ELEC ENG 4039A - Honours Project Part 1

North Terrace Campus - Semester 1 - 2015

The final-year projects aim to give students experience in solving real engineering problems and the opportunity to apply the knowledge they have gained during their undergraduate engineering program. Through the project they gain experience in project planning, teamwork and communication with management and support staff. The project also develops design and research skills.

  • General Course Information
    Course Details
    Course Code ELEC ENG 4039A
    Course Honours Project Part 1
    Coordinating Unit School of Electrical & Electronic Engineering
    Term Semester 1
    Level Undergraduate
    Location/s North Terrace Campus
    Contact 150 hours project work
    Available for Study Abroad and Exchange N
    Prerequisites ELEC ENG 3027, ELEC ENG 3028, ELEC ENG 3033, ELEC ENG 3024, ELEC ENG 3029 or COMP SCI 3006
    Restrictions Available to students of degree programs offered by the School of Electrical and Electronic Engineering only
    Course Description The final-year projects aim to give students experience in solving real engineering problems and the opportunity to apply the knowledge they have gained during their undergraduate engineering program. Through the project they gain experience in project planning, teamwork and communication with management and support staff. The project also develops design and research skills.
    Course Staff

    Course Coordinator: Dr Hong Gunn Chew

    Email: HongGunn.Chew@adelaide.edu.au
    Office: Ingkarni Wardli 3.52
    Phone: 8313 1641
    Course Timetable

    The full timetable of all activities for this course can be accessed from Course Planner.

    A schedule of important events is shown in the table below. A calendar showing the dates, times and locations of these events is available on the MyUni course page.

    Date Duration Event
    All teaching weeks 3 hours per week Common project time
    Semester A (1st semester of the project)
    Weeks 1-12 2 hours Research methods workshop
    O-Week 1 hour Briefing session
    Week 1/2 1 hour Literature search Training
    Week 5, Tuesday 25 minutes Proposal seminar
    Week 7, Tuesday Draft research proposal due
    Week 12, Friday Project research due
    Semester B (2nd semester of the project)
    Week 6, Friday Exhibition information due
    Week 10 1 hour Exhibition briefing
    Week 10, Tuesday All day Seminar day
    Week 11, Friday Posters due
    Week 12, Tuesday All day Project exhibition
    Week 12, Friday Honours thesis due
    Week 13, Tuesday Project closeout due
  • Learning Outcomes
    Course Learning Outcomes
    1 deepen their knowledge and understanding of at least one field of technology
    2 develop and improve research skills through investigation of open-ended problems, devising solutions and developing and testing of hypotheses as necessary
    3 enhance practical skills through coding and/or construction and testing
    4 utilise and enhance project management skills (including planning, risk management, time management, delegation, and development of test plans)
    5 enhance communication skills, both written (including report writing, specifications and critical review) and oral (including seminar presentation, negotiation and verbal reports).
    University Graduate Attributes

    This course will provide students with an opportunity to develop the Graduate Attribute(s) specified below:

    University Graduate Attribute Course Learning Outcome(s)
    Knowledge and understanding of the content and techniques of a chosen discipline at advanced levels that are internationally recognised. 1,3,4,5
    The ability to locate, analyse, evaluate and synthesise information from a wide variety of sources in a planned and timely manner. 2,4
    An ability to apply effective, creative and innovative solutions, both independently and cooperatively, to current and future problems. 1,2,3,4
    Skills of a high order in interpersonal understanding, teamwork and communication. 4,5
    A proficiency in the appropriate use of contemporary technologies. 1,3
    A commitment to continuous learning and the capacity to maintain intellectual curiosity throughout life. 2
    A commitment to the highest standards of professional endeavour and the ability to take a leadership role in the community. 4,5
    An awareness of ethical, social and cultural issues within a global context and their importance in the exercise of professional skills and responsibilities. 1,5
  • Learning Resources
    Required Resources
    Students should purchase an exercise book to use as a project workbook.
    Recommended Resources
    Guidelines and resources to assist with undertaking a project are provided in the Project Resources folder on the course MyUni site.
    Online Learning
    Extensive use will be made of the MyUni web site for this course (http://myuni.adelaide.edu.au). All announcements will be posted on MyUni and emailed to all students and supervisors. Project resources will be available for downloading. The gradebook will be used to communicate continuous assessment marks. A discussion board will be available for project-related discussion. Group tools will be available for communication to and within project groups.
  • Learning & Teaching Activities
    Learning & Teaching Modes

    Groups of students will undertake a project under the guidance of an academic supervisor and co-supervisor. Groups can expect to meet regularly with their supervisors. Between meetings groups are expected to make independent progress with their project.

