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CA 638P

Capstone Project Guideline for students


The following guidelines outline the key stages and associated deliverables of the capstone project
and provide guidance on the capstone project process and the management thereof. The capstone
project carries a significant credit allocation of 18 credits and has a workload associated with it
which spans more than one semester. The capstone project is designed to allow demonstration of a
significant number of the programme learning outcomes. These guidelines are written to outline the
key components of the capstone project and to assist in its completion.

The guidelines cover the following topics:

1. Capstone Project Key Stages and Milestones


2. Capstone Project Key Dates
3. Capstone Project Supervision
4. Managing the relationship between student and supervisor
5. Meetings and Timeframes
6. Plagiarism and Ethics
7. Academic Citing and Referencing
8. Useful Links
9. Grading Template

These areas are elaborated on in the following sections and should be used in conjunction with
programme specific guidelines.

1. Capstone Project Key Stages and Milestones


STAGE 1. Identification of Capstone Project Topic

a. You may propose your own topic or select one suggested by a faculty member. You may approach
any of the members available on campus with the proposed topic(s) but make sure that you have
completed the Capstone Project Proposal form beforehand. The team will guide you to a final choice
of topic and to finalisation of the Capstone Project Proposal form.

b. The identification of the proposed capstone project topic(s) is an important record of the
achievement of STAGE 1 and must be recorded on the Capstone Project Proposal form.

STAGE 2. Allocation of Capstone Project Supervisor

a. Once you have finalised the Capstone Project Proposal form in STAGE 2. the details will be
matched with the research interests of faculty and a potential supervisor will be identified
(see example of some of the research interests below). You will then be notified of your
potential supervisor(s).

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Research Interest of faculty members in DCU

Optimisation & decisioning in particular with regard to the mathematical properties of


the methodologies and algorithms used for optimisation & decisioning.

The field of computer vision and pattern recognition with a focus on medical image
analysis.

Applied Machine Learning, Spatial Big Data, Robotics, and Public and Digital Health.

Strategic Information Systems, Knowledge Management, Cloud Computing, Systems and


Design

Data mining, Machine learning, Computational Statistics, Artificial Intelligence

Human-Computer interaction, Internet of Things, E-Systems

b. Once you have been notified of your potential supervisor(s), it is your responsibility to contact
them to discuss your proposed capstone project and to secure their agreed assignment to your
project (via signature on the Capstone Project Proposal form). Be aware that you may need to meet
with your potential supervisor(s) a few times before they are happy with your proposed capstone
project and the ethics approval of your data handling process.

c. Note that It is a MANDATORY requirement for progression to STAGE 2 that a member of faculty
be officially secured as the supervisor of your capstone project and that any ethics approval for data
handling be finalised. Therefore, in STAGE 1 DO NOT DELAY in
- identifying a CAPSTONE PROJECT TOPIC
- securing agreed assignment of a SUPERVISOR to your capstone project
- ensuring ETHICS APPROVAL of your data handling process.

If, despite your best efforts, you have not been successful in securing a Supervisor or in completing
the ethics approval, it is therefore critical that you contact the Capstone Project Module Coordinator
or the Programme Director in good time (i.e. at least one full week in advance) to resolve the issue.

d. The capstone project proposal supervisor allocation (including ethics approval) is an important
record of the achievement of STAGE 2 and must be recorded on the Capstone Project Proposal
form.

Note: that the School of Computing is not in general in a position to supply special hardware /
software for projects and any special needs in this respect should be provided by the student.

STAGE 3. Approval of Proposed Capstone Topic

a. Once you have completed STAGE 2, you must present your proposed capstone project to the
Approval Panel via a 5 minute presentation.

b. The 5 minute presentation should consist of a verbal explanation of the various sections of your
proposed capstone project and you should be prepared to answer some questions posed by the
Approval Panel.

