Master thesis

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The research institute in which I worked for more than 1 year as Research Assistant and also did my Master ThesisThe last milestone in my Master in Media Informatics is the master thesis. For me was simpler, because I liked the development on Microsoft Surface and, with Prof. Prinz’s supervision, quickly found a interesting topic: Improving the collaboration using a multitouch system (aka Microsoft Surface). The biggest risk in this is the novelty and lack of a big community where to search and find answers. The up point is that I am familiar with C#, WCF, WPF, XAML – technologies that I will use to construct the practical part of this thesis – the actual application that (hopefully) will pass users’ evaluation.

The master thesis is structured in few parts, which I will start in the next days (and along the time, when I will blog about each, I will add links):

  1. the introduction, stating the necessity of improvements in brainstorming process by using latest digital tools available
  2. already existing work done on the subject, serving as a basis for my thesis
  3. the concept described in detail, with use case the detailed conceptual requirements from a multi touch and multi user Brainstorming system
  4. the implementation of the concept (part which I love the best) – the actual creation of the application
  5. user evaluation of my work, testing that it actually improves the process 🙂
  6. conclusions and last words

My thesis starts with an introduction to the research domain stating the motivation and asking the relevant research questions.

Next, I will present the baseline and the related work gathered from research papers. The emphasis will be set on their effect on the collaboration and cooperation of teams. This chapter summarizes advantages and disadvantages of the mentioned techniques. It will finish with a global perspective over all of them in a visual representation of their feature map, allowing me to identify the missing, yet relevant features that my system proposes.

The next chapter presents my conceptual solution, which addresses the missing features. A detailed overview of the solution approach will be presented and definitions of special terms that will be used during the current paper. The reader will be then introduced to the general use case and then the use cases will be detailed to each action / feature that the prototype will implement. The next phase is the Requirement assessment, both functional and nonfunctional. Architecture that will be implemented is presented for the all the systems that compose the proposed prototype, along with the patterns used to implement them in an extensible and easy maintainable application.

The thesis continues with the proposed implementation (the concept), where the reader will be introduced to the architecture of the system, its components and the way of achieving higher collaboration in a brainstorming session. Users’ experiences are the most important for this project and thus they will evaluate the system and with their feedback the prototype will be constructed. The corresponding thesis chapter will end with a comparison between targeted features proposed and the set which was actually implemented, identifying the causes which changed the project’s plan.

The next chapter will present the evaluation of the implemented prototype. It will be composed from the theoretical evaluation, stating with the assessment of the degree in which the research questions were answered by the proposed concept. It will continue with the evaluation of user’s response to the User Evaluation Questionnaire, presenting the setup of the sessions, the hypothesis and the methodology of the evaluation session and end with the discussion regarding the participants’ responses and evaluating if the previously stated hypotheses are validated by the users.

In the last chapter, the paper presents the conclusions which arise from the entire paper and in which measure the goals set in the beginning of the work can be found and measured in the desired outcome of the thesis work. Also, all users’ requested features will be either implemented in the prototype or presented as future work for a possible continuation in another student’s master thesis.

Pretty much to do, isn’t it? Luckily, the application will not be started from the scratch, although it might be the case if I find that the actual architecture doesn’t fit the desired feature set. I hope to reuse parts from my previous application created while working for Fraunhofer FIT, IdeaPitch. This one acts as a sink for the ideas sent to a server and allows basic manipulation and saving to the CRM internally used in the Institute.

I believe that the first 3 chapters will be harder, because I have to write in the “academical” style, which I don’t like too much. But we’ll see how it goes!