Introduction to Computing Projects

10:49 PM / Posted by BARATH THUSHYANTHAN /

Introduction
The Integrated System Project (ISP) undertaken by students in the final year of their Diploma in Computer Studies is the major assignment required to be submitted for the project course that is relevant to their particular program of study. These 05-credit courses extend across the two semesters in the final year of the diploma.

The ISP
An ISP is a sustained piece of work carried out by student which when completed, will reflect the student’s ability to tackle a selected problem in depth and to present their findings in a technical report.

Choose an ISP Title
In the majority of cases, students will decide upon a specific project or project area, and discuss the feasibility of a particular project idea with a member of the academic staff. Students may request to have the opportunity to work on projects related to an area pursued by a member of academic staff, in which case, students will be interviewed for their suitability.

Finding a supervisor
In the first instance you should discuss any ideas for a project with a member of the academic staff. You should do your best to secure the agreement of a member of academic staff to supervise your project. A supervisor will be allocated to you if you are not successful in finding a member of the academic staff to agree to supervise your proposed project.
Meeting supervisor
Regular meetings are essential. Short meetings held every week for the first few weeks will help you to fully establish the details of your proposed project. The frequency of meetings may then reduce to fortnightly or every few weeks depending upon circumstances. On a weekly basis, the amount of time that could be spent with each student is very limited. You should endeavour to plan your project activities to include checkpoints at which times you would have something useful prepared for a meeting with your supervisor. Nevertheless, regular contact throughout the year is essential if your supervisor is to gain a good idea of the work that you put into the development of the project - a factor which will influence the mark that you are eventually awarded for your development work! In the case of part-time students, it may be hard to arrange meetings with the supervisor; less frequent meetings in person may be adequate if frequent contact is made by other means, e.g. telephone, mail, or electronic mail. This may also apply to full-time students if the supervisor is agreeable.

Assessing ISP
Assessment is based on your development work over the period of the project and the final work. The final work may consist of a product and project report. Your supervisor is responsible for assigning a development mark that reflects the work that you have put into the project during the year, and also the way in which you have approached the topic and dealt with the concepts and any problems that may have arisen. For this reason and other reasons that should be self-evident, you should keep your supervisor informed of your progress at regular intervals.

The ISP Report
The project report is a report that you write to record and present the work that you have done and the conclusions that you have reached. It is read and assessed for its clarity and comprehension by both your supervisor and another member of the academic staff who will each award a mark for the project report. The report must be word-processed. Two copies of the report are needed. Planning the shape of the report (e.g. deciding upon chapter headings and their ordering) should commence before the end of the first semester. You will be advised in detail during the project lectures concerning appropriate logical structuring and physical layout of the report. One copy of the completed, unbound project report must be submitted on or before the deadline.

Purpose of the ISP Report
The project report provides a record of the work done in the project, which may serve as a starting point for other projects in subsequent years. The assessment of a project is based mainly on the project report. Without a report it is most unlikely that a project will achieve a pass mark (except perhaps when the absence of a report is for reasons beyond the control of the student). The project report should therefore describe the work done in the project in as favorable a way as possible, and, if the situation arises, explain why some of the intended work was not done. It is further worth bearing in mind that the project report represents probably the largest, individual piece of work carried out by a student during their diploma. Prospective employers are often keen for students recently graduated, to take their projects with them to interviews as a demonstration of ability to work independently and ability to manage their work over a period of time - qualities which are generally accepted to be very desirable in an applicant. It also provides clear evidence of their ability in written communication. Whilst good writing cannot make up for the lack of content, it is always advisable to present the contents in the best possible light by the use of good English and a correctly structured layout.

Logical Structure of the Report
The structuring and content of project reports is covered in full in the project lectures. For information only, the following may serve as a guide:
The following is the standard structure for the project report:
Title Page
Abstract
Preface … … … … … … … … .optional
Acknowledgements
Table of Contents
List of Tables… … … … … … optional
List of Figures… … … … … ...optional
Body of Report
List of References
Appendices
Glossary… … … … … … … … optional

Title Pages
The Title Page contains the project title, your name, the date (month and year) of submission (i.e. May 2008), and the title of the diploma program. There is a required ‘house style’ format for the Title Page. This is given out during the project lectures.

Abstract
The abstract, occupying less than half a page, is a short description of the intention of the project.

Preface
The Preface includes any relevant observations that do not belong in the project itself.

Acknowledgements
It is customary to acknowledge any substantial help, with either the project work or the report, from people and other informal sources.

Table of Contents
The report should be divided into chapters each of which may be divided into sections which may again be divided into subsections and so on. Each chapter and numbered section or subsection should have a title, and the contents page should list the most significant of these.

Body of report
In the body of the report, each chapter should start on a new page. Chapter headings should appear more important than section headings. This can be achieved for example by the use of different font sizes and attributes. Full direction is given in the project lectures. The following usually have one or more chapters devoted to them.

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