The system under study is My SylViA, the data-entry portion of SylViA, the Syllabus Viewing Application. SylViA is a model-based application for managing and displaying syllabus information; it is being developed by Carolyn Cracraft and Lisa de Larios-Heiman as their SIMS masters project, with Sarai Mitnick as a much-appreciated member of the My SylViA UI design team.
My SylViA allows professors and TA's to set up syllabi by entering course information, class information, assignments, and exams. The UI has been developed with user-centric design techniques, iterating through a paper-prototype, an initial computerized prototype, and an heuristic evaluation. The version of My SylViA being tested in this study is a second interactive prototype, developed based on feedback from the three earlier stages. We feel that the major portions of the UI and workflow are fairly well-established, and with this study we hope to pinpoint areas for further refinement. Particularly, we are interested in our users being comfortable and experiencing a minimum of anxiety during the syllabus editing process. We are fairly confident in the basic functionality of the application, but there are areas, particularly the transition between initial course setup and the main editing process, as well as moving classes and readings, where we feel the process could be smoother and better explained. So we will be looking for ways that our UI can guide our users comfortably through these sticky areas.