    The table below summarises expectations on project students and their supervisors.

      What supervisors can expect from students What students can expect from supervisors
    Meetings Regular, punctual attendance at project meetings. A regular group meeting with the supervisor and co-supervisor at least once a week.
    Contribution Consistent effort throughout the year totalling around 600 hours work. Prompt advice and guidance on general and technical project issues.
    Assessment Timely submission of assessed items satisfying the requirements in the course profile. Marks posted on MyUni within 2 weeks of submission and verbal feedback to justify marks and explain how they might be improved.
    Conduct As befitting professional engineers.

    The information below is provided as a guide to assist students in engaging appropriately with the course requirements.

    The Honours project is an important element of an undergraduate engineering education. It represents a substantial body of work and it is expected that students will spend 300 hours per year on their project. Note that if this effort is confined to the 12-week teaching semesters, then it amounts to over 12 hours work per week.
    Learning Activities Summary
    Activity Semester Week
    Project briefing A 0
    Literature search training A 1/2
    Proposal seminar A 5
    Research methods workshop A 1-12
    Project work A 1-12
    Final seminar B 10
    Project exhibition B 12
    Project work B 1-12
    Small Group Discovery Experience
    The Project provides the platform to challenge each group of two to eight students to work together to produce a novel engineering project. The project supervisors will be able to mentor the students and monitor their progress through the two semesters.
  • Assessment

    The University's policy on Assessment for Coursework Programs is based on the following four principles:

    1. Assessment must encourage and reinforce learning.
    2. Assessment must enable robust and fair judgements about student performance.
    3. Assessment practices must be fair and equitable to students and give them the opportunity to demonstrate what they have learned.
    4. Assessment must maintain academic standards.

    Assessment Summary
    Activity Type Group / Individual Weight Due Assessor(s) Learning objective addressed
    Proposal seminar Formative Group 5% Sem A Week 5 Research methods team 2, 4, 5
    Research proposal Formative (Hurdle) Individual 20% Sem A Week 12 Supervisor 2, 4, 5
    Semester A performance Summative Individual 5% Sem A Week 12 Supervisor All
    Final seminar Summative Individual 5% Sem B Week 10 Panel of assessors All
    Project exhibition Summative Group 5% Sem B Week 12 Panel of assessors 3, 5
    Honours Thesis Summative (Hurdle) Individual 50% Sem B Week 12 Supervisors All
    Final performance Summative Individual 10% Sem B Week 12 Supervisors 1, 2, 3, 4
    Students must achieve at least 40% of hurdle requirements to proceed with the course.
    Assessment Related Requirements
    Each student must:
    • attend a literature search training session. (Penalty: 0 for proposal seminar.)
    • attend at least 3 final seminars other than their own on the seminar day. (Penalty: 0 for final seminar.)
    • submit one line description of project and update projects wiki for exhibition before Friday, week 8, semester B. (Penalty: 50% deduction in exhibition mark.)
    • complete project closeout by Tuesday, week 13, semester B.
    Assessment Detail

    The assessment will be based on the components outlined in the table above. The rubrics used to assess the components are available on MyUni. Students are encouraged to consult these rubrics as they plan their deliverables.

    The detailed requirements for each of the components are provided in subsections to follow. Note that when a component is designated as “Group”, all members in the group will obtain the same mark for that work. If a deliverable is designated as “Individual”, each member will be assessed individually.

    The assessment of the project exhibition will be performed by a panel of members of academic staff from the School of Electrical and Electronic Engineering. The remaining components will be assessed by the project's principal advisor in consultation with the co-advisor.

