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Civil Engg.

Plays critical role in shaping the career !

  •      The last academic related activity to be completed in the pursuit of four year B.Tech course is major project. Taking up a project work is quite different from studying a subject and passing in an examination conducted in the subject. A student is expected to do a project in one of the subjects that he/she has studied during the four years of study. Doing a project work is quite different from the limited number of exercises done in the laboratories during the course work. A well done project work brings out the inherent applicative skills of the student and the consequence of it is enhanced employability skills. It is therefore necessary that the student does not take the project as routine exercise and attaches special importance to it.

    Significance of the Project
    Project work plays a critical role in shaping the career of the student pursuing professional education in general and an engineering student in particular. Project work helps in showcasing the creative talent of the student. It is also a measure of the ability of the student to apply the theoretical inputs learnt during the course work of engineering to develop a prototype or working model of a real life problem that could eventually be developed in to a technology or product or service. In a nutshell, project work is that part of the coursework that can bring out the best from a student in terms of his/her employability and successful professional career. Therefore, it very important that a student takes proper care in choosing the right project and spends sufficient time in properly identifying the comfort zone, in terms of identification of the subject area, platform, skills needed, budgetary estimates, project viability within the time frame of the semester etc., before actually doing the project. Special care must be taken in identifying the organization wherefrom the project work can be done. In addition to the above factors, due importance should be given to how this project work would simplify the current levels of effort being invested to accomplish the same work in the absence of the proposed solution.
    How to choose a project work
    Probably the most difficult question almost every student needs to find a convincing and very clear answer, without any ambiguity is in choosing an appropriate project that would help him/her to demonstrate his/her acquired skills over the past four years. Clear answers need to be found for such questions as whether to do project in oneís own branch or to do an interdisciplinary project, which subject to choose from, whether to do individually or a team, how many members in the team, work division and division of responsibilities among the team members etc. In addition to this, it is very essential to have a clear knowledge of how the project would be evaluated so that the progress of the work can be presented in a fitting manner. As per the regulations of JNTUH, a major project has to be done by every student along with three theory subjects, comprehensive viva-voce and a technical seminar in fourth year second semester. A maximum of 200 marks are allotted for the major project. Of these 200 marks, 50 marks are allotted for internal evaluation and the remaining 150 marks for external evaluation. Students are evaluated for the progress of the project work for a maximum of 50 marks by the department. Marks are awarded to the student by a panel of evaluators appointed by the head of the department to which the student belongs. As per the directives of the University, each team of students has to be allotted an internal guide, who is a faculty member of the department. It is the responsibility of the internal guide to monitor the progress of the project on a regular basis. The internal guide shall have to liaison with the external guide allotted by the organization where the team of students takes up the project work. A panel is to be constituted by the head of the department with a minimum of four members. The members of the panel are head of the department, two senior faculty members of the department and the internal guide of the team. These 50 marks are normally evaluated in four to five components of the project work. External evaluation for 150 marks is evaluated by the panel of a minimum of five members of which one member is appointed by the University. During this evaluation, the team of students who have done the project should be able to demonstrate the project in working condition. Mostly the students will have to justify on the roles played by each member in the team, tests done on the project to ensure its correct functionality, any deviations from the initial proposal of the work, and time management components.
    How to choose a project
    Although there is no beaten track for selecting a project work to be done, a team of students not exceeding three in number should consult each other and the faculty guide to choose the project work to be done. Any of the following ways of choosing the project work can be taken as a possible means of choosing the project work.
    * Project identified and assigned by the internal faculty who are pursuing their research programs
    * Getting an internship sanctioned from an organization
    * Approaching a company to allot a project and help the company by doing the project work there
    * Develop a working model or a prototype for a proposed engineering concept in a published research journal
    * Develop a usable product for a non-governmental organization (NGO)
    * Identify a project work from the subject that interested the most during B.Tech course work
    * Develop an Ďappí for mobile phones
    Projects selected on the basis of one of the above methods ensure that the student follows procedures that are followed by the industry in developing the products or services. One has to be very cautious while choosing a project work. In the present scenario where project work has assumed the proportions of a business commodity, many opportunistic institutions have mushroomed in Hyderabad who sell readymade projects for almost throw away price, students are cautioned not fall prey to this trap as many of these projects are multiple times submitted project works and lack any creativity and justification. Some of these projects may not work also. This may lead to underperformance during viva-voce. Examiners try to ascertain the truth of the studentís involvement in the project by posing many questions on the difficulties, troubles, faced during execution of the project. Inability to answer such real-time questions lands the students in trouble of even being failed in the project work. They must not forget that project gives scope for early job opportunity and any compromise here will affect the confidence levels with which one can face interview board. Most of these substandard institutions attempt to push their courses to the students in the name of the projects.
    Time available for the project work
    Before taking up a project work one should have a complete understanding of the time requirements that are demanded by the various activities that comprise the. To do a project at B.Tech level normally 250 to 300 man hours are required. Different phases in the project and the most probable time each of them requires in hours is described below.
    a) Problem definition: This is the starting point of the project. The students team is should spend time in understanding the problem assigned to them or chosen by them proposed to be implemented as project. This requires around 40 hours.
    b) Literature survey: Once the problem is clearly defined, the next step is to gather information about existing setup in which the organization is working, expected benefits by implementing the project in the organization, degree of automation the proposed project is likely to offer, presently available in the market that can solve the problem, their cost implications and such other components. This phase requires about 35 to 40% of the total project time (80-100 hours).
    c) Design: The next step is to develop a design model that serves as the prototype for implementation. At the same time, it is also required to identify and design testing strategies, project acceptance criteria also. This requires around 40% of project time.
    d) Implementation: The last phase in the project work is implementation and results verification. If the first two phases are properly defined, then this phase requires about 20% of the time. In addition to these phases, time needs to be allocated for report writing and documentation. Also, at regular intervals of time, the team will be required to give a power point presentation of the progress of the project work to the department. Therefore, students should plan properly and strictly adhere to the time schedules as given by the department.
    Role of Internal guide in the project work
    Internal guide plays a critical role in making the students plan and implement their project work as per the schedules of the department as well as guide the students wherever they need help from the faculty. Internal guide can make the students work for their projects. Particularly during the initial phases of the project, students depend heavily on the faculty. Internal guide should guide the students in preparing the power point presentations of the various stages of the progress of the project, certify them and instill confidence in the student teams and encourage them to perform better during interaction sessions. If the students can perform better before the internal panel, they can also perfume better before the external panel also. Internal faculty should take initiative in scheduling the progress reports of the students as per the following recommended division of the internal marks of 50.

    Steps to be taken while report writing
    * Consult the internal guide and get to know the specifications as prescribed by the department for report writing
    * Get a copy of the report thoroughly evaluated by the internal guide before proceeding for the printing and binding work.
    * Use standard quality Bond papers only.
    * Print on one side of the paper only
    * Maintain double spacing between lines
    * Give proper serial numbers to the chapters in the report
    * Number the various sub-topics properly
    * Do not print more than 25 lines per page.
    * Number the tables and diagrams properly
    * Mention clearly the extensions possible to the project in future
    * Mention the list of books referred, research papers/journals referred, websites referred to in the bibliography/ references. Take care not to mention websites like www.Google.com, www.Wikipedia.com etc.
    * Include names of all those who helped directly or indirectly in completing the project work completely. This may include parents, friends, all the faculty who taught the subjects etc

     
    N M S Desai

    Associate Professor

    Head,CSE, KITE.

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