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Practicum Guidelines

by schrod69 — last modified Jun 02, 2017 11:02 AM

The purpose of the practicum is to provide a student with the experience of working on a large project emphasizing the synthesis of material covered in previous computer science courses.

1.  Prerequisites

The prerequisites to the practicum are six or more credits of computer science courses numbered 300 or above, all with a grade of “C” or better; senior standing. NOTE: All students enrolling in our practicum course will have to have completed the following interdisciplinary course: INTRDSCP 208 -- Professional Career Skills in Math and Natural Science.

2.  Course Content

The practicum is a course where each student will work independently on a project of realistic magnitude. The project will involve several of the following:

  • Problem Definition
    • Define the project in detail
    • Identify specific project milestones
  • Software Designs
    • Define major modules of the software and describe each major data structure
    • Define the purpose and content of each file
  • Implementation
    • Complete the specific activities of the project
  • Validation
    • Ensure the project is satisfactorily completed
    • This includes extensive testing procedures
    • Describe the validation methods
  • Documentation 
    • Document the software at the detail level needed by the project supervisor. Assume that others will maintain your software after you finish it.
  • Communication Emphasis
    • one half of the grade is based on written work done during the practicum and an oral presentation that is required of all students
    • the written work will be submitted to the practicum coordinator for evaluation upon a schedule determined by the coordinator
  • Miscellaneous
    • All students must complete an exit survey form.

Although each project will be supervised, the student is to manage his or her project in an independent atmosphere and ensure that the above project segments are completed in the time imposed.

3.  Project Selection And Directions For Writing The Practicum Proposal

The practicum supervisor is a computer science department faculty member who is willing to work with the student to supervise their practicum. The practicum supervisor can work in conjunction with other external project supervisors but the final evaluation of the project work is done by the practicum supervisor.  The practicum coordinator is a computer science department faculty member who is responsible for approving the project and evaluating the reports.

It is the responsibility of the student to propose candidate projects and to find a practicum supervisor willing to supervise them. The student should draft an outline of the proposed project and project outcomes, in conjunction with their practicum supervisor , and present this draft to the practicum coordinator  for a judgment on project qualification.

The practicum proposal should have the following outline:

    • Prepare a description of the project. This should be a broad overview of what is to be accomplished in the practicum. You should discuss what the project does, what its motivation is, how it will be used upon completion, how it relates to other software or procedures in use, (or an appropriate related literature survey), etc. The description must be sufficiently detailed for the practicum coordinator  to assess the appropriateness of the project as a practicum. A rule of thumb for such a project is that it requires at least 160-200 hours of work, excluding the report writing.
    • Identify the deliverables of the project: all programs, files, documents and procedures that will be created or enhanced as part of this project. To be more specific, list the "products" that will be produced by this project that the practicum supervisor can examine to see what was accomplished under this project.
    • Create a list of specific milestones, which lead toward the final project outcome and a tentative calendar for completing each. Make your dates realistic, so that they can serve as an aid to on-time completion.
    • Determine how you will validate your project. Describe the testing procedure that is to be used to ensure that the project has been successfully completed. The practicum coordinator must agree that your validation procedure is adequate.
    • Create a list of criteria on which to evaluate the final project outcome.

A more detailed outline of the proposal is given at the end of this page. When the proposal has been completed by the student and reviewed by the practicum supervisor, this  proposal will then be submitted,  through the online application process, to the practicum coordinator  for approval.

4.  Student Responsibilities During the Project

The student must:

      • Submit all required report(s) to the practicum coordinator on a schedule announced each semester by the practicum coordinator.
      • Participate in a mandatory oral presentation. If the practicum project is completed in the summer, the oral presentation must be given during the following fall semester, unless the student is registered for the actual summer session (only available to students graduating in the summer session).
      • Inform the practicum coordinator promptly whenever there is any difficulty in the practicum.
      • Remind their practicum supervisor to provide the necessary evaluation of their work when it is complete. That evaluation must be provided using the online form that can be previewed here.
      • Complete the exit survey form.

5.  Project Evaluation

The project will be evaluated and graded by the practicum supervisor based on such areas as:

  • successful completion of the project as outlined in "Project Selection"
  • timeliness of the project phases
  • quality of the work performed
  • correctness of the software
  • ease of use
  • etc.

Upon completion of the project, the student must submit to the practicum coordinator a final report describing the project activities and discussing the outcome of the project.

The practicum coordinator will accept the grade from the practicum supervisor as representing one-half of the final grade. The remaining one-half will be defined by the practicum coordinator based on the writing assignments and oral presentation. Note: Remind your practicum supervisor to provide the necessary evaluation of your work when it is complete. That evaluation must be provided using the online form that can be previewed here. A grade reduction, or even a failing grade, will be imposed in the event that project reports are not submitted in the time-frame established by the practicum coordinator.

6.  Deadline for Approval

The deadline for approval of a computer science internship for the fall or spring semester is generally two weeks after the start of that semester. The deadline for a summer practicum will be established by the practicum coordinator.  You should contact the coordinator by email to find out when that is.

7.  Requirements

  • The practicum supervisor will evaluate the technical quality of the student's work using the online form that can be previewed here. This evaluation will account for one-half of the grade.
  • The practicum coordinator will evaluate the written report(s) and oral presentation, which will also account for one-half of the grade.
  • All students must complete an exit survey administered by the practicum coordinator.

8. Outline for the Project Description/Practicum Proposal

Do not limit your descriptions to the space shown in this outline.

  1. Description of the Project (1 to 2 single-spaced pages)

    The description should be a broad overview of what is to be accomplished in the practicum. You should discuss what the project does, what its motivation is, how it will be used upon completion, how it relates to other software or procedures in use, (or an appropriate related literature survey), etc.The description must be sufficiently detailed for the Practicum Coordinator to assess the appropriateness of the project as a Practicum. A rule of thumb for such a project is that it requires 160-200 hours of work, excluding the report writing.

  2. List the deliverables of the project. The items should be numbered or bulleted.

    Example:

    • C++ source code
    • Oracle Forms files and hard copy of sample runs
    • User manual
    • Sample test output
  3. List specific milestones in the form of a tentative calendar of events (at least 4).

    Example:

    • June 1 - ER diagram
    • June 7 - Table design
    • July 1 - Initial Oracle DB
    • July 15 - DB data entered
    • Aug 1 - Tests completed
  4. List the validation activities.

    Example:

    • Preliminary tests on parts component
    • Preliminary tests on construction component
    • Test complete system with self-generated data
    • Test system using current live data
    • Test system using existing regression test suites
  5. List the criteria for grading (at least 4).

    Example:

    • Correctness
    • Robustness (tested via user error test suite)
    • Clarity and completeness of Documentation
    • Quality of the User Manual
    • On-time completion of project and reports
by schrod69 — last modified Jun 02, 2017 11:02 AM
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