    Assessors will use a customised rubric (available on the course MyUni site) for each component. This will allow them to rate each student’s (or group’s) performance on several facets at one of five grades. They will then provide an overall mark out of 10 for each component. The assessors will notify the students of their marks and provide feedback indicating the reasons for the assessed mark.

    The final mark for the project will be determined by combining the marks for each of the six components using the weightings indicated in the assessment table as a guideline.

    Proposal Seminar

    Seminar Time, Location and Equipment

    The proposal seminars will take place in week 5 except due to advisor availability restrictions. A schedule for seminars will be published on the course MyUni page. Seminars are 20 minutes long with an additional 5 minutes for questions. Sessions should start and finish on time as staff must move between streams, but sessions should not start until all staff members are present.

    Note that proposal seminars are 20 minutes long irrespective of the number of students in the group. Groups need not use all the time available provided they express the essential elements of their proposal. Large groups should take extra care with their preparation to ensure that each member speaks but that the presentation does not run over time.

    Digital projectors and computers will be available in every seminar room. Students will need to bring a copy of their slides on a USB drive.  Students can also use their own laptops with VGA output to connect to the digital projectors.


    At the first meeting, the project advisors will explain the aims of the project. The proposal seminar is a chance for the group to clearly explain back to the advisors what they think is required. The group should clearly state the aims and objectives of the work, the required tasks, and state as precisely as possible what the desired final outcomes of the project are. It should also give a list of milestones with corresponding dates and clearly separate the required tasks into individual roles. Other plans, such as a budget and risk management plan may be appropriate for some projects.

    The proposal is a critical part of any project as it ensures that the project team understands what the “customer” (in this case the supervisor) really wants and provides a clear set of specifications.

    Seminars should be aimed at the technical level of the student audience. As the audience may be unfamiliar with the topic, clear explanation should be given to the overall background, nature, scope and aims of the project. Even distribution of load, logical order of presentation and cohesion are part of the assessment criteria. Careful preparation will be necessary to ensure that this is successfully achieved in the time allocated.

    The seminars will be presented in a group with each group member presenting an approximately equal section of the talk. The first speaker should introduce themselves and the other group members. It is preferable that each group member speaks on only one occasion.

    Research Project Proposal

    An individual Project Proposal should be submitted by each student.


    The proposal should:

    • include a title page and list of references;
    • be at most 6 pages long (not including the title page, table of contents, appendix);
    • use a 12 pt font and 1.5 line spacing;
    • be submitted in electronic form in pdf format; and
    • be succinctly written to cover required topics as outlined below.

    Supporting material beyond the 6-page limit may be included in an appendix, however assessors may choose not to include the appendix in their assessment.


    The Project Proposal should carefully and succinctly state the proposed project.  It should introduce the project and the author’s role in the project. The body of the report should include details of designs, experiments and results and should explain how these fit within the context of the project as a whole. The current status of the project with respect to its original schedule and plans should be discussed.

    Final Seminar

    Seminar Time, Location and Equipment

    The final seminars for all projects will be presented on one day: the Tuesday of Week 10 in the second semester of the projects. A timetable will be published on MyUni prior to seminar day. Students are required to attend throughout the day and students who do not attend at least 3 seminars other than their own, will receive 0 for their seminar.

    Seminars are up to 40 minutes long with an additional 10 minutes for questions. The scheduling for seminars is usually very tight. It is a matter of professional courtesy to not use up more of other people’s time than they have been asked to commit. It is therefore very important that your seminar starts on time and that you do not run overtime. Any significant deviations from your allocated time will be penalised.

    All seminars are 40 minutes long irrespective of the number of students in the group. Groups need not use all the time available. Large groups should take extra care with their preparation to ensure that each member speaks but that the presentation does not run over time.

    Digital projectors will be available in every seminar room. Students will need to bring a copy of their slides on a USB drive. Students can also use their own laptops with VGA output to connect to the digital projectors.

