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    APSC 459 2010/2011

    (archived course page – posted Sept 2010)


    APSC 459 Engineering Physics Project I

    Project planning, management and reporting. This course involves writing a project proposal, carrying out an open-ended Engineering project, and reporting the results both orally and in writing.

    Credits: 5             Pre-reqs: PHYS 352.

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    Guides and Documents 

    Document Type Documents Last Updated
    Info Sessions (in March for incoming class the following September) 2010 March
    Project Proposal  / Charter
    • Guide to Proposals (pdf)
    • Guide to Project Charters (pdf)
    • Project Charter – Template (MS Word .docx format)
    • Project Charter – Template (MS Word .doc format)
    2009 Sept
    Final Recommendation Reports 2011 March
    Project Completion Reports 2011 March
    List of 459 groups, group #’s 2010 Oct 17

    Schedule and Lecture Notes


    2010 – Term 1



    Tues Sept 21 Submit Team Member and Project Preference List Team Preference List (doc) »

    Mon Oct 18 1st draft of proposal due pushed back 1 week from original Oct 12th date

    Mon Nov  15 2nd draft of proposal due

    Mon Dec 6 3rd draft of proposal due




    Week 2011 – Term 2  


    1 Wed Jan 5 Course Overview

    2 Wed Jan 12 In-Class Presentations  1
    3 Wed Jan 19 In-Class Presentations  2
    4 Wed Jan 26 In-Class Presentations  3
    5 Wed Feb 2 In-Class Presentations  4
    6 Wed Feb 9 In-Class Presentations  5
    7 Wed Feb  16 READING WEEK
    8 Wed Feb 23 In-Class Presentations  6
    9 Wed Mar 2 no class session

    Wed Mar 2 Project Fair
    -10 Wed Mar 9 In-Class Presentations  7
    11 Wed Mar 16 In-Class Presentations  8
    12 Wed Mar 23
    13 Wed Mar 30 Final Report Review Session
    14 Mon Apr 4 Final Reports, Logbooks Due
    15 Last week of classes Seminar Session


    Jon Nakane – / 604-822-2110 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting              604-822-2110      end_of_the_skype_highlighting /  Henn 115

    Bernhard Zender – / 604-822-2961 / Henn 115

    Chris Waltham  – / 604-822-5712 / Hennings 260 /

    Marking Scheme

    Project Proposal 15 %
    Final Recommendation Report 65 %
    Team Visitation / Interview 5%
    Professionalism (Logbook, Weekly Reports, Project Milestones) 10 %
    Seminar Session 5 %

    Penalties for late submission of proposals that are approved at later dates:

    • Submit by posted due date and gain approval – no penalty
    • Submit upto one week after posted date and gain approval – 5% penalty on final mark
    • Submit upto two weeks after posted date and gain approval – 15% penalty on final mark.

    Term 1 Guidelines   (Sept – Dec)

    T1-1.  Course Websites

    • – The course website contains updated information on course requirements, lab rules and regulations, available lab resources, and guidelines for project proposals and final reports.
    • – Proposals, weekly reports, and other material will be conducted via WebVista.

    T1-2.   Group Member Selection

    Students work in teams of two or three.  Students are expected to form their own groups from the class; please contact the Project Lab Staff if assistance is required to find team members with compatible interests.

    Each member must take on one of the roles described below and the allocation of these responsibilities must be clearly described in the project proposal.  The Project Lab strongly recommends against students working by themselves on projects, particularly for APSC 459.

    For two students:

    • Project Manager: Ensures that the schedule is maintained, that the work is shared equitably, and reports to the supervisor any problems that the group is experiencing.
    • Editorial Manager: Makes certain that the final report is complete and submitted on time, divides the work for writing milestone reports and the final report, maintains the logbook and ensures that entries are signed-off

    For three students:

    • Project Manager: Ensures that the schedule is maintained, that the work is shared equitably, and reports to the supervisor any problems that the group is experiencing.
    • Editorial Manager: Makes certain that the final report is complete and submitted on time, divides the work for writing milestone reports and the final report, maintains the logbook and ensures that entries are signed-off
    • Technical Manager: Ensures that all the equipment and resources needed to do the project are available to meet the schedule.

