Site / ProjectFAQs
Scope and Goals
As mentioned under Course Grading, projects are optional and are intended to develop depth of understanding in a specific, more advanced subject based on the study of a “research” topic as documented in recently published paper (see Projects List for a full list of possible papers to choose from).
Projects are meant to be carried out by teams of two students. Single student teams are allowed but discouraged, as projects are also meant to test your ability to work effectively in a team. Except under extraordinary circumstances, e.g., one student failing to participate altogether, both students in a team will receive the same grade.
Project topics will be assigned on a first-come-first-served basis until February 7th, 2013, 4:30pm. The time-stamp of your email asking for a specific topic will be used to resolve conflicting requests. In order to improve the odds of being assigned a topic of your liking, your request may include an ordered list with several possible choices. You will be assigned the first available topic in that list, and you will receive an email confirmation informing you of the outcome.
IMPORTANT: Students who have not claimed a project topic by February 7th, 2013, 5:00pm, will be assumed to have decided not to do a Project. As a result, the weight given to their Midterm and Final exam grades will be increased by 10% each.
Project Output and Evaluation UPDATED - Please read
In order to test the extent to which you have truly explored and acquired a broad understanding of your selected topic, you will be asked to produce a short, 5-8 page report documenting your findings and conclusions, as well as give a 25+5 minutes presentation (25mins for the actual presentation + 5mins for questions) that should convey to others your perspective and insight. The presentation should target less than 10 minutes of actual presentation material, plus about 5 minutes for questions. Questions will be held until the end of the presentation, but the “rules” are that anyone in the class, the instructor included, is free (and even encouraged as far as your fellow students are concerned) to ask questions, either seeking clarifications, or justifications of your position, or to request you to expand on a particular aspect. Your ability to effectively handle such questions will play a significant role in your project grade. In other words, you will be tested on the breadth and depth of the understanding you have acquired in your project’s topic, above and beyond what is reflected in your report and presentation. Projects will be graded on a scale from 0 to 100 with project grades disclosed only after all projects have been presented. Except under extraordinary circumstances, both students in a project team will be awarded the same grade.
Project presentations will be scheduled during the second half of the semester as posted on the course wiki under Projects List. You should notify the instructor immediately in case you have or expect a conflict with the scheduled time of your project presentation. This is particularly important, as except for recognized university guidelines governing final examinations, no project presentations will be postponed. Failure by one team member to be present for a presentation, will result in the whole team being graded on a 0 to 50 scale (halving of the scale), with again all team members awarded the same grade. In case a team misses their scheduled presentation slot, all team members will receive a score of zero for their project.
A short outline (half page) of your presentation and a list of references you have looked into (in addition to the paper you are assigned) during your research must be submitted electronically (by email) BY 10:00AM ONE WEEK BEFORE YOUR SCHEDULED PRESENTATION DAY.
Soft copies of both presentation (PowerPoint or pdf) and reports (MS Word or pdf) must be submitted electronically (by email) BY 10:00AM ON THE DAY YOU ARE SCHEDULED TO GIVE YOUR PRESENTATION. FAILURE TO DO SO WILL RESULT IN POINTS BEING DEDUCTED.
Presentations and reports need to highlight (at least) the following key aspects:
Given that a significant portion of your project grade will be based on the quality of your presentation and your ability to field questions, here are a few basic rules to making an effective presentation, especially when time is limited as will be the case for project presentations.
Although the above should make it clear, stating it explicitly wont hurt: The key to an effective presentation is to rehearse it multiple times and preferably in front of a “friendly” audience who can help you make the above assessments.
Another very useful tool is to videotape yourself while rehearsing your presentation. This will give you a much better first-hand feedback than anyone's opinion, even that of your best friend.
Below are some additional Useful Resources (Links to a few sources dealing with effective presentations):