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Final Year Projects. Dr. Jeyakesavan Veerasamy Director of CS Senior Design Program University of Texas at Dallas, USA Agenda. Final year industry projects in CS & Engg @ UT Dallas What can you do in your college? Preparing students for final year projects.

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final year projects

Final Year Projects

Dr. Jeyakesavan Veerasamy

Director of CS Senior Design Program

University of Texas at Dallas, USA

  • Final year industry projects in CS & Engg@ UT Dallas
  • What can you do in your college?
  • Preparing students for final year projects
why industry projects
Why industry projects?
  • Real-world experience for students
  • University colloboration opportunity for industry
  • It is like 3 month interview process to hire new employees!
ee me projects
EE/ME projects
  • 2 semester projects since students need to identify parts, order and assemble etc.
  • Bit slower pace compared to 1 semester CS projects.
  • We are finding it bit harder to find EE projects compared to CS – ME is reasonably new program doing capstone projects 1st time.
  • Project cost: $13K
cs final year projects @ ut dallas
CS final year projects @ UT Dallas
  • Almost all projects are industry sponsored.
  • We had ~18 industry projects in Spring 2012 term.
  • Typically 4 students/team.
  • Industry pays $8000/project, so they expect results!
  • Industry mentor is actively involved
    • conducts weekly or biweekly meetings
  • Faculty mentor has limited project manager role.
  • Companies of all sizes: 1 person business to MNCs.
  • Lot of repeat customers & students get jobs too.
  • Final grade is decided by faculty mentor based on the project’s success and each student’s effort.
industry projects process
Industry projects: Process

2 or 3 months before each term:

  • Soliciting projects from industry

First 2 weeks of the term:

  • Presentation of projects to students
  • Students form the teams & indicate “favourite” projects.
  • Project assignments  teams
  • Kickoff meeting with industry
  • NDA and IP agreements (paperwork similar to part-time employment)
industry projects process1
Industry projects: Process …

Remaining term:

  • Students write “Project Proposal / Contract”
    • typically use 3 milestones (~1 month each)
  • Weekly meetings or conference calls

End of term:

Senior Design Day Celebration:

    • Presentations & Poster session
    • All local industry folks are invited (50 to 100 attendees)
    • Awards to best projects
misc notes
Misc. notes
  • Hard to do remote projects with 100% effectiveness.
  • Official warning (mid-term grades) given to lethargic teams 
  • Almost all projects are successful due to weekly tracking & mentoring. Since students selected the projects, we do not need to push them!
  • Students cannot graduate without a good grade in the project course 
  • Hire an intern vs. sponsor a final year project
more notes
More notes…
  • We have a team of 4 people who work on soliciting projects in addition to our teaching duties.
  • I attend all local technical meetings and promote UTDesign projects – I never thought I will work as a salesman in my life!
  • Trust between colleges & industry is very high.
  • We have completed ~65 projects so far in the past 2 ½ years.
  • When companies pay money, they are serious about projects – they push students! Students respond better too.
  • Even average students perform better in project course!
  • 4 credit hour course  we expect students to work 10 – 12 hours per week.
exception scenarios
Exception scenarios …
  • Pushy industry mentor – considers students as “cheap labor”?
  • Too soft industry mentor
  • Big companies – weak/no technical mentor
  • Too big or too small projects
  • What if no one wants to do the project?
  • What if a student wants to build on a brilliant idea on his/her own?
  • Do not accept “critical path” projects
what can you do in your college
What can you do in your college?
  • Start with simple industry projects
  • Direct solicitation of projects from industry/businesses
  • Service projects for college and local community
  • Tackling “Trust factor”: Use your alumni to get started
  • Track progress & ensure “reasonable” success?
  • Encourage a mix of superstars & average students in each team
  • Project success & students’ work  course grade
  • Charge companies for projects?
  • Use latest technologies:
    • Smart phone applications & games
    • Use the cloud as the backend
making students ready for final year projects
Making students ready for final year projects
  • Create passion for programming right from the start. Need to free them from “Memorization” habit quickly!
  • Use the latest free tools in labs & make it exciting to learn:
    • TurboC++, NotePad  Alice, NetBeans/Visual Studio/Code::Blocks…
  • Have programming contents
  • Suggest a few extra projects in each course and encourage more students to do them.
making students ready for final year projects1
Making students ready for final year projects …
  • Showcase a few successful projects for incoming students
  • Highlight team-effort – every one may not know all the latest technologies.
  • Encourage more students to work with industry (internships?) during breaks.
  • needs additional passionate staff /resources