    T1-3.   Project Selection

    Selecting a project

    Projects are listed on the course website during the start of Term 1.  Please do not contact a project sponsor directly without first informing the Project Lab – this prevents our prospective sponsors from being overwhelmed with student requests.

    For APSC 459, project selection will occur once all APSC 479 students have selected a topic, generally starting the end of 2nd week.  Each APSC 459 group will submit a ranked list of 4-6 preferred projects, and will be assigned by the Project Lab.  Historically, the majority of groups get their 1st-3rd picks.

    If more than one student group is interested in a particular project, the sponsor and Project Lab Staff will select between the different student groups.  In some instances, project work may be expanded to fit two groups.  Projects are offered and selected simultaneously for both APSC 459 and 479, so do not be surprised if your desired project has already been chosen by another student group.  As a general rule, APSC 479 students have a higher priority for project selection, given the tighter time constraints of the course.

    Self-Sponsored Projects

    If you prefer to submit your own project, use the list of available projects as a guide for work which is acceptable for academic credit. You are welcome to collaborate with anyone on or off campus (e.g. other engineering departments, industries or government labs) but final approval for the project topic rests with the faculty member in charge.  Students interested in pursuing a self-sponsored project must demonstrate an adequate technical expertise in the field prior to project approval – the lack of an industry or faculty sponsor for a project means that there may be difficulty in accessing appropriate technical resources when required.

    T1-4.   Team Kickoff Challenge

    The Team Kickoff Challenge is a team-exercise posted for APSC 459 groups meant to get teams used to communicating with your team members, to “force” you to get in touch with your team members and to find the best methods to communicate among yourselves, and used to using the online UBC Vista system.  Details on the Challenge will be given to the class during the 2nd week of classes.

    It is a REQUIRED element, although it is not for marks.

    T1-5.   Project Lab Resources

    A variety of resources are available to help you complete your project work successfully.  The Project Lab (Hennings 115) has a number of technical resources available for project use.  Students can arrange for keyfob access to the lab and have 24-hour access to the facility for their use during the duration of APSC 450/479.   A list of software, hardware, and electronics resources is available on the course website.  Link to Project Lab Resources »

    Safety, Ethics and Professionalism

    A safety walk-through of the lab will be given to all students with access to the Project Lab.  As in the real-world, unsafe, unethical and unprofessional behaviour will not be tolerated.  When in doubt, ask the Project Lab for guidance and assistance.

    T1-6.    Project Proposal

    In APSC 459, you spend a considerable amount of time writing a proposal for your project.  This is an iterative process where drafts are submitted to the Project Lab and your project sponsor for comments and revisions.  The process continues until the proposal reaches an acceptable standard.  The purpose of this exercise is to compel you to identify all the activities and tasks that must be done to complete the project on time and with the resources available.

    The Project Proposal is also a planning document that you will use to monitor your progress during the project since it identifies the schedule and the responsibilities for the team members.  Marks are given for achieving the milestones that you set in your proposal, and thus careful thought is required when writing your proposal.

    Use the “Guide to Proposals” found in the Guides and Documents section to set up the document, and to identify all key sections required for the proposal.  Use the following guidelines for different draft submissions:

    First Draft:

    • should contain all of the information required to demonstrate that the team has identified key areas, has adequate background and technical information, and is prepared to start on filling out a complete draft of the proposal.
    • The focus for the First Draft of the proposal is for background research and preparation – often groups will uncover important information at the END of the proposal stage, and will scramble to adjust their projects and work plans at the very last iteration.
    • For the first draft, it is expected that:
      • All major sections are present in the document.
      • Background information is described and organized
      • All references are documented (books, papers, websites, conversations, etc).
      • A clear indication of what calculations and theory will be contained in the final proposal (without necessarily having the calculation completed yet).
      • Appropriate photographs and figures, or placeholders indicating what pics/figs are to come, are indicated in the document.
    • This will allow reviewers to:
      • Give guidance on the direction of the proposed work plan;
      • Identify sections where additional information is required for the next draft;
      • Suggest alternative technical contacts, hardware/software, and techniques where appropriate.
    • The goal of the first draft is not to have a report containing every piece of information required to start the project, but to rapidly identify the overall direction project, which is best done at as early a stage as possible, even if not all information has been gathered by the team at this point – at this stage, it is more important that the team can IDENTIFY what information is required before the complete proposal submission.

    Second Draft:

    • Contains all the elements of the proposal.
    • Every paragraph that will be in the final proposal will be described (e.g. a topic sentence and 3-5 bullet points for each planned paragraph is sufficient).
    • This draft must address all of the specific questions asked by reviewers from the First Draft.  Also clearly indicates areas in the proposal that the group knows requires further information before the Third Draft.
    • This iteration may or may not remain in point form, at the discretion of the student team.

    Third Draft:

    • This is expected to be the first fully complete draft of your proposal.  It is expected that the majority of groups will receive final approval to proceed with their projects after this submission.

    Follow-up Draft:

    • Some groups may be required to submit one final draft or follow-up submission to address specific issues raised by course instructors.   It is expected that groups will be told of these requirements before the end of the December examination period, and will have until the end of the first week of classes in January to address these concerns.

    T1-7.    Penalty for Late Proposals / Not Reaching Formal Approval

    If a group does not gain Formal Approval after the Fourth Propsal submission, or if the proposal is submitted sufficiently late after the posted deadline, mark penalties may be imposed.  Proposed penalties include:

    • Failing to reach approval by end of 1st week of classes – 5% penalty from final overall mark
    • Failing to reach approval by end of 3rd week of classes – 15% penalty from final overall mark, and possibility of other actions (major revision to scope and proposed work plan, being re-assigned to another project or group)

    T1-8.   Submission of Material

    Proposal submission will be done by the Editorial Manager using UBC Vista.

    Please submit all documents as PDF documents, if possible.  All reviewers will insert comments into the PDF to be returned to students after each iteration.

    T1-9     Logbook

    Logbooks are expected to be used for the duration of the project.   Logbooks can be provided to students by the Project Lab if students are on campus, or students may provide their own.    The ones provided by the Project Lab are simple 80-page bound books, as found here ( The professionalism mark will take into consideration logbook content from the Term 2 portion of the cours;, however, it is recommended that regular logbook use begin as soon as the project gets underway in first term.

    The Editorial Manager is responsible for maintaining the Primary Logbook for the project group.  Maintaining a complete logbook is essential in professional engineering life, for both the sake of having good project records, and for legal reasons relating to “intellectual property”.    All group logbooks will be submitted along with your final report at the end of the term.

    Other members of the group are expected to maintain separate logbooks to record technical and other relevant information regarding the project.  The Primary Logbook must be regarded as the main record for meetings and progress for the entire group throughout the term.  All logbooks will be collected at the end of the term, reviewed by the Project Lab, and stored for a minimum 5 years by the lab, or returned to the student and Project Sponsor on request.

    General Guidelines

    1.  The logbook should contain records of:

    • meetings with the group, sponsor, and faculty supervisor
    • telephone calls
    • notable email messages
    • items ordered or borrowed
    • weekly objectives (“to-do” list)
    • sketches of components or test systems
    • calculations
    • results of literature search
    • observations
    • questions or unsolved problems
    • recommendations, as they occur.

    2. All documents should be attached (stapled or taped) to the pages of the logbook.

    3. Date each entry.

    4. Request your supervisor to sign the log book at in-person meeting

    Term 2 Guidelines

    T2-1.   Lectures

    Lectures are scheduled during Term 2 from 2-4pm on Wednesdays.  Students are expected to attend all sessions, including presentations by their classmates.