    Network points and the University’s wireless network will be available in the seminar room. Note, however, that the network may be a different sub-net to that in the project laboratories. Students needing network access should confirm for themselves, well in advance of the seminars, that this is possible from the seminar rooms.

    Presentation Information

    While each group will have 40 minutes for their seminar (and 10 minutes for questions), the length of the seminar can be varied as long as each student provides an adequate contribution to allow individual assessment of presentation skills. Students will be assessed for their time management during the seminar.

    The project supervisor will chair the presentation session. They will introduce the group, ensure that speakers do not go substantially beyond the allotted time, call for questions and ensure that seminars finish on time.

    It is preferable that each group member speaks on only one occasion. This produces a smoother presentation.

    A good demonstration is a powerful expression of a project’s outcomes. Hence, except with the permission of the supervisor, each seminar shall include a demonstration and the assessment will take the quality of the demonstration into account. For demonstrations outside the seminar room, please allow time for movement to and from the demonstration location.

    The seminar should be aimed at a general electrical engineering audience (that is, fellow students) who have no specialist knowledge of the project’s topic area. Groups should provide a clear explanation about the background, nature, scope and aims of the project. Various aspects can then be described concisely and the results of the investigation presented. Even distribution of load, logical order of presentation and cohesion are part of the assessment criteria. Careful preparation will be necessary to ensure that this is successfully achieved in the time allocated.

    Honours Thesis

    An individual Honours Thesis must be submitted by each student.


    The report should:

    • include a title page, executive summary, table of contents and references;
    • use a 12 pt font and 1.5 line spacing;
    • be submitted in electronic form in pdf format; and
    • be succinctly written to cover required topics as outlined below.


    The aims of the thesis are to:

    • provide a detailed summary of the aims, methods and results of the project for its advisor/customer and other interested parties. It is thus important to give a clear background to the project for non-specialist readers.
    • allow your supervisor to make an assessment of its author’s efforts on the project. Authors thus need to show the breadth of what they accomplished as well giving technical details to show the depth of their understanding.
    • allow future students continuing or extending the project to understand the background to the project, what approaches were used, what results were obtained and what future work remains.


    Project advisors will determine a performance mark for each student at the end of each semester of the project. This assessment is based on the advisors’ observations of the student’s progress, participation and outcomes. The quality of the project workbooks will also be taken into account in this assessment.

    Project Workbooks

    Each student must maintain a project workbook. This should be a daily diary of progress and should include notes from all meetings, problems encountered, decisions made, design ideas and sketches, references to data sources, calculations, equipment settings, experimental results etc. A good workbook forms a valuable record that is useful later parts of a project and as source of information for the final report.

    Supervisors may ask students to submit their workbooks so they can be taken into account in assessment. Workbooks should always be brought to the project meetings.

    Project Exhibition

    The project exhibition is held on Tuesday in Week 12 of the second semester of the projects. The exhibition is a public event where groups exhibit their project outcomes to members of the University as well as visitors from industry and the general public. Students are expected to dress and present themselves as befitting professional engineers.

    Each group will be provided with desk space and a pin-up board. Power and data connections and extra space can be arranged where necessary. The exhibition co-ordinator will ask groups to specify their requirements in the early weeks of the second semester of the project.

    Groups should prepare:

    • a poster (a template will be provided) that will be printed and pinned up at the exhibition;
    • a demonstration of their project; and
    • a 3-minute verbal overview of their project.  Students should prepare different speeches targeted for different audiences (professionals, general public, high school children)

    The exhibition will be assessed by panels of independent assessors.

    Project Closeout

    Closeout is the last phase of the project lifecycle. During closeout the final outcomes are delivered to the project’s sponsors and customers, project resources are released, and the project documentation is updated and compiled so that it can be handed over to a subsequent project team.

    At the end of the project, groups must:

    • submit an archive CD containing all the project reports, presentation slides, software and other documentation to their supervisor;
    • return all borrowed equipment to the final-year store;
    • clear all parts, equipment and rubbish from their workbench;
    • empty project lockers;
    • either delete all user files from the project PC or notify the computing manager that the project will be ongoing and the PC should be left for the next project group; and
    • return hardware produced as a part of the project to the supervisor or, if the project will be ongoing, neatly pack the hardware in a box, label the box and deliver it to the workshop manager for storage.