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c. You do not need to plan for an in-depth presentation as the time is limited. If there is anything
you want to show the panel to help explain a point, you can bring a printout of it, or refer briefly to
other sources on your laptop / tablet / mobile screen.

d. The Approval Panel Timetable will be available online and will also be notified to you by email.

e. Marks are not awarded for STAGE 3 - however, it is a milestone and passing STAGE 3 is
compulsory in order to move forward to STAGE 4 and to continue with your capstone project.

f. The capstone project proposal approval is an important record of the achievement of STAGE 3
and must be recorded on the Capstone Project Proposal form.

STAGE 4. Literature Review Completion


a. In order to ensure that your capstone project stays on track a key milestone will be the literature
review and it is advised that this be submitted to your supervisor for review and until your
supervisor is happy that an acceptable literature review has been completed. With this in mind you
must submit this review online and supervisors will be asked to approve their respective students.

b. The literature review is about researching and summarising work carried out by other researchers
that is relevant to your topic. The reason for carrying out such a review is for the purpose of
positioning the context of your work and to identify and clarify the added value of your specific
piece of work. The literature review should not be restricted to simply an observational list of
relevant work but should contain a short summary of the researcher’s work (the objective,
methodology used, data used, results etc) and most importantly should also provide a short critique
of the researcher’s work.

c. It is vitally important in the literature review and throughout your capstone project that you
recognise any third party material or code utilised (please refer to the plagiarism policy material
below for further details regarding the use of third party materials in your project work.

STAGE 5. Submission of Capstone Project Final Report

a. All students will be expected to submit a Capstone Project Final Report at this stage. The
contents of the report will be generically divided into sections – see the outline titles below. The
specific emphasis on content may differ from one project to the other based upon the nature of the
capstone project:

– the more practical the route (e.g. stemming from an identified real world problem), the more
emphasis there will be on the application and on the practical investigation work (be it in controlled
conditions such as a laboratory experiment or in uncontrolled conditions such as fieldwork)

-the more theoretical the route (e.g. stemming from an academic issue), the more emphasis there
will be on the methodological and technical detail (be it through abstract arguments, or simulations
or constructed experiments)

Note: Regardless of the route your capstone project emanates from you will still need to address
both the theoretical and practical aspects – so those stemming from a more practical route will still

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need a sound theoretical basis and those stemming from a more theoretical route will still need a
view of the practical implications of the work in the real world.

CAPSTONE PROJECT TYPES

CAPSTONE PROJECTS

Theoretical …… Hybrid …… Practical

Data Analytics assessed from an Data Analytics applied to a Data Analytics applied to an
academic perspective - e.g. constructed problem e.g. in identified real world problem –
Mathematical, Technological etc Health, Finance, Social etc e.g. in Health, Finance, Social
etc

b. The capstone project is a rigorous piece of research work and is a crucial component of the
Master’s in Computing (Data Analytics) programme and as such the Capstone Project Final Report
must reflect the effort that will be required to complete the research and also must reflect the
importance of the capstone project within the programme. All Capstone Projects Final Reports
(irrespective of whether they stem from the practical or theoretical route) should include the
contents as outlined below. Practical or real-world based Capstone Project Final Reports are more
likely to have a larger emphasis on sections 4. & 5. whereas theoretical based Capstone Project Final
Reports are more likely to have a larger emphasis on sections 3. & 4.

Capstone Project Table of Contents should include the below


1. Introduction
2. Literature Review
3. Methodology
4. Data Collection & Analysis
5. Solution Implementation
6. Conclusion

c. To help understand which spectrum a Capstone Project Final Report would lean towards, a list of
sample titles is listed below.

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Table of Contents of Capstone Project Final Report

Theoretical
Practical

d. Examples of Capstone Projects and their practical or theoretical nature are listed below.

