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AMME5020: Capstone Project A (2020 - Semester 1)

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Unit: AMME5020: Capstone Project A (6 CP)
Mode: Normal-Day
On Offer: Yes
Level: Postgraduate
Faculty/School: School of Aerospace, Mechanical & Mechatronic Engineering
Unit Coordinator/s: Dr Fiford, Rod
Session options: Semester 1, Semester 2
Versions for this Unit:
Site(s) for this Unit:
Campus: Camperdown/Darlington
Pre-Requisites: 96 cp from MPE degree program or 48 cp from the MPE(Accel) program or 24 cp from the ME program (including any credit for previous study).
Prohibitions: AMME5222 OR AMME5223 OR AMME5010 OR BMET5020 OR BMET5021 OR BMET5022 OR BMET5222 OR BMET5223 OR BMET5010.
Brief Handbook Description: The capstone project requires the student to plan and execute a substantial research-based project, using their technical and communication skills to design, evaluate, implement, analyse and theorise about developments that contribute to professional practice thus demonstrating the achievement of AQF Level 9.

Students are required to carry out a defined piece of independent research in a setting and in a manner that fosters the development of engineering research skills. These skills include the capacity to define a research question, showing how it relates to existing knowledge, identifying the tools needed to investigate the question, carrying out the research in a systematic way, analysing the results obtained and presenting the outcomes in a report that is clear, coherent and logically structured. Capstone project is undertaken across two semesters of enrolment, in two successive Units of Study of 6 credits points each. Capstone Project A covers first steps of thesis research starting with development of research proposal. Project B covers the second of stage writing up and presenting the research results.

Students are asked to write a thesis based on a research project, which is very often related to some aspect of a staff member's research interests. Some projects will be experimental in nature, others may involve computer-based simulation, feasibility studies or the design, construction and testing of equipment. Direction of thesis work may be determined by the supervisor, however the student is expected to make a significant contribution to the direction of the project, and the student is responsible for the execution of the practical work and the general layout and content of the thesis itself. The final thesis must be the student's individual work, although research is sometimes conducted in the framework of a group project shared with others. Students undertaking research on this basis will need to take care in ensuring the individual quality of their own research work and the final thesis submission. The thesis will be judged on the extent and quality of the student's original work and particularly how critical, perceptive and constructive he or she has been in assessing his/her work and that of others. Students will also be required to present the results of their findings to their peers and supervisors as part of a seminar program.

A thesis at this level will represent a contribution to professional practice or research, however the timeframe available for the thesis also needs to be considered when developing project scopes. Indeed, a key aim of the thesis is to specify a research topic that arouses sufficient intellectual curiosity, and presents an appropriate range and diversity of technical and conceptual challenges, while remaining manageable and allowing achievable outcomes within the time and resources available. It is important that the topic be of sufficient scope and complexity to allow a student to learn their craft and demonstrate their research skills. Equally imperative is that the task not be so demanding as to elude completion. Finally the ability to plan such a project to achieve results within constraints and the identification of promising areas and approaches for future research is a key assessment criterion.
Assumed Knowledge: None.
Timetable: AMME5020 Timetable
Time Commitment:
# Activity Name Hours per Week Sessions per Week Weeks per Semester
1 Research 10.00 13

Attributes listed here represent the key course goals (see Course Map tab) designated for this unit. The list below describes how these attributes are developed through practice in the unit. See Learning Outcomes and Assessment tabs for details of how these attributes are assessed.

Attribute Development Method Attribute Developed
In conducting their research project, students are expected to select and apply appropriate research methods and to analyse and interpret resulting data. (1) Maths/ Science Methods and Tools (Level 4)
In depth knowledge of a specific subject area within the discipline. Familiarity with central methodology and experimental practices of the discipline and ability to make effective use of them. (2) Engineering/ IT Specialisation (Level 4)
Ability to undertake problem identification, formulation, and solution for complex engineering problems. Ability to identify opportunities for innovation and improvement. Ability to apply creative approaches to identify and develop alternative concepts and procedures. (4) Design (Level 4)
Written communication will be exercised through the generation of the Progress Report and Thesis. The Seminar will give students an opportunity to practise their oral communication and presentation skills.
Students are expected to seek out information efficiently and effectively and to evaluate the relevance of this information and its sources to their project. Students are expected to demonstrate initiative and ingenuity in research, pointed and critical analysis of material, thoroughness of design, and innovative interpretation of evidence. The results presented and conclusions drawn are to be presented in the appropriate literature context.
(6) Communication and Inquiry/ Research (Level 3)
Ability to undertake a major research project. (7) Project and Team Skills (Level 3)
Confidence in own engineering judgments through the process of engineering research. Understanding of the ethical, social and professional implications of the work they are undertaking. (8) Professional Effectiveness and Ethical Conduct (Level 3)