    Students will not receive a final performance mark until their supervisor confirms the project has been closed out.


    All project reports must be submitted in pdf form using MyUni. Clear instructions will be provided explaining how to submit assignments using MyUni and how to verify that an assignment has been successfully submitted. Extensions will not be granted for reports that miss the deadline because they were not correctly submitted.

    For each report each student must complete as Assessment Cover sheet. These are in the Course Information folder on MyUni.

    Software (TURNITIN) may be used to verify the originality of reports.

    Students can expect the marks from assessment components to be available on MyUni within two weeks from the submission deadline.

    Assessors will use rubrics to determine marks for the assessed components. Copies of the rubric will be sent to project supervisors so they can provide feedback to their project groups. Students are encouraged to seek feedback from their supervisors.


    Deadlines are an integral part of an engineer's professional life, and the discipline of getting workfinished on time is an essential one to acquire.

    The School of Electrical and Electronic Engineering’s policy on Homework Submissions (https://www.eleceng.adelaide.edu.au/policies/homework-assignment-policy.pdf) will apply to the Proposal Seminar and Project Exhibition. Under this policy, students missing an assessment deadline will receive a 0 mark for that component, unless the student provides documentary evidence of an unavoidable reason for the delay (e.g. a medical certificate) which is approved by the Head of School. If the delay is approved, the student will be assigned a mark for the component according to the School’s policy on Supplementary Exercises for Continuous Assessment Components (https://www.eleceng.adelaide.edu.au/policies/continuous-assessment-exercises.pdf).

    The Research Proposal and Master Thesis will be subject to the School’s policy on Assignment Submissions (https://www.eleceng.adelaide.edu.au/policies/homework-assignment-policy.pdf). The marks for reports submitted after the deadline will be reduced by 20% of the final report mark per day (24 hours) or part thereof. Exceptions may be made, with approval of Head of School, if a medical certificate or other documentary evidence of impairment is provided covering a significant period of the project.

    Course Grading

    Grades for your performance in this course will be awarded in accordance with the following scheme:

    NOG (No Grade Associated)
    Grade Description
    CN Continuing

    Further details of the grades/results can be obtained from Examinations.

    Grade Descriptors are available which provide a general guide to the standard of work that is expected at each grade level. More information at Assessment for Coursework Programs.

    Final results for this course will be made available through Access Adelaide.

  • Student Feedback

    The University places a high priority on approaches to learning and teaching that enhance the student experience. Feedback is sought from students in a variety of ways including on-going engagement with staff, the use of online discussion boards and the use of Student Experience of Learning and Teaching (SELT) surveys as well as GOS surveys and Program reviews.

    SELTs are an important source of information to inform individual teaching practice, decisions about teaching duties, and course and program curriculum design. They enable the University to assess how effectively its learning environments and teaching practices facilitate student engagement and learning outcomes. Under the current SELT Policy (http://www.adelaide.edu.au/policies/101/) course SELTs are mandated and must be conducted at the conclusion of each term/semester/trimester for every course offering. Feedback on issues raised through course SELT surveys is made available to enrolled students through various resources (e.g. MyUni). In addition aggregated course SELT data is available.

  • Student Support
  • Policies & Guidelines

    This section contains links to relevant assessment-related policies and guidelines - all university policies.

    Project allocation

    Two weeks before the start of semester, students will be given an opportunity to specify their 5 preferred projects in order of preference. Allocation of students to projects will take this preference into account; however no promises can be made and some students may be allocated to projects for which they have not expressed a preference. Project allocations will be completed on the Monday prior to the start of semester and students will be informed of their project, group and supervisor via MyUni.

    Industry Sponsored Projects

    Industry sponsored final year projects can be of great benefit to students, the industry sponsor and the academic supervisors. Students are encouraged to talk to their employers and contacts about sponsoring a project. Students who successfully initiate a project in this way will be given the option of taking a place on that project.