Sample Capstone Project Titles that lean towards;

PRACTICAL THEORETICAL
Rea- world based problem A speculative analytical/logical problem
Recognising 3D human movement from various A mathematical comparison of machine learning
viewpoints algorithms and statistical algorithms and the
conditions under which they may be equivalent
A Comparative Study of Security Best-Practices for Development of a new model encompassing
Migration to Public Cloud Platforms and Their Effects MCDM and MILP to produce a balanced renewable
on Performance and Cost energy portfolio mix
Categorisation of the sentiments expressed in Modelling combinatorial problems using Markov
Tweets using clustering chains and evolutionary algorithms
Analysis of the Advanced Encryption Standard (AES) Convolutional Neural Networks for Classification
on ARM platform and Text Detection

Comparison study on Cloud Hadoop Managed Analysis of match statistics as a method of


Services Provided by Amazon EMR, Google Dataproc predicting player performance in Fantasy Premier
and Azure HDinsight League

e. Students must ensure that the capstone project is their own work and must not incorporate
material which has been used for another degree without acknowledgement. Indeed
throughout the capstone project students must identify any third party material or code utilised
which is not their own work by referencing and acknowledgement - that is projects cannot
plagiarise the work of others (please refer to the plagiarism policy material below for further
details regarding the use of third party materials in your project work.
.

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STAGE 6. Examination by presentation of Capstone Project Final Report
a. Once you have completed your capstone project you will be required to present your Capstone
Project Final Report at a viva style hearing. Your capstone project will then be assessed by two
examiners using both the contents of the Capstone Project Final Report and also your performance
in this presentation. As such the presentation is therefore an important vehicle by which you can
explain your capstone project. That is, the Capstone Project Final Report and the presentation
thereof are the two key assessment artefacts for your capstone project.

b. Marking guidelines are provided below.

c. Presentations should last no more than 30 minutes and will be followed by questioning up to a
maximum of 30 minutes.

d. also require that you prepare a Poster for the Poster Day event and submit an Academic Paper for
publication – both of which are more concise extracts of your work as presented in the Capstone
Final Report (more details will be provided on these next semester)

d. Note There are no same year re-sits for the capstone project. If you fail, you will have to repeat
the project the following year. If you defer, you have to defer to the following year.

2. Capstone Project Key Dates

Key Dates/Deadlines

2019 (Semester 1)

STAGE 1
Identification of Capstone Project Topic Research capstone by 21/ September/2019
project Ideas & for me to do
produce shortlist of
capstone project
proposals

STAGE 2
Allocation of Capstone Project Supervisor Complete draft by 28/ September/2019
capstone project for me to do
proposal details on
Capstone Project
Proposal form(s)

Discuss capstone
project proposal with by 12/October/2019
DCU, Choose capstone submission (electronic
project proposal topic, cope for any Dr.)
Finalise capstone
project proposal
details on Capstone
Project Proposal form

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Supervisor allocation

by 26/October/2019

STAGE 3
Approval of Proposed Capstone Topic Present capstone w/c 10/November/2019
project proposal to (to be confirmed)
NOTE: Approval Panel
ETHICS APPROVAL MUST BE FINALISED
BEFOREHAND. ANY PROPOPSALS WITHOUT
ETHICS APPROVAL CANNOT BE APPROVED.

2020 (Semester 2)

STAGE 4
Literature Review Completion by 15/Jan/2020

STAGE 5
Submission of Capstone Project Final Report by 22/Mar/2020

STAGE 6
Examination by presentation of Capstone
Project Final Report w/c 30/Mar/ 2020
(to be confirmed)

Poster & Academic Paper (dates to be confirmed


next semester)

3. Capstone Project Supervision


All students must have an academic supervisory team comprised of faculty members from the
School of Computing the Faculty of Computer & Information Science. The team usually consists
of one but may sometimes include an additional member – e.g. an additional supervisor might
be required for logistical reasons or if the project is industry-related, the student might have a
sponsor from the associated organisation. Either way, an academic supervisory team is always
required.

