CMPT 480 / 840 Accessible Computing


Purposes of a Critique

Critiques get you thinking about the important parts of what is contained in a chapter, by getting you to go beyond what it contains. There is no need to spend class time on going over material from the chapter that everyone can get from reading the chapter. Instead, classes will be customized to focus on those topics that are of particular interest to students that discuss particular issues related to this material.

NOTE: Critiques are not book reports or summaries of the chapter or the key points in the chapter. They need to go beyond the chapter to have value.

Critiques are worth 30% of your mark in the course. They take the place of a final exam and thus are an important source of demonstrating that you have mastered the content of the course. Critiquing also provides you with practice on a very important skill that you can utilize beyond this course.

Submitting your Critique

All students are required to e-mail the instructor their critiques 

The subject of the e-mail should be "480/840 Critique for Chapter xx - your name", where  xx is the number of the chapter the critique is for (not the number of the week in course) and where you insert your own name in the subject line.

Use the critique template for formatting their critiques.

It would be appreciated if you would follow the following convention for the files you send for your weekly critique
where nn is the number of the chapter that the critique is for

Contents of a Critique

Do a critique of the readings assigned for next week's class by identifying and discussing at least five major challenges and/or opportunities.

NOTE: The focus of improvements or additions should be on the knowledge contained in the reading (and not on how to improve the reading itself) and important issues for us to discuss beyond the contents of the reading. There will be no marks for comments that are directed at the author of the text. 

Each discussion of a challenge or opportunity should contain (each of the following items of information that are identified in bold):

It is highly recommended that you use the critique template linked here to ensure that you do not miss some parts of the critique.

[Further detailed discussion of individual parts of a critique is provided below in Guidance on Creating Good Critiques.]

Each critique is marked out of 10.

Examples of strong critique items from another course include (each of these items would be worth 2 marks so 5 items of this quality would get the full 10 marks available):

1. Example of a Challenge:

Type: Challenge
Name: Accommodation vs. Accessibility
Location: Ch x.y.z title of section paragraph 2. It is said that, "Accessibility is a need and a right of all people."
Issue:  It is generally impossible to develop a system that can meet all the accessibility needs of all people.
If all people need and have a right to accessibility, there is a need to find alternatives to making systems perfectly accessible.
[an unacceptable suggestion (that will result in 0 marks for the critique item) because it is directed to the author of the chapter and not towards what we will discuss in class]
[a weak suggestion (for a 1 point critique) does not add anything beyond the basic discussion/significance and/or personal opinion]
[strong suggestions (for a 2 point critique) suggest a means of satisfying the opportunity]

2. Example of an Opportunity:

Type: Opportunity
Name: Diverse Systems
Location: a.b.c title of section this section focuses on computers, tablets and mobile phones
Issue:  There are an increasing number of devices (such as smart appliances and Internet of Things (IoT) devices) which are also part of ICT and which have similar accessibility need.
Diverse users have accessibility needs of increasingly diverse types of ICT devices. It is also important to provide these diverse users with consistent accessibility across devices.
[an unacceptable suggestion (that will result in 0 marks for the critique item) because it just repeats what the discussion/significance said]
[a weak suggestion (for a 1 point critique) because it is a personal opinion that is not supported.]
[strong suggestions (for a 2 point critique) provides a justification for why the idea is being challenged]

Please remember: Good critique items are intended to take us beyond the paper. It is essential that you all read all of this web page and understand what is required of a critique before you do your critique.

Subject of the Critiques

Chapters 3 -12 all have the same format (where X is the chapter number, and the following are sections within the chapter)
X.1 states the accessibility principle, which provides the scope for the chapter

X.2 provides a brief background as to where the accessibility principle came from

X.3 is the main content related to the principle that was created for the chapter

X.4 provides information that elaborates the accessibility principle
X.4.1.1 provides information on specific user accessibility needs related to the principle - these user accessibility needs attempt to be comprehensive
While X.3 provides discussions related to many of these user accessibility needs, it is not organized according to these needs and might not cover all needs.
X.4.1.2 provides references to various international standards that provide guidance related to the principle
This is general guidance, and is not intended to provide references to individual research papers, which are more appropriately discussed in X.3
X.4.2 discusses questions that could aid in applying the principle and some of the user accessibility needs
The discussion of these questions attempts to provide guidance on how to investigate various user accessibility needs.

X.5 provides suggestions for Accessibility Demonstration Experiences that can help you to internalize the principle and that are generally the basis for the assignments

Only sections X.3 and X.4 of each chapter are eligible as subjects for a critique.
Good critique items relating to "X.3 Understanding the Principle" could be focused on
Good critique items relating to "X.4.1.1 User Needs Related to the Principle" could be focused on
Good critique items relating to "X.4.2 Questions to Aid in Applying the Principle" could be focused on

Guidance on Creating Good Critiques

Remember the purpose of the critique

Critiques are intended to help us to discuss the topic of the week

This means that comments of an editorial nature are not applicable: critiques should be about important points that are worth discussing in class.

