MBS UXD Practicum Students Shape Future of Teaching Licensure with ETS

By: Alexis Polanco, Jr. (AJ)

As the final course in the MBS UXD Concentration, the UXD Practicum gives our students a chance to work as a team and learn from industry leaders. From this course, students feel empowered to tackle new challenges and gain confidence in their craft.

This past summer, our UXD Practicum students partnered with Educational Testing Services (ETS) in developing the next pilot of their ETS® NOTE Assessment. Using a tablet interface, teachers are placed in a digital classroom simulation and are tasked with instructing student avatars. Over the course of three months, six MBS students worked with ETS Business and Application Design teams to improve NOTE’s visual design, hardware, accessibility, and more. 

Team LoPrestiSuPark (LSP) presenting their findings
Left to right: Stan Su, Julie Park, Nick LoPresti​

After travelling to ETS to see a demonstration of NOTE, the students broke up into two teams to tackle different aspects of the assessment. Team LoPrestiSuPark focused on visual design and hardware budget. Team ALR Consulting focused on accessibility; or the study and practice of improving the usability of applications, products and services for those with cognitive, physical, or other disabilities.

Alvin Lin reviewing Team ALR’s findings, upon completion of their Design Sprint 2.

The teams presented their final findings on August 11th, and their input was greatly appreciated by Educational Testing Services. They look to incorporate the feedback into their next pilot of NOTE, as the company works towards building market adoption in the teaching licensure space. Be on the lookout for more things to come, as the educational space is poised for massive pedagogical shifts in the next 3-5 years.

As always, the MBS faculty and alumni are always proud of the great work and effort that our students put forth. My co-instructor, David Ogunrinde, and myself were honored to work with these students and will always vouch for them as they continue with their professional and personal lives after the MBS UXD program.

Team ALR smiling during their presentation to ETS, after a job well done
Left to right: Louis Maldonado, Roy Chao, Shih-Yen Lin (“Alvin”)

Team LSP’s presentation can be found here:


Meet the students (Class of 2017)

Connect with them on LinkedIn!

Team LSP:

Nicholas LoPresti (Nick) – Project Analyst at Wakefern Food Corporation

Stan Su – Application Developer at Rutgers University

Julie Park – CRM Specialist and UXD Intern at Rutgers DoCS

Team ALR:

Alvin Lin (Shih-Yen Lin) – Temporary Systems Analyst at Formosa Plastics USA

Louis Maldonado – Usability Specialist at Rutgers University

Roy Chao – User Support Service Specialist at Rutgers University


Special Thanks

The MBS department would like to thank the following individuals from ETS:

Laura McCracken, manager of ETS Application Design Team, for supporting this joint partnership. Laura plans on taking the MBS “UXD I - Intro to UXD” course in Summer 2018.

E. Wyatt Gordon is the Director of Product Management for the NOTE program. He joined ETS in July of 2013 as a Jumpstart Fellow. Wyatt has worked in Production and Logistics, New Product Development and the Teacher Licensure and Certification business unit. Wyatt is currently working towards his Ed.D in Digital Learning Environments at the Rutgers Graduate School of Education, with an expected graduation date of 2019.


Meet the Advisors

David Ogunrinde: David is a designer and brand strategist with over 15 years of experience in the industry, serving in every role from intern to creative director. Now he’s running Inkroots - a NY-based brand and design consultancy, that specializes in deepening brand engagement through thoughtfully designed experiences. There, David helps clients like Johnson & Johnson, NJ Department of Labor, and The Newark School of the Arts, create brand experiences that feel real, relevant, and memorable. When not teaching or designing beautiful things, David can be found conspiring with his wife Carla on new ways to color outside the lines, do inspired work, and enjoy lives that matter.

Alexis Polanco, Jr. (AJ): AJ is a Managing Partner of Always Joven LLC, and has worked as a Senior UX Architect for 6 years. Graduating from with an MBS in UXD in 2015, he now serves as Program Coordinator for the User Experience Design Program. He was worked the world’s second largest telecommunication company (Verizon), world’s largest private non-profit educational testing organization (ETS).