The Sponsors have a right to expect the student's work to be of the highest caliber and their responsibilities include the provision of financial support and the award of official credentials.
The Advising Faculty is responsible of providing an environment conducive to sucessful completion of the Engineering Project. This includes not only the provision of sound technical advice, monitoring progress, performing quality checks, assistance in identifying and mitigating the adverse effects of risk, help with mid-course corrections, maintenance of weekly minutes, and stylistic guidance, but also the creation of a setting suitable for the open exchange of ideas and constructive criticism. He as a right to demand that the student's work is carried to the highest standards and to expect the timely submission of deliverables.
Individual students, act as team leaders and are the champions of their own individual projects. They have a right to the best possible advise both from the Faculty Advisor as well as from their classmates and to all the necessary resources for the sucessful completion of their Projects. Individual students have ultimate responsibility for the quality and timeliness of their work and for the development and maintenance of a web-based portfolio archive containing at all times an up to date collection of project related materials that can be used to gage progress in their work.
Students in the class are responsible for acting as team members on each other's Projects by following attentively their classmates progress over the semester and by providing active and concientious feedback with the objective of improving the quality of the final product.
These activities are never handled in linear, sequential fashion but a significant amount of iteration and revision is always involved. A description of the above activities is as follows:
1. Selecting the Topic and Defining Objetive(s).
Students may select a topic themselves or ask the Faculty Advisor for suggestions. Topics may be selected from the student's own work or professional experience, from list of topics provided by the Advisor or from research work reported in the recent technical literature of the profession. Note that the work you will do for your Project as well as the final report belong to the public domain so you must avoid selecting as a topic a project involving proprietary information.
2. Preparing the Project Proposal and Presenting it for Approval.
The proposal is a concise document containing a summary description of the work to be done, the ultimate objective(s), its relevance and adequacy, the fundamental principles of the discipline involved, the means to getting it accomplished and references to any prior work in the area. The proposal must also include a timetable with key milestones. The Faculty Advisor will review the proposal, discuss its contents with the student, comment and suggest modifications (if any). The proposal will also be presented to the class so other students can provide feedback and constructive criticism. Once the Proposal is deemed satisfactory by the Advisor he or she will approve it and the student should start work immediately.
3. Carrying out the necessary Literature Search, Research Work, Task Breakdown and Activity Scheduling.
Students will then carry out the necessary research by reviewing the relevant literature, performing analysis, calculations and/or experiments and maintaining a research activity notebook summarizing their progress. Frequent interaction with the Faculty Advisor and with their classmates is mandatory during this phase. However, the student has complete responsibility for the Project since a key objective of it is to develop the ability to carry out independent work. It is also the student's responsibility to maintain the Faculty Advisor and the rest of the class appraised of his or her progress. Students must be prepared to devote a total of at least 120 hours of their time to the completion of the Project.
4. Preparing Progress Reports and Presenting to the Class on Request.Following the proposal, two partial progress updates will be produced (one approximately every 3-4 weeks). Progress will be presented in front of the class following request from the instructor, even on short notice. Strict adherence to deadlines and the accomplishment of milestones are vital for successful completion of the Engineering Project. Students must document their progress on their web sites in a professional and timely manner.
5. Preparing a Draft Final Report of the Work and Presenting it for Approval.
Each student must present to the Faculty Advisor a final draft report of the research at least two weeks before of the last day of class. The draft must be a complete report and shall contain enough information in it to allow reproducibility of the results reported. The draft must be of high quality and it shall conform to the RPI Thesis/Project specifications as embedded in the official templates. It shall contain various sections such as Cover Page, Abstract, Table of Contents with page numbers, Introduction, Methodology, Analysis, Results and Discussion, Conclusions, References, and Lists of Tables, Symbols, and Figures. Please feel free to refer also to the guidelines established by professional societies such as the American Society for Mechanical Engineers (ASME International), the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers (IEEE), The Metallurgy and Materials Society (TMS), or the Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics (SIAM) for ideas to help you produce a high quality report.
The cover page must contain, in order and centered on the page, the title of the Project, the student's name and the sentences "A Project submitted to the Faculty of Rensselaer at Hartford in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the Degree of MASTER of Engineering. Major Subject: (Mechanical, Electrical, Computer and Systems Engineering or Engineering Science). The original of the seminar is on file at the Rensselaer at Hartford Library. Approved by Project Advisor, Prof. (Name). Rensselaer at Hartford, Hartford, CT, Date."
The Advisor will review the draft and offer comments and suggestions for improvement. Students shall use the Advisor's feedback to prepare the final report. The Advisor is not obliged to review or approve seminar reports submitted outside the indicated schedule.
6. Producing the Approved, Definitive Final Report using the specified format.
Once approval to produce the final report has been received from the Faculty Advisor the student will prepare a final report. The report shall have all the characteristics of high quality, professional work and be prepared in the required standard format. Ideally, Project Reports shall be of high enough quality to serve as backbone for presentations at meetings or conferences of professional societies or for papers in the technical literature. Students are also encouraged to prepare their work for display on the World Wide Web. A detailed set of guidelines for the preparation of high quality Theses and Reports, as well as Thesis Templates (in MS Word and Latex formats) can be found at Rensselaer-Troy HelpDesk on Thesis Preparation. Please consult your advisor if you have any questions.
Two copies of the final report will be delivered to the Faculty Advisor no later than the last day of class. The copies should be in hardcopy format as well as in electronic format. The hardcopies must be provided in standard 3-hole 8.5 by 11 white bond paper bound separatedly in black ACCO or Oxford binders (available at the Renssselaer-Hartford bookstore). The electronic copies should be in CDs and also in the student's web site. Please note that grading will be based on the student portfolios posted on individual student's web pages. The hardcopies and CDs are designed for archiving in the Rensselaer library. The Advisor will sign the final report and deliver one of the copies to the Registrar's Office together with the completed grade roster. The Registrar will then deliver the copy of the Project to the Rensselaer-Hartford Library for archival shelf filing.