3.1 Role of the Student

The success or failure of the capstone project is the responsibility of each student. The
supervisors are there to guide and assist the student in reaching their goal. While decisions
regarding the activities to be undertaken for the capstone project will be made in conjunction
with the supervisors, it is not the supervisor’s role to ensure that these tasks are completed. A
careful record of all meetings between supervisors and student (including dates, actions agreed
and deadlines set) should be kept. Students are expected to attend capstone project
workshops/seminars as agreed with their supervisors.

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Role of the Supervisors

The supervisors facilitate the development, by the student, of attainable goals and guide the
student towards completion of the capstone project within a disciplinary or interdisciplinary
area. If a student is not progressing according to the agreed capstone project schedule, the
supervisors should discuss this with the student.

The capstone project supervisors will therefore:

 Discuss the work schedule of the capstone project, plan progress and identify potential
problem areas if possible
 Advise the student on general aspects of the capstone project
 Discuss with students any ethical issues associated with their capstone project and
advise accordingly
 Attend interim presentations
 Assess and give feedback on the student’s performance throughout the duration of the
capstone project
 Read drafts of elements of the capstone project, for example chapters, as agreed in the
schedule and give feedback in a timely manner

The supervisors are not responsible for the following:

 Proof reading drafts for grammatical and spelling mistakes or proving feedback on full
drafts of any capstone project work
 Arranging supervision sessions. This should be agreed and arranged as per the schedule.
A careful record to be kept of all meetings, including dates, action agreed and deadlines
set.

4. Managing the relationship between student and supervisor


It is important for the student to develop a sense of ownership and responsibility for their
capstone project. In supervisor-student relationships, responsibility is two-way. A student will
have expectations in terms of support and advice from the supervisors and supervisors will have
expectations regarding independent research by the student, time-keeping, regularity of work
and reporting etc. Ultimately it is the student’s capstone project. If the student or supervisors
feel the relationship is becoming difficult this should be discussed at a meeting to determine a
solution. However, if a solution is not found the matter should be brought to the attention of the
Module Co-ordinator as soon as possible in the first instance and then the Programme Director if
no resolution has been found. The relationship should not be allowed to deteriorate to the point
where it has a serious impact on the likelihood of the capstone project being completed.

5. Meetings and Timeframes


Once supervisors have been assigned there will be an introductory/first meeting called by the
supervisory team. This should occur in w/c 27th October 2019. At this meeting the proposed
capstone project topic should be discussed and a schedule of meetings agreed between the

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student and supervisors – see sample Gantt chart below showing planned tasks and milestone
timing.

Semester 1 Semester 2

Task Sep Oct Nov Dec Jan Feb Mar Apr

Research capstone
project Ideas & produce
shortlist of capstone
project proposals
Complete draft
capstone project
proposal details on
Capstone Project
Proposal form(s)
Discuss capstone
project proposal with
DCU, Choose capstone
project proposal topic,
Finalise capstone
project proposal details
on Capstone Project
Proposal form
Supervisor allocation

ETHICS APPROVAL

Present capstone
project proposal to
Approval Panel
Devise Meeting
Schedule with
Supervisor

Literature Review

Data Collection

Analysis

Drafts of Capstone
Project Final Report

Capstone Project Final


Report

Note: significant deviation by the student from the agreed schedule may lead to the termination
of the project.

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A preliminary work schedule will be discussed including:

 when and how often student/supervisors meetings should occur


 what the milestones (deliverables and timings) for the capstone project will be, including
submission of draft elements as appropriate and corresponding to the critical dates
published for the capstone project
 what resources, if any, are needed
 what ethical issues, if any, need to be considered

It can be useful to have a ‘checklist’ or agenda for all student/supervisor meetings to ensure that all
relevant topics are covered. This can also be used to record notes about the discussion and any
decisions reached.

