There is additional information for supervisors here:
Projects are intended to allow students to demonstrate their ability to organise and carry out a major piece of work. The relative amounts of time spent on the above areas will obviously vary. No project consists of just implementation or experimentation: much careful thought and planning is required in advance. Project topics span the range of Informatics, so that students can choose projects that they find useful and interesting, and goals are usually flexible so that students can work to the best of their ability.
Spreading project work over both semesters is more important than adhering to a detailed distribution of hours. The fourth year structure has three blocks of concentrated effort for the project: in Weeks 1-5 of Semester 1; in Weeks 11-13 of Semester 1; and in Weeks 1-5 of Semester 2. During these periods you should be spending much (for the Weeks 1-5 blocks in both semesters) or all (Weeks 11-13 of Semester 1) of your time on the project. There may be some coursework deadlines in these periods, with few or none in Weeks 11-13. However, you should make sure to keep your project going at a quieter level during the other periods of the semester, as steady progress is far more likely to result in a satisfactory project than erratic jumps. Students are encouraged to keep a log-book in which they record all work done on their project and the time spent.
Each student is assigned one (or occasionally two) supervisors, who not only provide technical advice, but also assist in planning the project. Students and supervisors should meet frequently and regularly, preferably each week during semester time.
In addition, the report sometimes contains appendices in which relevant program listings, circuit diagrams, check plots, formal proofs etc. are included. Such appendices do not contribute to the page count but they should not be excessively long.
Some more detailed, but informal, guidelines on report-writing, are here.
It is perfectly acceptable, and indeed recommended, that you arrange for your supervisor to read and comment on a draft of the project report in advance of the deadline.
Two comb-bound hard copies of the report, with front and back covers, are to be submitted to the ITO office by the deadline (see the project calendar). Please submit them directly to a member of ITO staff rather than posting them in the submission box. The submitted report must be accompanied by a signed "Own Work Declaration" and a signed "Project Copyright Permission Letter".
A "Project Submission Pack" that includes everything you need to submit your project, including this information sheet, will be provided by the ITO in the period before submission.
Printers are a heavily utilised resource near the submission deadline, so you should plan to use a photocopier, for instance in the Main Library, to create one of the copies. The colour printers are a particular bottleneck. Please try to avoid printing large numbers of monochrome pages on the colour printer. The binder is another bottleneck: expect a queue throughout the day of project submission, and don't wait until the last minute!
At or before the submission deadline for your project you will also be required to submit your project via the project submission web form. This requires you to nominate a "project directory" that contains appropriate supporting evidence for the project examiners, and to provide the location of a pdf file containing your project report. The project directory should contain sufficient additional material to allow the project examiners to come to a decision on matters such as: level of completion of the project, the quality of the project and the amount of work required to complete the project.
The marking guidelines and form used to grade projects are based entirely on the content of the report. The additional material will be used to assess the accuracy of claims in the report.
Projects often build on work previously carried out, in some cases
re-using code and data from earlier projects. We would like your
project materials to be available for further use in research, private
study or education, if requested. However, if you decide that you do
not want your project materials re-used, please tick the relevant box.
Once you graduate, your Informatics computing account will be retained for a period of up to one year. You will be guaranteed access to the account for a period of at least three months after graduation; after that period access may be withdrawn without notice. You should make any personal backup before you leave or before the three months grace period as after that time all the files in your home directory will be deleted and will not be recoverable.
In general, coursework in Informatics will not be accepted late without good reason (where "good reason" is to be judged by the year organiser).
This rule does not apply to the project, for the simple reason that only the Board of Examiners is allowed to judge "good reason" for a significant piece of work such as the project. If you do submit late (which is not recommended, as the penalty for this is high), we use the University's "penalty" scheme. In certain cases, where evidence of special circumstances is presented to the Board of Examiners, the penalty might be waived.
