CSCI 487 Senior Project
Getting Started

Finding a Project Topic

The general idea of this course is to simulate a computer consulting job. In this sense, the instructor of the course is the boss of our computer consulting organization, and the sponsor of your project fills the role of the client for whom some meaningful work is to be done. You are the computer consultant who organizes and carries out the project, attempting to meet the needs of the client (sponsor) and also attempting to meet the requirements of the boss (instructor). The only way you can succeed is by actually completing the project by the end of the semester.

There are two ways to find a project topic suitable for this course:

  1. develop a project topic on your own
  2. review file of possible project topics and sponsors

In either case, your project should involve a total amount of work roughly equivalent to a typical three semester-hour course and should provide an opportunity for you to make use of your computer expertise to carry out some meaningful, significant computer development task.

The following rules, or restrictions, apply to all projects:

  1. Your project must have one non-student person who agrees to serve as the sponsor of the project.
  2. Except in special circumstances approved in advance by the instructor, your sponsor must be located in northern Mississippi (preferably on campus or in the local community).
  3. Your sponsor cannot be related to you.
  4. Even if your sponsor is someone with whom you have had, will have, or would like to have, paid employment, your project should involve unpaid labor on your part.
  5. Most projects involve only one student; a few projects involve teams of two students; only under exceptional circumstances will teams of more than two students work on the same project. If you wish to form a team for completion of your requirements for this course, make sure that the instructor approves this in advance, before you begin work on the project.
  6. It is your responsibility to find a project and a sponsor, and it is your responsibility to determine that the project can be completed by the last day of classes for the current semester.
  7. It is your responsibility to make sure that your project is approved by the instructor and the sponsor, and that the work which you undertake satisfies the expectations of both instructor and sponsor.
  8. It is your responsibility to make sure that hardware and software needed for completion of your project is available, or will be available soon enough for you to finish your project by the last day of classes for the current semester.
  9. Because the Honor Code is in effect for all aspects of this course, it is your responsibility to do all needed work involved in your project by yourself, without assistance from other students, tutors, computer consultants, etc.
  10. It is your responsibility to ensure that your project conforms to the law and principles of professional ethics. In particular, no aspect of your project may involve any form of software piracy, copying, or plagiarism.

Other aspects of the process of finding and defining a project topic will be discussed in class. During the first few days of the semester, please do not hesitate to stop by the instructor's office to discuss any questions concerning your proposed topic. Small problems can easily be worked out early in the semester; small problems, difficulties, or ambiguities that are ignored can turn into major headaches for you and your sponsor late in the semester!