester looking for local studies published on the topic but all that I found were severely outdated compared to international studies. The new education blueprint from the Ministry of Education that prioritises technology in education was only released 1 week ago, and there is still minimal understanding presented by the Ministry on the topic. You will find in chapter 6, page 20-24, of the preliminary blueprint, that the improvements they have planned cover 4G Internet access, low-end computers, smartphones and tablet devices with no specified software, and training of teachers in ICT. The document proceeds to talk about international research. All local studies are pending the future, made clear with lines such as:
“the Ministry will review the current procurement process…”
“the Ministry will study additional opportunities to transform ICT usage in the classroom…”
“The review will be conducted…”

In the future, there may be more accurate and substantial local studies on the effects of interactive digital media on the education of Malaysian highschoolers, but as of today, there is little worth mentioning. The state of Malaysian education is deteriorating for a reason, and it is deteriorating, demonstrated in the Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS) 2007. At the eighth grade level of the TIMSS evaluation, Malaysia plunged from No. 10 placing in mathematics in TIMSS 2003 to No. 20 placing in TIMSS 2007, dropping a hefty 45 score points from 519 points in 1999, 508 in 2003 to 474 in 2007 (500 is the TIMSS mathematics scale average), putting us behind countries such as Lithuania (10), Czech Republic (11), Slovenia (12), and Armenia (13).

Lacking content specifications
Also, I notice the issue of content coming up many times.
“Also, Methods (sic) and content matter used to test this app needs to be identified further”
“Lacking of materials to show the scope and structure of the content used in the proposed demo application – how much content are (sic) there for 2 chapters?”
“…content flow chart or structure.”
I thought it was clear that my project has nothing to do with the creation of content and I will be reproducing content directly based on a form 5 textbook. I covered this in my pitch presentation, but I admit, it was not 100% clear in my prospectus. Looking over my documentation, I never conclusively defined what the content of The Interactive Textbook was going to be, though I thought I had, as it was so clear in my mind. This will be something I will be defining soon, as I don’t want to make this mistake again.

Visual demonstration of application
“Actual visual interface and step-by-step walk through could have been used to fully and clearly demonstrate how the proposed approach…”
Although I did not do a step-by-step walkthrough, I did display and explain each of the actual visual interface designs that I created. The interfaces I designed covered all features intended for implementation and I described them and pointed them out. What I did was not as detailed or clear as it should have been, but I feel like it counts for more than what was mentioned as I did present ‘actual visual interface’. This is something I intend to work on in future presentations. The example of Kickstarter is a good one, and I hope in future projects, my demonstrations would be more impressive and convincing.