CISC 4900 Frequently Asked Questions
Independent and Group Projects

Table of Contents

This page covers frequently asked questions. It is a living document and as such contents can shift at anytime. Please refer to the menu on the left to access the Table of Contents.

1 General Questions

1.1 What is this class about? What am I supposed to do?

This is an independent and group project course. You as the student enrolled in the course will be responsible to put forth best faith effort to initiate the process of seeking out a project to work on independently, whether it be a solo or group project. You will be seeking out a project, figuring out acceptable tasks to complete, and reporting on your progress.

Students may use projects at work for their CISC 4900 project.

1.2 What would our schedules look like for the semester?

The class requires that you to allocate roughly 15 hours per week for the duration of the semester (10-20 hours a week for the duration of a typical regular session semester) to work on your project. Since you are creating the project proposal, you are designing your schedule.

Throughout the semester there are important deadlines to submit documents in order to meet term requirements. You are to create and maintain project documentation and turn in multiple versions: (1) Project Proposal, (2) Interim Report and Interim Project Log, and (3) Final Report with Final Project Log. With each of these deadlines forms are also required to fill out and submit. Students may turn these documents in earlier than the date in the course calendar but no more than a week in advance or a week late.

1.2.1 What happens if I can’t commit 15 hours a week due to life circumstances?

Please bear in mind that it takes time to complete a substantial project successfully. It is very easy to underestimate the amount of time required.

The 15 hours per week is an average estimate to help with planning out your schedule with consistent progress throughout the semester. We would like you to aim between 10-20 hours per week as much as possible. As long as the project meets the rigor requirement of the course, students have until the last day of classes (i.e. before Final Examinations period begins) to keep working on their projects.

The only caveat to this is if your project is part of an internship that has a required time commitment. Speak with the instructor of the section you are enrolled in to inquire further.

1.3 How do I enroll in 4900?

Students who wish to receive permission to register for CISC 4900 should contact Professor Chuang (email: chuang [at] sci.brooklyn.cuny.edu).

Please do not wait until the end of registration to contact Professor Chuang. The chair cannot give permission for this class.

1.3.1 I’m getting a message that says permission is required.

Students must request permission before you can register for the course.

Students who wish to receive permission to register for CISC 4900 should contact Professor Chuang (email: chuang [at] sci.brooklyn.cuny.edu) and sent a copy of their unofficial transcript.

1.3.2 What are the prerequisites for 4900?

Prerequisite to the course primarily includes 3130. Typically permission is granted to graduating seniors due to the high number of students graduating each semester — filling the available seats in 4900 to capacity.

Students generally do not take 4900 before their senior year, but students who present an appropriate project may be given permission before then depending on available capacity.

1.3.3 Is there a 4900 available during the Summer?

There is a small section available during Summer Session 1 that runs for five weeks. It is not recommended to complete 4900 during the summer, particularly without a full time internship.

Summer Session 2 is reserved for students with TTP residency and thus will not be open to permission requests.

1.3.4 Should I complete 4900 in the Fall/Spring or Summer?

It is recommended that students complete the course during Spring or Fall where you get more time to complete a substantial project (~15hrs/week); whereas the summer sessions are 5 weeks long and require a compressed, full-time load commitment (~40 hours per week).

1.4 My internship lasts the whole academic year, could I get internship credit for both?

Students who have already taken CISC 4900 may take CISC 4905 to continue their project or do an additional project. Please contact Professor Chuang for permission.

2 Project Acquisition

2.1 What is the due date to have an official team, project or internship?

The deadline is at the end of the third week or the drop deadline, whichever comes later.

2.2 Are there any restrictions on the project? (i.e. language restrictions)

There are no restrictions with using a programming language covered in the courses from this department. The suitability of the overall project completed is what matters, such as explaining the rationale for why you selected that language to complete your project.

