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The Practical Project
(v1 – April 2014)
The Practical Project gives students the opportunity to plan and execute a substantial piece
of independent work. The subject matter is chosen by the student, but must be aligned to at
least one of the taught modules studied earlier in the degree programme. The work takes
the form of an experiment, an investigation, a development, the solution of a problem, or
some combination of those. The practical work is supported by detailed study of academic
literature and technical resources. The student is responsible for searching, selecting, and
reviewing academic and other source materials. Students who do not wish to create
physical IT artefacts such as software may design their project as a literature-based analysis
with no hands-on element. It is also open to the student to gather primary data through
surveys or interviews.
This document has been produced to answer some of the questions which students ask and
to provide information about the project process, procedures and assessment. It is not
intended to be definitive. Projects by their very nature are individual and it is not possible to
set down rules which will apply to and govern all aspects in all cases. What is presented
here is a collection of advice and information common to all projects, and guidelines which
attempt to ensure that all projects are developed to a similar standard.
The material covered includes the roles and responsibilities of the student, the Practical
Project module tutor, the project supervisor and the RDI student support co-ordinator. It also
describes the various milestones along the way and the assessment process.
If you are unsure about anything, please discuss it with your supervisor.
2. Enrolling for the module
The normal schedule of module starts requires the Practical Project module to be studied
after the other modules. The Practical Project represents the culmination of the student’s
studies and provides an opportunity to incorporate material from all other modules. Students
are required to complete all other modules before embarking on the Practical Project.
Prior to enrolling, you should start thinking about ideas for your Practical Project, and do
some preparatory work investigating these possibilities. Once the ideas have crystallised
sufficiently, you can discuss them with the Practical Project module tutor.
3. Scheduling the workload
The Practical Project is a 30 credit module, so you will be expected to spend approximately
300 learning hours in total on the project. This is only a guide and could vary significantly
depending on the project and your rate of progress. We also expect that you will normally be
submitting the finished Practical Project within six months of enrolling.
Projects must be submitted following the timetable published on the Practical Project module
page of iLearn. However please ensure, following discussions with your supervisor, that you
have completed sufficient work in readiness for your submission. Prematurely submitted
projects carry a significant risk of under-performance.
4. Assessment Deliverables
During the Practical Project you will submit three deliverables for assessment:
A Project Specification: A completed form of about 500 words. This carries 10% of the marks available.
A Report: a structured document of about 4,000 words, excluding appendices. This carries 60% of the marks available.
An Artefact: evidence of what you have achieved: as a website, a video or a PowerPoint presentation, equivalent to about 1,500 words. This carries 30% of the marks available.
5. The Process
The Practical Project consists of the following stages:
1. Concept: when you think very carefully about what you want to achieve. You will take your most important decisions at this stage.
2. Project Identification Document (PID): a template for this is posted on the module homepage on iLearn. Its purpose is to help RDI allocate a supervisor for you. You submit this by email to the RDI Dissertations Office.
3. The Project Specification: a template for this is posted on the module homepage on iLearn. The purpose of this is for you to define the framework of your project, and for your supervisor to check that you are heading in the right direction. You submit this by email to your supervisor, with a copy to the RDI Dissertations Office.
4. Submission: this is when you submit the report and the artefact according to the agreed schedule.
5. Assessment: when your work is assessed and a mark awarded.
6. Contents of the Report
The contents of the report are a matter for you. However, reports will typically have some or all of the following:
Title, table of contents and other front matter.
Statement of work.
Your report should be presented to a professional standard.
7. Delivery of the Artefact
On the title page of your report, you must write some instructions which will tell the examiner exactly how to access your artefact for evaluation.
Your artefact will be a website, a video that you have uploaded to a private channel on YouTube, or a PowerPoint presentation that you have uploaded to RDI’s Student Server.
We will not accept artefacts in any other form.
It is very important that the title page of your report contains full and accurate details about how to access the artefact, including URLs, user IDs and passwords if necessary. If the examiners cannot access your artefact, you will not get any credit for the work.
An ethics review is required for the Practical Project. This is a simple risk assessment process, which verifies that your project will do no harm, especially to young and vulnerable people.
The two main points to check are whether your Practical Project will involve anybody under the legal age of adulthood, and whether you have made best efforts to protect any personal data used in the work.
The ethics review is carried out at theProject Specification stage. Follow the instructions at the end of the Project Specification template.
Student: create, execute and deliver the project.
Practical Project module tutor: help the student up to the point where a supervisor is appointed.
Supervisor: review each draft chapter once, review the full draft report once,answer student questions. Supervisors will not look at draft artefacts.
RDI Student Support Coordinator: allocate a supervisor, help with module administration.
We wish you success with your Practical Project!
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