Logistics for Clients

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This briefing information is provided for potential client/mentors of group design project teams.

Preparation

We will work with you to define a reasonably open-ended one-paragraph design brief, in a technical and business area that interests you. For more information, see What makes a good project?. The design briefs are pitched to students in November, after which they express their preferences. A few briefs are usually cancelled at this stage.

Kick-off

Students are assigned to projects, in teams of 5 or 6, at the start of term in mid-January. Some groups may need to contact clients by email, to obtain specific technical resources, data etc., but further contact is not normally required at this stage.

Progress meetings

The group project course runs for 8 weeks, in January-March each year. Client contact with the groups involves four one-hour progress meetings in weeks 1, 2, 4 and 6 of the project. Actual dates in the current year will be advertised in the course timetable: https://www.cst.cam.ac.uk/teaching/part-ib/group-projects/timetable (though revised timetable for Covid restraints is still being finalised)


Note that clients are not required to attend the briefing lecture in November or project kick-off session in January. They are welcome to view (online for 2022 due to the Covid-19 pandemic) the public demonstration as guests of the Computer Lab, but this is not essential.

Each meeting is scheduled within a three-day period and the student group is tasked with scheduling each meeting with you in that period. For 2022 many meetings are expected to take place online, although students may appreciate the opportunity to meet their client in person, where this is convenient for you.

Please let us know if a student fails to come to a meeting. Attendance is compulsory, and vigorously enforced. If a student does not turn up, this is most often a welfare problem, so it is important that we learn of it as soon as possible in order to get assistance from the student's college.

Deliverables

The team’s project manager must send you any deliverable documents by email before noon on the day before the meeting. Email delivery must be copied to the course administrators.

Public demonstration

At the end of the term, groups are required first to demonstrate their achievements to staff, other students and guests, For 2022, these demonstrations will take the form of pre-recorded videos,

Presentations are followed by a vote, and the award of a prize to the group voted the best. We hope you are able to participate, but it is not essential.

A selection of presentations from previous years:

Correspondence

Please send all official correspondence, especially notes on attendance or other problems during the project, to group-project@cl.cam.ac.uk Email sent to this address is received by the course directors (for projects in Lent term 2022, these will be Robert Harle and Alan Blackwell), and by the undergraduate student administrators (in 2021/22, these will be Marion Cobby and Helen Neal)

Assessment

The client is not required to assess or grade the students. It is Computer Laboratory policy to award a flat mark (called a “tick”) for adequate participation in a group project (actually four ticks – one based on group performance, and three on performance of each individual within the group). The standard of adequate performance is determined by independent examiners, based on project documentation submitted by students. Clients are simply requested to inform the course administrators if any group member fails to attend, or seems unwilling / unable to contribute to discussion. These precautions are mainly motivated by concern for student welfare. Reports from the client are not the sole grounds for withholding a tick, but students are told that if they fail to attend meetings, this will jeopardize their chances of getting the tick. It is important that we know this as soon as possible, so that students can receive tutorial or pastoral support if necessary.

Data Protection

We publish the name of the client, and keep these in an open public archive as with academic publications. Personal details can be removed from the archive on request, but please note that personal mentorship by a named professional is an essential feature of the course.