2.3 How do I figure out what to work on?

The easiest way to think of this is to think of all the languages, platforms and interfaces you’ve learned during your time in the program. Additionally, you can also think of what languages, platforms and interfaces you’d like to work with as an entry-level professional. Once you’ve identified those, you can use that baseline to develop your project.

Another strategy you may employ in selecting a project topic is to consider career interests, perhaps scan some possible job listings for examples of qualifications and skills and see where you can fill gaps in your resume. Other avenues to consider could be a current place of employment, or with a faculty member who has active research projects. You might consider contacting a faculty member with whom you took a course; many faculty prefer students who come with their own project in mind, others assign projects.

2.4 What are the characteristics of a suitable project?

The characteristics of an acceptable project (i.e., one that will be likely to be most fitting for the class) are:

  • [ ] It should be related to your major; or at the very least one of the three CIS majors.
  • [ ] It should be of substantial nature, requiring approximately 15 hours per week of a well-defined time commitment
  • [ ] The sophistication level should be that of a student past the introductory sequence. The suitability of the project completed can impact the final grade possible. It is possible to complete a project satisfactorily and receive a grade below A if the project is a simple and straightforward application of elementary programming techniques.
  • [ ] It has an acceptable supervisor

2.5 What are the requirements for an internship instead of a project?

We highly encourage using internships as a project source for this course. The details of your role must meet the rigor required for this course and detailed in your project proposal, and your supervisor at the internship must provide a report of your performance at the end of the semester. See also the list of characteristics of an acceptable project above.

You will be describing in your project proposal document responsibilities over the course of the semester. Your job title for the internship is not the focal point, but rather the types of technical solutions you will be designing and/or implementing throughout the semester.

2.6 How in-depth of a design should the project be?

The sophistication level should be that of a student past the introductory sequence.

The suitability of the project completed can impact the final grade possible. It is possible to complete a project satisfactorily and receive a grade below A if the project is a simple and straightforward application of elementary programming techniques.

Err on the side of caution by providing as much detail as possible at the time of writing, and update as more details become available throughout the semester. For example you can go into details about the intended user interface, options the program can perform, and a written development guide.

2.7 Is it possible for us to come up with our own project idea and ask for approval?

Students are encouraged to find an internship or similar experience to have the experience of working on a real world based project.

You can maximize your chances of finding a project you are interested in with your top choice supervisor by starting your search early. Starting early opens up the possibility of devoting the initial part of the semester towards creating a detailed project proposal. The more you plan and spec out your project early on, the easier it is to implement your plan to achieve your project goals. During the first week of the semester we’ll share a list of faculty who have reached out to us, it is a short list of limited possibilities.

2.8 What are the conditions to obtain the project approval.

The conditions for approval vary based on your major, the source of the project, and the rigor of the project assignment. These will be delineated on the proposal form and you can consult the instructor of your section for clarification. Ultimately it is up to the supervisor who is willing to supervise you.

2.9 Will we be provided a list, of some sort, regarding open projects from different project providers (whether they be companies or internal college services)

Students will be provided a list after the semester has begun.

In the meantime, pay attention to emails or other announcements from the Magner Center, or CUNY 2X, TTP, and/or CUNY Tech Prep regarding internship offerings; these are all excellent opportunities for you to acquire a project for CISC 4900. In general, any project resulting from an offer originating from any of the above, or a BC faculty member, will be acceptable.

2.10 Would the CISC 4900 instructors be able to help me find a project?

The instructors will aid you in sourcing a project by the end of the semester if you are unable to find one by the earlier on in the semester. However, keep in mind that in order to find the project you prefer, it will require agency of the student. For example, faculty-sourced projects will not necessarily be in alignment with your technical preference.

