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UCL Mechanical Engineering
Faculty of Engineering Sciences

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MECHM010 Group Design Project

For this module students are required to work on a specific topic under the supervision of a member of the academic staff. The project is similar in some ways to the project carried out in student’s third year, however the underlying emphasis of the MECHM010 project is on design and group work. Most projects are therefore concerned with solving a particular engineering problem through appropriate design of components, apparatus or systems. Students are thus expected to combine the functions of investigation, analysis, and design in their work. Additionally, they are encouraged to follow up designs with a degree of development which usually means at least the partial realisation of ideas through construction and/or testing. Students are also encouraged to view the project as more than just a technical challenge and consider business/financial matters.. Issues of manufacturability, the raising of funding/sponsorship and the advertisement of activities through a website are prime examples of this.

The group design project is a course unit that aims to present students with challenging engineering problems within a working environment that requires group action. To facilitate this, projects constitute a Sub-Project within a larger main project context. A group of between 4-6 students is responsible for one Main Project context, with each student within the group being responsible for their own Sub-Project. The project work is assessed at regular intervals during the academic year with separate assessments being applied to both the main group as a whole and the individual student via the Sub-Project. Usually only enough Main Project contexts are put forward by various members of staff for the requisite number of groups to encourage competition in the project award process. The members of staff associated with each group act as general Group Coordinators but their role is not that of a direct supervisor, since the project group is expected to be substantially self-supervised.

The basic project module is also supplemented by a coordinated programme of group working meetings, which are designed to assist groups in setting and meeting goals, identifying strengths and weaknesses and in disseminating and presenting their work. In essence, the programme focuses upon the soft skills which most employers would agree are central to the success of any project, irrespective of the technical challenges to be overcome.

Code: MECHM010
Alt Codes: None
Title: Group Design Project
Level 4
Start: September
End: June
Taught by: Dr. Adam Wojcik (Module Coordinator)

Prerequisites

This is a level 4 course and students are expected to have an advanced basis in all taught aspects of mechanical engineering, including materials selection, engineering drawing and design, structural mechanics, as well as other aspects (such as economic factors) and/or particular parts of the syllabus that pertain to the project undertaken. Additionally some experience of group working and of managing and dealing with team working aspects, will be beneficial to those undertaking this course.

Method of Instruction

The minor taught content course is delivered using a tutorial methodology. The remaining part of the course is non-taught group work, and is essentially self-supervised and.

MECHM010 Group Design Project

Assessment

At the start of the next academic year, a timetable showing the dates of all the formal events connected with the assessment of the project is generated. The elements involved in the assessment of the work are outlined below:

1. Log-book: Students are required to keep a log-book as a record of your personal input into the project. An A4 leverarch file is an appropriate format. The log-book should contain a chronological record, written as the work proceeds, of all the project work which is done, including dates and notes of meetings with your Group Page | 2 Coordinator(s), group members etc., notes on background reading, references, analytical work, drawings, programs, experimental measurements etc. The log-book brought for assessment to all meetings with the project assessment panel and also submitted for marking at various times in the second term. Both an individual and a Group log book are maintained.

2. Initial Presentations, and Progress Reports: During the forthcoming year, an initial presentation is arranged at which each student group will present and discuss their work with a panel of staff members. This meeting will be early in the Autumn term and is concerned with outline plans for the project work. These will have been separately submitted ahead of the meeting in the form of individual and group reports, which are separately assessed. At the beginning of the Spring term, a second set of reports is due and an interim presentation is timetabled. The final (overall) presentation is held in the third term at which stage the work should be completed and students should be in a position to describe the achievements made. The bulk of the marks associated with the Group Project rest with the submission of the final Individual and Group reports, which are due after this final presentation. Students are required to bring their log books to each presentation, so that they can be marked. In general, some of the assessments listed here will be group based, others will be individually based. Normally, every time an individual progress report is submitted, the group will be expected to submit a single group progress report. Detailed instructions for submission of the documents associated with these requirements are published in advance of the dates for submission.

3. Final Presentation: This takes place in the third term, and student groups are required to prepare a 20-30 minute presentation on the complete project and to present this orally to panel examiners and a gathered audience. All the members of a group are expected to contribute to the presentation. An abstract of the presentation will need to be submitted to the panel before the meeting. The presentation will be followed by a question and answer session of 30-40 minutes. PC based visuals/PowerPoint and bench top demonstrations are all permitted. The assessment mark is based on a variety of criteria such as technical content, clarity and defence during questioning.

4. Final Report: Students are required to submit two copies of a final report describing their completed Sub-Project, and how it fitted into the overall group context. Details of this assessment (e.g. recommended length (about 10k words), format, etc.) are published closer to the time of submission. There will also be a final Group report to submit (also two copies). The overall mark for each student is a generated via a weighted aggregation of all the separate individual and group assessments and a final individual/group weighting applied overall.

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