Initial Suggestions for Supervising and Mentoring Undergraduate Student Projects Nasser M. Sabah∗
Engineering Profession Department, Palestine Technical College, Deir El-balah City, Gaza Strip, Palestine
ABSTRACT Project work is scheduled in the ﬁnal year study of undergraduate students in computer system engineering and other relevant programs. The ﬁnal project provides students the opportunity to integrate all the skills and knowledge learnt from previous studies into real practice. This paper presents the practical supervision in guiding students throughout the project development. Based on the experience of student projects supervision, peer interaction, teamwork environment and decision making are the most factors that affect the quality of student projects. It is more efﬁcient to adopt multiple formal and informal communication channels between supervisor and students alongside the traditional methods. Peer interaction is one of the key elements that support deep learning; it creates more competitive working environment and has a positive effect on individual student motivation. Furthermore, one of the most inﬂuential factors that affect the quality of student projects is the student’s ability to work collaboratively in a teamwork environment. When an extreme circumstance occurs, the supervisor only advices students on all possible solutions and the corresponding consequences. Students decide on which action to take in resolving the encountered problem. This gives students more responsibility to overcome the encountered problems during the research project effectively and able students to retain individual responsibility for each successive task of data collection, analysis and evaluation. KEY WORDS: Undergraduate project; effective project supervision; project team management; research process; teamwork environment
1. INTRODUCTION Graduation project in the undergraduate study is an important learning activity and has several educational functions. It provides the opportunity to students to integrate their coursework knowledge with professional applications. Also, it involves not only the implementation of research methods but the ability to acquire skills, to add to one’s own body of knowledge and manage a project work. Nevertheless, it provides preliminary research training for those students who intend to pursue a research career. The success of any project work depends on the quality of supervision that the students receive, as well as the hard work and initiative of the students themselves. Many students and supervisors are not aware that project work is more demanding than other kinds of teaching and learning. It has its rewards in terms of increased conﬁdence as well as the development of skills associated with researching and writing. At the undergraduate project level, independent inquiry, exercise of judgment and a reasonable standard of presentation of results are required. Also, the written project should be well-structured and convincing, but no supervisor is expected to receive a signiﬁcant contribution to new knowledge from a project work. Students are required to complete a project work at their ﬁnal year of the undergraduate level. Students integrate all knowledge and skills obtained from the fundamental and specialized subjects ∗ Correspondence
to: Engineering Profession Department, Palestine Technical College, Deir El-balah City, Gaza Strip, Palestine Email: email@example.com
NASSER M. SABAH
into the ﬁnal project work. Also, they are expected to do research to acquire the necessary information and subsequently apply their skills collectively to achieve the project objectives. However, transforming the gained knowledge and skills into a practical project is not as easy as students may have thought in the beginning of their project. A project work always involves novelty for students and researchers....