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2P99/3P99/4F90 Guidelines

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COSC 2P99 / 3P99 / 4F90 Project Courses

This is the website for computer science project courses - COSC 2P99, 3P99 and 4F90. The intent of these courses is to help prepare you for future large scale projects; both in terms of workplace as well as those considering a Masters degree.

1. Introduction

These notes refer to the organization and evaluation of COSC 2P99, 3P99 and 4F90, being the half-credit and the full-credit project courses for individual students, correspondingly. One of the purposes of the project courses is to assess whether a senior student can work independently towards the delivery of a major piece of work. Each project is supervised by one faculty member ('the supervisor') from the Department of Computer Science and requires the on-going production and submission of written work. It culminates in the submission of the final documents, with an oral presentation to the thesis examining committee, and interested students and staff (this is optional for 2P99 and 3P99 projects). Optionally, there may be a second, external supervisor from another department at Brock. Students taking or intending to take COSC 2P99, 3P99 and 4F90 courses are strongly encouraged to attend the departmental seminars. This will facilitate the selection of a proper career path in general, and of a suitable project topic in particular. In order to further their career goals, students are strongly encouraged to propose their own project topics in consultation with a potential supervisor.

Given that computing as a discipline owes much of its success to its multidisciplinary relevance, students are particularly encouraged to seek out the project topics of multidisciplinary nature. Alternatively, the project topic can be selected from the Project List (which also includes projects proposed from outside the Department).

2. Project Selection

A student (and the supervisor) must complete a Topic Selection form and the Responsibilities form, obtainable from the Project Coordinator (room J314). These forms must be returned to the Coordinator after they are signed. Once these have been submitted then the student can register.

2.1. Student Project Proposal

A student wishing to undertake a project should normally seek a faculty member willing to act as a supervisor. Projects that are designed with the involvement of a computer science faculty member are automatically given approval status. Before the student proceeds with the project, the project should be written up in the proposal format below. This document will be put in the student's file. Should the supervisor desire feedback on the proposed project, the proposal can be circulated among the department for comments.

Occasionally, projects can be proposed and supervised by faculty or individuals outside of the Computer Science department. These projects should be written up as a proposal (see below) and circulated for department approval. A computer science faculty member must be willing to be a co-supervisor, before the project can proceed.

A student wishing to propose her/his own project, but has not yet found a supervisor, should write a brief (one to two pages) proposal. The proposal should be submitted to the Project Coordinator for approval by the department, which may take up to two weeks. If a student is unable to find a supervisor, the Chair should be contacted and he/she will try to find a faculty member or decide whether the project is feasible within our department.

2.2. Project Proposal Format

The format of the project proposal, to be submitted by e-mail, is as follows:

Project Title:  Title_text
Project Type:  (Research, Development, R&D)
Credit Sought:  COSC 4F90, COSC 3P99)
Project Status:(Open, Reserved for Student_Name)
Proposer:       Faculty or Student_Name, Computer Science
Supervisor:     Faculty_Name, Department_Name
Approval:       Pending
Hardware:      (Mac, PC, Linux, etc.)
Software:      (Ada, C, C++, C#, Java, etc.)
Prerequisites: (As required by prospective supervisor)

The text of description comes here. The description 
should contain sufficient information to enable faculty
to evaluate the proposal on both academic merit and 
the amount of work required.

2.3. Selection from Current List

In the case of a student selecting a project from the list of available projects, there is no need for a project proposal- the student must contact the project supervisor and get his/her approval. If this person cannot be contacted for whatever reason the Project Coordinator should be approached.

2.4. UCOSP (Undergraduate Capstone Open Source Projects)

A new type of project that might be considered for 3P99/4F90 credit is to work on a UCOSP project. This involves working on an team-based open source project with students from other universities. UCOSP is a new initiative for the department. If interested, please contact the project coordinator for further information.

3. Registration

A student must have a project selected prior to registration in the course and supervisor. The student must ensure that he/she has submitted the signed override to the Project Coordinator before registration.

3.1. Withdrawal

Students may withdraw from the course by the date specified in the University Calendar without academic penalty - please check the University Calendar for exact dates. A student will normally not be allowed to select the same project at a subsequent registration.

3.2. Challenge for Credit

The course may be 'challenged for credit'. This challenge is designed to provide credit at the undergraduate level for skills acquired through learning and experience outside the University (see the University Calendar). If challenged, the Department will consider, among other things, the following:

  • the project was completed by the challenger while he/she was employed; and
  • a satisfactory report is received from the challenger's immediate manager or supervisor regarding the original proposal, stating who was responsible for the work.

The project will still have to be presented orally, and be supported by appropriate reports. All software (including source code) must also be made available to the Department.

3.3. Independent Work

If a student has started a piece of work independently, then he/she should have the project approved through the normal channels (as if the work had not yet been started), and register as normal for the course. There is no onus on the faculty to approve such a project, and in fact additional work may be suggested. This is not the recommended route.

4. Responsibilities

4.1. Student

The student assumes the responsibility for the research, design, implementation and documentation of his/her project. It is the responsibility of the student to arrange, in consultation with his/her supervisor, a suitable schedule of meetings, with the understanding that these will be met, except in extenuating circumstances, such as sickness. It is the responsibility of the student to be thoroughly familiar with the project guidelines and to ensure that the various deadlines are met.

4.2. Supervisor

The project supervisor acts as consultant on such matters as the structure of the reports, and the department's expectations on content. In addition, supervisors help students locate reference material, work out system specifications and solve technical problems related to the project. It is the supervisor's responsibility to make time available, within reason, when the student requests a meeting.

4.3. Supervisor/Student

Before setting out on the project, the student and/or supervisor must make sure that the necessary hardware / software is available and ready to use. Requests for installation of new equipment should be discussed with the Chair prior to the project assignment.

4.4. Forms to be Signed

The Project Responsibilities form and the Topic Selection form (obtained from Departmental Secretary, Room J314) must be completed and signed by both the student and the supervisor.

5. Examination

COSC 2P99/3P99 projects will be marked by the supervisor. At the discretion of the supervisor, a final oral presentation may be scheduled.

For COSC 4F90 projects an examining committee (consisting of the supervisor and a member of the Department's faculty) will be formed, at the start of the project, by the Project Coordinator, typically based on the areas of interest of faculty and an equitable workload. The examining committee will be present for the final oral presentation. After the presentation the examination committee will meet in camera in order to arrive at the overall project mark, following the standard evaluation criteria.

6. Department web site

At the discretion of both the student and supervisor, final results of a project may be placed on the department's web site. This can be a useful way to advertise and promote the student's accomplishments, possibly for future employment.

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