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Senior Comprehensive Evaluation

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At Manchester University, each major must include a Senior Comprehensive Evaluation. Each major must also include one or more courses that require a significant amount of writing that is appropriate to the discipline. (Such courses are designated "W" courses.) In the computer science major, these requirements are combined. You may satisfy these requirements either by doing an internship or by doing a Senior Project. Whichever you choose, you must write a substantial paper about your work, and you must give a presentation about your work to the faculty and students of the department.

Internship | Senior Project

1. Internship
If you decide to do an internship, you will be expected to do the following:

  1. Secure an internship that is relevant to the computer science major.
  2. Have your internship approved by the department. You should submit a written proposal describing what you will do for the internship and what you anticipate learning from it.
  3. Register for CPTR 475, Internship in Computer Science, for three credit hours. These internships are usually done during the summer preceding the senior year, and they ordinarily last at least eight weeks.
  4. Write a paper describing what you did during your internship and what you learned from it. This paper should address at least one technical issue in computer science that has arisen during your internship.
  5. Give a presentation about your internship to the students and faculty of the department.

1.1 The paper
In your paper, you should describe what you did during your internship. (Hint: Keep a journal.) The paper should also discuss what you learned as a result of doing your internship. You might also discuss how well prepared you were for your internship and how it complemented your academic studies in computer science. It should treat at least one topic from computer science that was related to your internship. Treating this topic may require some additional research. Your internship should be a real learning experience, and the most important goal of your paper is to explain what you learned. Your paper will be evaluated on how well it accomplishes this goal, the quality of the technical exposition in the paper, the clarity and organization of the paper, and the mechanics of the writing. The faculty member overseeing your internship and a second reader will each assign a letter grade to the paper, and the grades will be averaged, using the standard four point grading scale. The advisor will inform the student of the grade on the paper by the end of the semester.

1.2 The presentation
Your presentation will be to the students and faculty of the department, and it should be appropriate for this audience. The presentation will usually be based on the paper, and it should be about 35–40 minutes long. There will be time for questions. Questions may be about any aspect of your project. Criteria for evaluating the presentation will include whether it is at an appropriate level and pace for the audience, whether you make good use of visual aids, and how well you respond to questions. At the conclusion of the presentation, the department faculty and the second reader will each assign a letter grade to the presentation, and the grades will be averaged, using the standard four point scale. The student will be informed of the results as soon as possible.

1.3 CPTR 475 Course grade
Your grade for CPTR 475 is the responsibility of the faculty member overseeing your internship. The grade will be based on a report from the organization for which you worked (30%), your paper (40%), your presentation (20%), and an overall evaluation by this faculty
member (10%).

1.4 Senior Comprehensive Evaluation
The pass/fail Senior Comprehensive Evaluation is based solely on the paper and the presentation. A passing grade (C- or better) is required on each of these in order to pass the Senior Comprehensive Evaluation.

1.5 Remediation
If you fail the SCE, the department will determine what further work you need to do to pass. This might include revising the paper or redoing the presentation. The timetable below gives ample time for accomplishing this.

1.6 Timetable

  1. Spring semester, junior year
    Secure internship, obtain departmental approval of internship, register for CPTR 475.
  2. Summer between junior and senior years
    Internship, keep journal, begin writing paper and preparing presentation.
  3. Fourth week of fall semester, senior year
    Submit paper, complete preparing presentation.
  4. Fifth week of fall semester, senior year
    Give presentation.