For explanation of attributes and levels see Engineering & IT Graduate Outcomes Table 2018.

Learning outcomes are the key abilities and knowledge that will be assessed in this unit. They are listed according to the course goal supported by each. See Assessment Tab for details how each outcome is assessed.

(6) Communication and Inquiry/ Research (Level 3)
1. Ability to document and report research work undertaken in a format appropriate for academic literature with correct referencing.
2. Ability to deliver a research presentation that is clear, confident and engaging to an academic audience.
(4) Design (Level 4)
3. Ability to formulate and plan a personal research project
4. Originality, ingenuity and initiative in dealing with critical research issues.
(2) Engineering/ IT Specialisation (Level 4)
5. In-depth knowledge of a specialised area within the discipline
(1) Maths/ Science Methods and Tools (Level 4)
6. Ability to formulate an appropriate method for investigating a specific research question
7. Ability to analyse data, draw appropriate conclusions and present those conclusions in context, with due consideration of methods and assumptions involved.
Assessment Methods:
# Name Group Weight Due Week Outcomes
1 Proposal (submit to supervisor)* No 0.00 Week 5 3, 6,
2 Progress Report (submit online & to supervisor)* No 10.00 Week 13 1, 3, 5, 6,
3 Presentation/Seminar * No 10.00 Following Semester 2, 5,
4 Thesis * No 80.00 Following Semester 1, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7,
Assessment Description: Proposal: Thesis proposal (Capstone A). The proposal should be about two pages in length and written in consultation with supervisor. The proposal includes a time schedule for the various tasks involved in the thesis work. In particular, if any workshop time is required (for building experimental equipment etc.). The proposal must include a statement that the job has been discussed with the Workshop Supervisor and the proposed time slot (give dates) and resources allocated to the job must be specified. The proposal must be submitted to your thesis supervisor by the date specified. The proposal does not carry any marks, but failure to submit a satisfactory proposal may result in discontinuation of the course for that semester.

Progress Report: Progress Report (Capstone A). The report should include an introduction and literature survey in a form similar to that which will appear in the final thesis and a summary (not exceeding 1000 words) of the work carried out thus far. The thesis supervisor should be contacted when preparing this report for advice regarding content and structure. The progress report must be submitted directly to the thesis supervisor. The progress report will be marked out of 10 by your supervisor and the marks will contribute 10% of the final Thesis mark. Late submissions will result in a penalty of 0.5 marks (out of 10) per calendar day.

Presentation/Seminar: Seminar (Capstone B). This is an opportunity for students to present their work to other students and to staff. It is a compulsory part of Capstone project. Evaluation will be based on the quality and coherence of the presentation, quality of subject matter and the handling of questions from the audience.

Thesis: Thesis submission (Capstone B). Two hard-bound copies of the Thesis should be submitted to Room 444. Penalty 2% per day (including Sat, Sun) applies for late submission. Statement identifying the specific contributions of the student and others must be included. Thesis content requirements are set out in the School`s Marking Sheet, which provides the basis for thesis marking. Students should note that there are no marks for length and no specific length requirement. Typical postgraduate theses should not exceed 75 pages (approximately 30-35,000 words - excluding preliminary pages, references and appendices), but may be considerably less. Capstone project is about quality not quantity. Students should closely consult their supervisor as well as the Marking Sheet regarding the appropriate content, organisation and formatting. Students are encouraged to examine theses from previous years (available in the thesis library in Room 444) to get an idea of acceptable formats and styles.