Records of discussion and agreed actions of the capstone project should then be kept. These records
can be housed with the supervisor and should be recorded electronically on Gitlab (details on set up
and use will be provided later). Records should be retained until completion of the project and the
graduation of the student. A template for meeting records can be seen below;

Meeting records

Student Name: Student ID:

School: Faculty:

Capstone Project Title:

Supervisor/s

Meeting Date: Duration of Meeting:

Expected date of final submission

Work reviewed at current meeting:

Feedback and Issues identified and discussed:

Agreed actions:

Supervisor’s initials and date: Student’s signature and date:

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Date of next meeting: Date for submission of work prior to next meeting:

6. Plagiarism and Ethics


a. Plagiarism
All students must comply with DCU Academic Integrity and Plagiarism policy which can be found at:
CA policies
o CA policy on Plagiarism
o CA policy on Intellectual Property Rights
o CA policy on Project Ethics

b. Ethics
All students must comply with Ethical norms and DCU Ethics policies. In the event that ethical issues
arise within the study, these must be brought to the attention of the supervisor immediately.
Guidance must be sought with the appropriate stakeholders in Schools, Faculty and at University
level under the auspices of the Research Ethics Committee. An explanatory page on potential Ethical
Approval requirements for your project can be found here:
Ethical Approval Considerations/Explanations

7. Academic Citing and Referencing


Citing and Referencing norms can be programme and/or discipline specific. Students should ensure
that they implement the appropriate academic citing and referencing norms associated with their
area of study. A general guide for citing and referencing will be provided by your supervisors but
information can be found in DCU Citing and Referencing Guide.

8. Useful Links
Documents
 Link to the IEEE site where you may obtain capstone project paper template.
Latex
 Latex for Windows
 Share Latex
Sample online resources
 Writing papers tips
 Stallings resources for CS students
 How to read an engineering research paper
 IEEE Security and Privacy Magazine
 IEEE Trans. on Information Forensics and Security
 Proc. of the IEEE Symposium on Security and Privacy
 ACM Trans. on Information and System Security
 ACM Trans. on Software Engineering and Methodology
 IEEE Trans. on Software Engineering

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9. Grading template

Student Name: Capstone Project Title:

Date of assessment:

Assessor 1: Assessor 2: Assessor 3:

Capstone Project Proposal: 0% (Compulsory pass)

1. How complex is the capstone project topic?


2. Is the capstone project topic a valid, interesting research question?
3. Is the methodology proposed consistent with and appropriate to the research question?

Technical difficulty of project: 15%

1. What level of challenge has the student faced in completing their capstone project? (0-5)
2. Has the student designed, implemented or utilized complex algorithms or other techniques?
(0-5)
3. Does this capstone project go beyond what one might reasonably expect at undergraduate
level? (0-5)

Student's contribution, input and work: 40%

1. How much work has the student put into their capstone project? (0-10)
2. Has the student shown independent effort and initiative? (0-10)
3. Has the student shown creativity in their approach? (0-10)
4. Does the student clearly demonstrate that they have learned from the experience of
completing their capstone project? (0-10)

Quality of the Capstone Project Final Report?: (25%)

1. How well has the report been structured? (0-5)


2. Does the report clearly describe the problem being researched? (0-5)
3. How well has relevant related work been described and cited? (0-5)
4. How well has implementation (or other) details been described? (0-5)
5. How well have any results been evaluated and critically analysed? (0-5)

General: (10%)

1. Is the capstone project clearly the students own work? , if no then all marks are set to 0
2. Does the capstone project clearly show evidence of research on the part of the student? (0-
5)
3. Has the student demonstrated that they have engaged with their supervisory team? (0-5)

SUB TOTAL : ………. / 90

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Quality of the Final Presentation: (10%)

1. How well did the student present their work?


2. Was the presentation clearly and articulately delivered? (0-4)
3. Were all questions answered to a satisfactory standard? (0-6)

TOTAL MARK: ………. / 100

COMMENTS (REQUIRED)
Please provide comments on the capstone project in support of the marks you have given above.

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