Critiques are not summaries of the chapter

It is expected that we all know what the chapter said. Please focus on challenges and opportunities.
Critiques (including challenges) are not just negative criticism

Negative criticism just aims to tear something down by finding problems / faults. It is easy to do since we live in an imperfect world.

Positive criticism starts with finding problems but then goes on to find solutions. It helps to make the world a better place.

Critiquing is important

Critiquing helps to develop critical thinking, which is especially important in the development of new / improved systems.

Remember: Critiques are a major component in this course. While it is often possible to come up with a number of good critique items from your own experience, it is also expected that you will do further research if necessary to learn about the material. In addition to using Google and Wikipedia for fast answers, Google Scholar is a good source of information on scholarly papers that could provide further information. However when you use Google Scholar, many of the papers it finds cannot be directly downloaded. You then need to login to the UofS library with your NSID and either search for an online version of the journal or search in one of the publisher databases. The databases most likely to have material of interest to us are:

A procedure for developing critiques

That means that you first have to understand the chapter. Here is a suggested procedure:
Throughout the process it is important to keep in mind accessibility and the  topic of the chapter. 
Critiques need to avoid repeating ideas from previous chapters or getting sidetracked into general usability issues and forgetting about accessibility.
  1. Read through the chapter once, noting possible challenges or opportunities. 
    1. You could do this by using a highlighting sections or starting to fill the identification section in a number of critique templates. 
    2. Don't go any further until you have gone through the entire chapter (as the item you are concerned about might be discussed further later).
    3. And don't limit yourself to the first five issues you encounter.
  2.  Evaluate the quality of your potential critique items, reviewing what the topic of the chapter is  about. 
    1. Don't just pick the first five that you though of, especially if they are all in the background section (x.2) of the chapter. 
    2. This doesn't mean that you can't use background material in a chapter as a source of a critique, if you have an important critique item to discuss, it just means that you should also consider the rest of the chapter and focus your critique on sections after the first two (as discussed above in subjects of the Critique)
  3. Now go through the chapter a second time, and fully develop your critique items as you go. 
    1. Use the critique template to create a critique in Word or rtf format.
    2. Be sure that you put appropriate answers in each of the identification, significance, and suggestions sections of the critique.
    3. Follow the guidance from this Web page to make sure that you have answered each of these with the type of answers that I will be looking for.
    4. Remember that you are to go beyond the chapter, so if you don't have personal experience to help you do this, you might need to do a little on-line research to develop a suitable suggestion.
  4. Finally, you should look over all your critique items, before submitting your critique. 
    1. Check that the items are good and well worded, and revise if necessary.
    2. Check that you have put suitable information in each of the parts of each critique item.
    3. Check that multiple items don't say substantially the same thing, and if they do combine them into a single item. 
    4. Check that you have enough good points ( 5 is the minimum for full marks). 
  5. Make any necessary revisions before handing your critique in
Remember, I won't be auditing that you followed this procedure, but I will be evaluating the quality of your critiques, whatever procedure you follow.

Remember the data structure of a critique

It can be more difficult to put data into a set of attributes than the data structure developer first expected, especially where you don't take into account how the attributes will be used. So here's some insight on the use of each component of the critique.

Name: - is something that we can use as a primary key. It can give me an idea of what your critique item is about. I can use it to provide you feedback on your critique items.

Type: Opportunity/Challenge - these are the only two allowable values. It is important that your suggestion is consistent with this type. You might want to reevaluate your type once you have completed the critique item.

Location: I use this to find the appropriate location(s) in the chapter.
Issue:  This involves explaining what led you to identifying this opportunity or challenge and then briefly stating what is missing or incorrect. 
Significance: this is largely intended to get you to be sure that your opportunity or challenge is significant. 
Suggestion: This is the main point of doing a critique. If you don't make a good suggestion you will only get one point out of a possible two.

If you didn't like/understand the chapter, you might want to find an alternate viewpoint

Sometimes, it is easier to understand some points in the chapter if you put them into context by also considering other author's viewpoints. (While this is not required or expected, it might be of interest or of use to some of you on occasions where you are having major difficulties with some content.) You can also search for other papers on the topic to help you get an understanding of the general area. If you find a good paper, please let me know. If you find ideas that directly relate to those in the assigned paper, they may suggest some good critique items.

Avoid the following problems in your critiques

The following are a collection of problems that have been accumulated from previous classes:

Copyright 2012, 2019 - Jim A Carter Jr