    If you have a required or elective course which conflicts with either of those two hours, please contact the Project Lab to discuss options about finding other times in your schedule for weekly updates.  Because of the nature of the in-class sessions and evalatuions,we have flexibility in allowing for time conflicts with the courses.

    T2-2    Weekly Reports

    One weekly report will be submitted per group by the Editorial Manager.  Weekly reports are due each week by Monday, 5pm. Groups may choose to submit at any point over the weekend prior to the deadline.

    Submission will be coordinated through UBC Vista.  Use the template for weekly reports listed on UBC Vista for submission.

    T2-3   Milestone Reporting

    Details on milestone selection can be found in “Guide to Proposals”  document found online.

    Milestones will be submitted via UBC Vista.

    Milestones can be negotiated and readjusted with the Project Lab during the term, but can be readjusted no more than one week before the original milestone date (i.e. no last-minute changes).

    T2-4     In-Class Presentations

    3 to 4 student groups are expected to present their project during class.  This session is meant to be a practice presentation in preparation for the Seminar Session at the end of Term 2.    Students will be given an opportunity to present their project in a 8-10 minute presentation and receive feedback from classmates and other student groups during the session.

    T2-5      Project Fair

    The Engineering Physics Project Fair is held each year on the first Thursday of March.  The Project Fair is an annual event that is the showplace for technological projects involving UBC Engineering Physics and local research and industry, as well as for student groups in APSC 479 to present and display their completed projects.

    All students in APSC 459 are expected to attend the Project Fair but do not need to provide presentation material for the proceedings.

    T2-6       Seminar Session

    Each group will be asked to present their material in an oral presentation during a Seminar Session to be held in the last week of classes.  The exact format and other details of the session, including the date and time for the event (evening or weekend)

    End of Course Requirements

    1.    Project Deliverables

    At the end of the project, all relevant materials, prototypes, and supporting material should be transferred to the project sponsor in a timely fashion, typically before the end of final exams in April.  Each year, many projects have ended up abandoned in the project lab because the group did not prepare to hand over the project at the end of the term.  To avoid this, please:

    • document all work that will be transferred to the sponsor;
    • label all relevant parts and components as being part of the project;
    • provide all relevant supporting material (user guides, circuit diagrams, mechanical drawings) to the project sponsor.

    As you proceed, keep in mind that all of the material will be handed over to your project sponsor at the end of the term – always take their needs and the future utility of your project into consideration as you work.

    2.  Final Report

    You will write an engineering recommendation report at the completion of the project work. This report has three main functions:

    1. Communicates the results of the project work to the reader
    2. Creates an archive of the work
    3. Suggests a course of action to the sponsor

    The last function is very important because your proposal stated the work that had to be done to achieve the sponsor’s objectives and the report shows the sponsor how to benefit from your work.

    The final report is an important document and will take a significant amount of time to prepare.  You should allow at least a week to put the report together and to proofread the material.

    For further information, see the Guide to Final Reports for APSC 459/479 on the course website.

    2. Project Completion Report

    The Project Completion Report is a document which summarizes all of the activities at the conclusion of a  project:  The final project deliverables and changes to the project, financial details, and any follow-up activities which are expected from either the Project Team or Sponsor.

    The Project Completion Report is intended to address several issues:

    • Obtain written agreement among all stakeholders that the project has reached a satisfactory conclusion, or specifies what issues are still unresolved.
    • Avoid ambiguities and misconceptions between the project sponsor and team members;
    • Present a definitive conclusion for the project for both the Project Sponsor and Team.
    • Provides agreement for sharing the results of the project with the general community through cIRcle, UBC’s online digital repository (

    You are required to obtain either signed or electronic approval from your project sponsors based on the Project Charter, and to submit the Project Completion Report to the Project Lab.  The report must be submitted prior to your final mark being released for the course.  Failure to do so will likely result in your mark for the course being withheld.