3 Supervisors

3.1 What should I look for in a supervisor?

Your project supervisor will be providing an evaluation of your work. The characteristics of an acceptable supervisor are:

  • [ ] Someone in a position to provide you with guidance and feedback,
  • [ ] Can provide the 4900 instructor with a fair and accurate evaluation of your work,
  • [ ] Someone who has had at least 1 full year of professional, full-time work experience
  • [ ] Ideally the supervisor should be in a position to evaluate your work from a technical as well as professional perspective. For example it should not be a family/friend who has no technical expertise in the area of your project

3.2 Can my instructor be my supervisor?

The 4900 instructor is separate from the project supervisor role. Generally the answer is no, you should find someone in your professional network. The only exception is when an instructor has a project.

3.3 How do I find a supervisor for my project?

It will take some effort on your part to ask around people you know in your professional network who might be suitable for this role. You can continue a project that is a continuation from an internship and ask your manager to be your supervisor. You might consider contacting a faculty member with whom you took a course; many faculty prefer students who come with their own project in mind, others assign projects. There is a list of supervisors that have projects linked from the resources page.

3.4 Are the professors that volunteered to be supervisors expecting students

Anyone who has volunteered to be a supervisor is expecting students. Some prefer students who come with their own project, others assign projects. If you see their name on the list of supervisors, see if there is any additional information provided from them about what they’re looking for.

3.5 Is having a supervisor a requirement for the course?

Yes. You need someone who will be able to evaluate your work from a professional lens. The supervisor is specific to a project that you’re working on who you give regular updates to. The instructor of 4900 is typically not your supervisor.

4 Group Projects

4.1 If group members are in different sections of CISC 4900 can we still work together on the same project and same project supervisor?

Though there are different instructors on record, CISC 4900 will be run as one large cohort. You can work as a team with members from different sections

4.2 How can I find a group to work with the project?

You can communicate with your classmates to find out who is interested in working as a group.

You can join the CISC 4900 discord server to chat with other students. This discord group is meant for building community amongst the class.

Instructors will not be checking for new discord messages everyday. If you need to reach the instructor of your section, please use email. The discord server invite link will be provided during orientation.

4.3 Can a group project that I contribute to a lot be used as my class project?

The appropriateness is dependent on the timeline of the project, the rigor, and the degree of your contribution. Seek clarification from your instructor. Continuations of long term projects are encouraged. The scope of work that will count towards the class must be new work that is completed during the course of the current semester. Previously completed work cannot be used towards credit for the semester.

4.4 Can a group work on a single proposal or report?

Group members are working on a single project collaboratively, so it is acceptable to work on the same project proposal and the same group report. It is encouraged to work on a single set of documents (excluding individual project logs). Each of the reports should specify team member responsibilities and contributions.

Each team member should submit documents individually to receive credit for CISC 4900 term requirements.

5 Preparing Documents

5.1 When is the due date for the reports? Where do I get the project proposal?

Please refer to the course calendar for due dates.

You will be creating the proposal and providing updated reports throughout the semester. There is a template available to show you possible sections to include in your project proposal.

5.2 Is there a template for proposals?

The advice handbook has a section on some of the elements to include with your project proposal. The list of term requirements is the minimal amount of information to submit to be considered submitted. The rubric is the additional information you can add to the description of your project in order to enhance your proposal document to be of higher quality. There is also a template that shows some sections you could include with your project proposal.

5.3 I made an error in a document that I just submitted. Can I resubmit it?

Please feel free to resubmit any documents. The most recent copy will be the one that the instructor looks at when reviewing submissions.

5.4 Is there a grading rubric available?

This course combines both technical proficiency and soft skills in completing your semester project. See the relevant sections in the advice handbook relating to the rubrics for each of the documents that you’ll be creating this semester.

5.5 Do I need to give a presentation at the end of the project?

Yes, it will be a recorded presentation. You will be required to record a presentation of your project towards the end of the semester. This is typically a 10-15 minute length video, going a few minutes above is not an issue as instructors understand you are summarizing fifteen weeks of work and will have much to share.

5.6 Where can I find the forms?

Log in using the link available from the menu. There you will see all the course materials including the forms and course calendar.

6 Submit a question

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