Submit two copies of your paper by the end of the semester. They will be filed permanently in the department. <BACK TO TOP>

2. Senior Project
If you decide to do a Senior Project, there are several directions in which you might go, including developing a program or software system, studying a program or software system, and studying a theoretical topic related to computer science. (A word of caution: Studying a program does not mean becoming a proficient user. You would be expected to explore the design of the program and understand how it works. You might write a program that
models some aspect of the program you are studying.) In any case you would be expected to do the following:

  1. Decide on a topic and find an advisor. Your topic should involve something that you want to learn or that you want to do. It should require you to learn some computer science (theory or practice) that is new to you.
  2. Register for CPTR 499, Senior Project. You may take this for one semester, or you may split it into two semesters. You should register for a total of three credit hours.
  3. Learn about the topic you have chosen.
  4. Implement any programs that are appropriate to your project.
  5. Write a paper describing your work.
  6. Give a presentation about your project to the students and faculty of the department.

2.1 The paper
Your paper should describe the work that you did and what you learned from it. It should demonstrate that you understand your topic, whether you have chosen to write a program or study a theoretical area. Your paper will be evaluated on how well it accomplishes this goal, the quality of the technical exposition in the paper, the overall clarity and organization of the paper, and the mechanics of the writing. The faculty member overseeing your internship
and a second reader will each assign a letter grade to the paper, and these grades will be averaged using the standard four point scale. The advisor will inform the student of the grade on the paper by the end of the semester.

2.2 The presentation
Your presentation will be to the students and faculty of the department, and it should be appropriate for this audience. The presentation will usually be based on the paper, and it should be 35–40 minutes long. There will be time for questions afterwards. Questions may
be about any aspect of your project. Criteria for evaluating the presentation will include whether it is at an appropriate level and pace for the audience, whether you make good use of visual aids, and how well you respond to questions. At the conclusion of the presentation the departmental faculty and the second reader will each assign a letter grade to the presentation,
and the grades will be averaged using the standard four point scale. The student will be informed of the results as soon as possible.

2.3 CPTR 499 Course grade
Your grade for CPTR 499 is the responsibility of your advisor. It will be based on your paper (40%), your presentation (20%), your advisor's judgment of how well you have mastered your topic (20%), and your advisor's assessment of your professionalism (20%). In assessing your mastery of your topic, your advisor will take into account the level of difficulty of the topic
and your background. In assessing your professionalism, your advisor will consider whether you meet deadlines, meet regularly with your advisor, prepare for these meetings, follow through on suggestions, and work independently.

2.4 Senior Comprehensive Evaluation
The pass/fail Senior Comprehensive Evaluation is based solely on the paper and the presentation. A passing grade (C- or better) is required on each of these in order to pass the Senior Comprehensive Evaluation.

2.5 Remediation
If you fail the SCE, the department will determine what further work you need to do to pass. This might include revising the paper or redoing the presentation. The timetable below gives ample time for accomplishing this.

2.6 Timetable
No single timetable can fit all kinds of Senior Projects in Computer Science. The one below assumes that you are doing a software oriented project, that is, that the main part of your project is the design and implementation of a program or system. It is also is based on the assumption that you intend to register in CPTR 499 for one hour in one semester and for two hours in the next semester. The timetable in the Mathematics Senior Project Guidelines is appropriate for theoretical projects.

  1. First semester
    In this semester you should do any appropriate background research and complete the requirements phase of your project. You should produce a written requirements document. If you are building a prototype for the project, you should try to complete it in this semester. If not you should try to complete the specification phase of the project, and produce a written specifications document.
  2. Second semester
    Use the first eight weeks of the semester for the design and implementation phases of the project. You should produce a written design before proceeding to implementation, and you should document your testing procedures. By the end of week 9 give your advisor and second reader a first draft of your paper. Your paper should include a listing of your program and the requirements, specification, and design documents you have written. (They may appear as appendices, or you may incorporate them in the text of the paper.) Your readers should return the paper with comments within a week. By the end of week 11 have a second (and essentially final) draft of the paper. Again, your readers should return the paper with comments within a week. It will be available to the department before your presentation. By the end of week 13, that is the week before the last week of classes, give a presentation to the students and faculty of the department. By the end of the semester, submit two copies of your paper, along with a disk containing the code for your program. These materials will be filed permanently in the department. <BACK TO TOP>

 
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