The report is read independently by the project supervisor and a second member of staff (and, in some cases, by others). It must be self-contained and include all information relevant to the project since, in general, the readers will be unaware of the work undertaken, the difficulties encountered and the results obtained. The readers allocate a numerical mark after assessing the project work in terms of the following criteria:
Projects are marked according to the following classifications.
Students are strongly advised to use only supported software, be it programming languages, editors, graphics packages, windowing systems, etc. Where a project requires the purchase of materials of any form, including software, the necessary purchase should be negotiated in good time with the project supervisor and the project coordinator.
To provide a check on progress, and as preparation for writing the final report, students must submit two further documents during the year. These are:
The interim reports are scrutinized by the project supervisor, who will give written or verbal individual feedback.
To further broaden involvement in projects, students are divided into small groups which meet regularly, with supervisors in attendance, to discuss progress. Project groups meet at three times in the year as follows.
One of the supervisors in the group is assigned to act as convener. Group meetings may also be attended by the project coordinator. At each meeting, each student gives a 15-minute talk describing progress on project work and future plans.
More detailed guidelines on the formats of the various talks are circulated in advance of each meeting. Supervisors should assist their students in preparing for the meetings. The group coordinator transmits individual feedback to each student and to the project coordinator, after discussion with the supervisors, following the meeting.
The purpose of this system is fourfold:
Any student whose progress gives cause for concern may be asked to give a further presentation to the project coordinator, with the supervisor in attendance. This permits a more thorough discussion of any problems that have arisen.
Finally, students give a 30-minute presentation of their project to the markers and perhaps one additional member of staff, in or around Week 1 of the Examination Period (about 3-4 weeks after Semester 2 ends). Alternatively presentations may be arranged in the week immediately following project submission. See the project calendar for more precise information. The purpose of the presentation is to help the markers gain insight into the project, as input to the marking process. The presentation itself is not assessed but it is obligatory.
The focus of the presentation should be a demonstration of results and not just repetition of sections of the report. You might not require a computer to demonstrate your project but you should have some results to demonstrate your evaluation of your work. The markers may well have already read your report and are likely to raise specific questions.
While the project report should not be untidy, it is not fruitful to spend a large amount of time on word processing. The report's readers are mainly concerned with the technical quality of the content. Use of a spelling checker program is recommended.
The recommended word processing system is LaTeX; instructions and document class files are here. Printer output must be paid for, as usual. However, your University print and copy account will be credited with a small sum to help compensate for the project printing. The project report should be printed on both sides of the page. You do not need a blank page between chapters but please start each chapter on a right-hand page. See above for details of where to submit the report.
Intellectual Property in a project is owned by the people or organisations who supply original ideas. Students are not employees of the University and they are marked in part for original input so ipso facto they will own at least some intellectual property of any creative project they are engaged in. This share will depend on who proposed the project and the degree of direction given to the student. If this is an issue, the student and supervisor or external organisation should sign an agreement prior to committing to the project. Where a formal agreement is required, the University can provide a document for this purpose which can be obtained from the project coordinator on request. It may also be necessary to ask the student to sign a non-disclosure agreement if the student is privy to confidential information. Special restrictions or agreements may apply to sponsored students. The University must be informed of any restrictions being imposed on or agreed with the student and would veto any agreement that imposed employment restrictions on students after graduation. Project reports cannot be copied to external organisations without the prior approval of the student in any case and may be restricted by agreement with any other owner of the intellectual property. In normal circumstances students will hold the intellectual property and will be asked to sign a declaration, on submitting their report, which will allow the University to copy the report on request. Although a student may own all or part of the intellectual property, nevertheless neither the student nor the University can publish or otherwise exploit the substance of the project without the permission and cooperation of the other party.
Informatics Forum, 10 Crichton Street, Edinburgh, EH8 9AB, Scotland, UK
Tel: +44 131 651 5661, Fax: +44 131 651 1426, E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Please contact our webadmin with any comments or corrections. Logging and Cookies
Unless explicitly stated otherwise, all material is copyright © The University of Edinburgh