Written work submitted after the due date/time will be considered to have been submitted late. For every calendar day up to and including ten calendar days after the due date, a penalty of 5% of the maximum awardable marks will be applied to late work. The penalty will be calculated by first marking the work, and then subtracting 5% of the maximum awardable mark for each calendar day after the due date. For work submitted more than ten calendar days after the due date a mark of zero will be awarded.

Thesis marking grades will be as follows

A mark > 85% (HD) should only be awarded for work which can be published in a reputable journal or high ranking international conference.

A mark of >75 and < 84% should be awarded for work which can be published at a national conference.

A mark of 65% to 74% (CR) indicates work that could form part of conference paper, and a mark of 50% to 64% indicates work that has been competently carried out but is not publishable.

* indicates an assessment task which must be repeated if a student misses it due to special consideration
Grade Type Description
Special Conditions to Pass UoS Students will receive a mark of UCN (Unit Continuing) for Capstone Project A if they have shown sufficient progress to warrant continuing on to Capstone Project B. The final grade for Capstone Project A and B is based on the work done in Capstone Project A and B as a whole. Any marks awarded in Capstone Project A will be incorporated into calculations for the final grade of the two units.
Policies & Procedures: See the policies page of the faculty website at for information regarding university policies and local provisions and procedures within the Faculty of Engineering and Information Technologies.

For the written thesis, the Faculty of Engineering and IT Postgraduate Studies Committee adopted the following guidelines in 2012 for capstone research project marks:

• A mark > 85% (HD) should only be awarded for work which can be published in a reputable journal or high ranking international conference.

• A mark of >75 and < 84% (DI) should be awarded for work which can be published at a national conference.

• A mark of 65% to 74% (CR) indicates work that could form part of conference paper, and

• A mark of 50% to 64% (PS) indicates work that has been competently carried out but is not publishable.

Note that the "Weeks" referred to in this Schedule are those of the official university semester calendar

Week Description
Week 1 Independent research.
Week 2 Independent research.
Week 3 Independent research.
Week 4 Independent research.
Week 5 Independent research. Thesis Proposal due.
Assessment Due: Proposal (submit to supervisor)*
Week 6 Independent research.
Week 7 Independent research.
Week 8 Independent research.
Week 9 Independent research.
Week 10 Independent research.
Week 11 Independent research.
Week 12 Independent research.
Week 13 Independent research. Progress Report due.
Assessment Due: Progress Report (submit online & to supervisor)*
Following Semester Assessment Due: Presentation/Seminar *
Assessment Due: Thesis *

Course Relations

The following is a list of courses which have added this Unit to their structure.

Course Year(s) Offered
Master of Professional Engineering (Accelerated) (Aerospace) 2019, 2020
Master of Professional Engineering (Accelerated) (Biomedical) 2019
Master of Professional Engineering (Aerospace) 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019, 2020
Master of Professional Engineering (Accelerated) (Mechanical) 2019, 2020
Master of Professional Engineering (Biomedical) 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019
Master of Professional Engineering (Mechanical) 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019, 2020
Master of Engineering 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019, 2020
Master of Engineering (Biomedical) 2012
Master of Engineering (Mechanical) 2012

Course Goals

This unit contributes to the achievement of the following course goals:

Attribute Practiced Assessed
(6) Communication and Inquiry/ Research (Level 3) Yes 20.84%
(7) Project and Team Skills (Level 3) Yes 0%
(8) Professional Effectiveness and Ethical Conduct (Level 3) Yes 0%
(5) Interdisciplinary, Inclusiveness, Influence (Level 4) No 0%
(4) Design (Level 4) Yes 29.17%
(2) Engineering/ IT Specialisation (Level 4) Yes 20.84%
(3) Problem Solving and Inventiveness (Level 4) No 0%
(1) Maths/ Science Methods and Tools (Level 4) Yes 29.17%

These goals are selected from Engineering & IT Graduate Outcomes Table 2018 which defines overall goals for courses where this unit is primarily offered. See Engineering & IT Graduate Outcomes Table 2018 for details of the attributes and levels to be developed in the course as a whole. Percentage figures alongside each course goal provide a rough indication of their relative weighting in assessment for this unit. Note that not all goals are necessarily part of assessment. Some may be more about practice activity. See Learning outcomes for details of what is assessed in relation to each goal and Assessment for details of how the outcome is assessed. See Attributes for details of practice provided for each goal.