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    1. INTRODUCTION   1.

    1 Outline of the Project  As in the past, a major part of any Master’s programme in the Department of Computing, Engineering and Technology at the University of Sunderland is a project (with a sponsor or client) to which the student is expected to devote approximately 600 hours of work.   The requirements of a major piece of work that demands a critical analysis of the relevant literature, successful achievement of the project objectives and evaluation of these remains the same as in previous versions, as do the requirements to produce a well-written, well-structured dissertation.  1.2 Aims of the Project  The project provides a framework within which an individual can apply his/her acquired knowledge and skills to the solution of a problem in the domain of their master's programme.  At the same time the student has an opportunity to develop and demonstrate his or her own personal abilities in the computing, engineering or project management environment and to review, critically analyse and apply the recent findings of other researchers.   This project handbook has been developed so that students can have ready access to guidance and information about how they should conduct their projects. It covers: the aims of the project, the way in which projects are initiated, managed and assessed. However, it is unlikely that it will answer all the questions which may arise. Therefore, it is vital that each student should meet regularly with his or her supervisor to ensure that the supervisor can be kept up-to-date with the progress of the project and can advise on any issues that may arise. The supervisor has a timetabled allowance for this purpose. Where necessary, the project tutors should be informed of any exceptional problems that arise as soon as possible.  Project Parameters (what you need to define in your project proposal)  In all cases the Department's main concern will be to ensure that the chosen project is of an appropriate standard to warrant the MSc and of a suitable size for it to be completed in the timescale specified.  In particular we will look for the following features:

    • Your project must have an explicit, identified, sponsor (with a named individual client for liaison).

    • Your project should take approximately 600 working hours to complete (which is the equivalent of 15 weeks of full-time or 30 weeks part-time work).

    • The practical aspect of your project must have a clear link with the subject matter of the specific Masters programme you are undertaking. 

    • The practical work must result in a clearly defined product (e.g. software deliverable, network design, artefact, strategy or model) for your client. 

    • You must endeavour to ensure that your client carries out a suitable evaluation of your product.

    • Your project must be individual in nature: if it is part of a larger project your contribution must be coherent, discrete and well-defined.

    • Your project must offer sufficient scope for you to conduct a critical review of current, and relevant, literature in one specific research area.

    • This literature must feed into the practical aspect of your project in some defined manner.  2.3 Commitment Required from Your Sponsor 

    • Your sponsor must to be able to identify a product that is needed by them: this may be a software artefact, a strategic study, etc., but it must be appropriate for your programme of study.

    • It must be possible for you to produce this within 15 weeks full time study (or part time equivalent) where approximately 50% of the time is devoted to the practical work (i.e. about 300 hours of work). 

    2.5 The process for students applying for projects advertised in Sunspace

    All staff and industry sponsored projects are advertised to students through Sunspace and the process for applying for the projects is as follows:

    • Project tutors will advertise any projects that are made known to them via the “Potential Projects” discussion topic in the project class in Sunspace.

    • Students interested in a project must "sign up" before the closing date for an advertised project by emailing a completed “Application for an Advertised Project” form to the project tutors (within Sunspace email).

    • After the closing date the Project Tutors identify the list of applicants for the project. 

    • The project student is selected by the project sponsor by examining the student application forms (and subsequently arranging interviews, if the sponsor prefers to do this). Sponsors/clients often delegate this task to the project tutors.   2.6 Supervisor Allocation  Supervisors are allocated to students at the start of the project phase. Each supervisor is competent to supervise Masters level projects, and can be expected to provide appropriate guidance and support for project management and implementation. However, a key factor in a Masters-level project is the ability to work independently (although with support).  Students should therefore not expect their supervisors to be a subject expert in the specific area identified in a student’s project.     

    MSc Project Management  Students here come from a wide range of disciplines as this popular course focuses on generic project management skills.

    The key issue for suitable projects here is that they must be examining project management, or management techniques within an (external) project – not general business management. Project areas include (but are not limited to): 

    • Reviews of projects from industry from the perspective of risk assessment, HR management, adherence to standards, etc.

     • Development of strategies for projects e.g. in the construction industry to deal with risk management, opportunity assessment, HR management, adherence to standards, etc. 

    • Similarly for many other fields including: tourism, marketing, health sector, education, local and national government initiatives, etc.   MSc Information Technology Management  Students here have a computing background, but focus on management and strategy areas of IT in organisations. They tend to develop strategies, framework, or analyse some IT aspects in an organisation and make recommendations for business improvement. Practical project areas include (but are not limited to): 

    • Defining an appropriate IT acquisitions strategy for an organisation 

    • Evaluating how system change projects are carried out – providing recommendations for future cases, providing reflections “lessons learned” from past cases. 

    • Issues/strategies related to effective recruitment/retention/motivation of IT staff in organisations. 

    • Use of intelligent systems techniques or decision support techniques to model/evaluate/simulate impact of pursuing different business goals. 

    • Use of intelligent systems techniques to identify what data can be mined (and how) in order to increase organisational knowledge/understanding to inform business goals. 

    • Development of organisation-specific IT risk management or IT academic supervisor and liaise in a professional manner with the client.

    • During supervision sessions each student should submit a draft to the supervisor

    • Each supervisor should read and give overall feedback on structure etc, plus detailed feedback on one chapter (this is not to be a detailed proof reading of the entire dissertation).

    • N.B. if the draft is not provided in good time the supervisor will be unable to guarantee the time to read and comment on it before final submission.  Week 6 full-time (week 12 part-time): Planning review (worth 10% of the project marks).

    • Students must submit their review documentation online.  Separate instructions as to what is required will be provided in Sunspace. Week 14-15 (weeks 29-30 part-time) Vivas 

    • Students must prepare a 10-15 minute presentation on their project work (either near to hand-in or after hand-in).  This will be followed by 10 minutes of questions from the examiner(s).  Before Week 14-15 (before weeks 29-30 part-time): Demonstration of Product (where appropriate) 

    • Before the end of the project phase those students who have developed software or other practical artifacts that need to be demonstrated must arrange such demonstrations for the supervisor and second marker outside of the viva.  Week 14 (week 28 part-time): Completion & Submission of dissertation

      • All students, i.e. both on and off-campus, submit one electronic submission to turnitin through the Sunspace project class. Submission guidelines are given in the separate assessment specification. Week 15+ (30+ part-time): Project Marking.

    • The supervisor and second marker independently mark the dissertation. 

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