    Before an industry sponsored project can go ahead, some agreements must be signed to protect the interests of the University and the sponsor:

    1. An agreement between the sponsor and the University
    2. A student project participation agreement between the students and the University.

    The School also charges a small sponsorship fee of $500 (+GST) at the outset of the project and $2000 (+GST) at its successful conclusion. Costs of production of substantial items and test equipment must also be met by the sponsor. However, equipment already available in the School can generally be used for the project free of charge.

    There are several reasons for these fees and why we think that they are of benefit to industry as well as our students. They include the following:

    • Sponsor gets a large share of the IP developed.
    • Sponsor gets regular meetings, short reports and a final report.
    • Academic staff time is provided at no charge.
    • Student time is provided at no charge.
    • University facilities and equipment are provided at no charge.
    • Sponsor gets early access to good potential employees.
    • Agreement to pay the relatively small fee indicates a certain commitment from the sponsor that the project is important to them and is worth doing.

    Provision of Resources


    Each project group will be allocated an equipment purchase budget and a technical support budget.

    Purchase of equipment

    Supervisors have been provided with a budget equivalent to $250 per student. In a groups’ planning for the project they must develop a costed proposal for approval by the supervisor. If the proposed costs exceed the School budget allocation, then the supervisor may approve additional funds from other sources. Note that the project budget may not be used for printing expenses.

    The storeman can provide commonly needed electronic components. If a special purchase is required, groups will need permission from their supervisor. Requests for a special order are submitted using the component request form on the store website.The Store website, http://store.eleceng.adelaide.edu.au, can be accessed from computers within the University network only.

    Technical support

    Each group will be given a technical support budget that allows access to the technical support staff for specialised training and advice.  Each group has 20 hours, plus 5 additional hours for each student, for each semester.  Unused budget in Semester A cannot be carried over to Semester B.  Initial contact should be made with the Workshop Supervisor to organise work requirements.


    Under some circumstances the final year project budget can be used on large printing jobs.To use your project budget for printing:

    1. check you have funds available
    2. send your supervisor an email stating: what you would like to print; why it is necessary; the number of pages; b&w or colour; cost ($0.01 per page for b&w, $0.10 per page for colour)
    3. if your supervisor agrees the printing is necessary, ask them to forward your email request to Stephen Guest (cc it to you) and provide a statement that they approve the expense
    4. Stephen Guest will reply with an email explaining how to print your file in EM418


    Students have access to a pool of general purpose test equipment kept in the store. This equipment must be booked through the storeman (http://store.eleceng.adelaide.edu.au/). Certain equipment in heavy demand may only be booked for short periods of time. Supervisors may also allocate specialized equipment for which groups will not need to make a booking.

    Computing: General purpose computing equipment is available in the school computing laboratory EM211. This equipment normally has specialized software packages such as compilers, PCB CAD and simulation tools. For general purpose computing students should use the CATS. Students have a free printing quota sufficient for the project reports. The project budget cannot be used to increase the printing quota.

    Workshop support: Workshop staff

    Accommodation and PCs: Groups may request a bench or table in one of the laboratories for their project. They may also request a dedicated PC with specialized packages installed such as compilers for DSPs, FPGA tools, etc. Requests are made by the form at http://www.eleceng.adelaide.edu.au/students/undergraduate/infrastructure-request.html.

    Other Resources: Groups should discuss other special needs with their advisor. If the equipment is available in the School, groups should contact the laboratory manager for access permission. He will require permission from the advisor and the nominal "owner" of the equipment.

  • Fraud Awareness

    Students are reminded that in order to maintain the academic integrity of all programs and courses, the university has a zero-tolerance approach to students offering money or significant value goods or services to any staff member who is involved in their teaching or assessment. Students offering lecturers or tutors or professional staff anything more than a small token of appreciation is totally unacceptable, in any circumstances. Staff members are obliged to report all such incidents to their supervisor/manager, who will refer them for action under the university's student’s disciplinary procedures.

The University of Adelaide is committed to regular reviews of the courses and programs it offers to students. The University of Adelaide therefore reserves the right to discontinue or vary programs and courses without notice. Please read the important information contained in the disclaimer.