Online Project Evaluation and Supervision System (oPENs) for Final Year Project Proposal Development Process

INTRODUCTION Final Year Project (FYP) is one of the compulsory course code in UiTM’s Diploma of Electrical Engineering (DEE) programme. There are 2 project implementation phases which are FYP1 and FYP2 and they are conducted in 2 semesters respectively. A FYP committee is formed to cater all the managing process lead by the coordinators. The coordinators facilitate the interactions between all parties which involves students, supervisor and panels. In FYP1, the main objective is preparation of a project proposal, while in FYP2 the main objectives are to develop the project prototype and demonstration of project’s prototype. Also taken into consideration is the management process such as progress presentation, weekly report monitoring and also evaluation of the projects which is in line with the the FYP course outcomes. According to Abdulkareem et al (2013), a web portal lets users to link with everything they need, the people needed and provides all the tools that are needed to work with [1]. Albar et al (2012) explained web-based system using multi-agents technologies with client/server approach to access and receive information from databases to help supervisors and supervisees in their activities [2]. Currently, there is no webbased application or e-learning tools provided to facilitate all the administrative and management works in FYP. All the form submission from the project title proposal form, project’s progress form, to the evaluation form is conducted manually. The process of feedbacks collection from all parties require huge amount of papers and this will lead to the physical storage problem. Furthermore, this will also result in difficulty in keeping track of all the project records especially when handling many supervisors and hundreds of project groups at one time. According to Romdhani et al (2011), students and academic staff supports e-supervision system is vital to facilitate communications and project management processes for FYP and dissertation [3]. This will minimize the administrative works overhead guarantying a better control of project progression and monitoring. Log book is used to report the project progress and the discussion between the student and supervisor , however according to Bakar et al (2011), although a detailed schedule has been proposed, there is no monitoring process to trigger specific actions to make sure all deadlines are met. Consequently student failed to complete prototype development within the allocated time [4]. The role of supervisors in the final year project is to help students gain a positive experience and thereby improve performance in a given task. Therefore, supervisors must have positive attitude in the process of supervision that can help student to improve knowledge. According to Shadlou et al (2011), email giving a solution to the delivery of project proposal, student’s work progress or any documentation on-line. However, managing and organising email delivery requires a lot of time and is less effective [5]. In addition the data is not centralised and less secure. To be more effective, the traditional way of documentation of all project progress and evaluation must be improvised to a web based system that can ensure the security of data and better handling of project data storage for a faster and paperless documentation. This can reduce the lecturer’s workload and thus increase the quality of work to be more systematic and efficient. A. Existing FYP1 system The preparations of project proposals are conducted by Diploma in Electrical Engineering (DEE) students in semester 4. This course is named Final Year Project 1 (FYP1). Meanwhile, fabrication and demonstration of the prototype for the proposed project are executed in the Final Year Project 2 (FYP2) course in the following semester. There are several processes that are conducted by 3 parties, involving students, supervisor and panels throughout the 14 weeks of this FYP1 course. First stage of FYP1 focuses in identifying a project’s idea to be implemented. After the supervisor has approved the proposed project idea, the students can proceed in preparing the preliminary works of the proposal content as shown in Fig. 1. Fig. 2 shows the second stage of the FYP1 process. Supervisors will monitor the progress of each project and submit a project progress validation form. Students are not allowed to attend the progress presentation if the project progress does not meet the specified requirement; they should extend their progress work and then join the next session presentation.

Through this system, the process of assigning project’s supervisor for each group can be done quickly and easily. Current system requires coordinators to check several times the names of students who have not yet registered and still have no supervisor designated for their project group. This process is very tiring and it is possible that the name of the student is accidentally dropped or redundancy in appointing the supervisor per group. For example, the same project group possibly designated with two different supervisors. In addition, the previous system requires the use of lots of papers from all forms related to the FYP1 course to be made a printed copy for the record of coordinator. Consequently, the process requires a suitable storage space for the purpose of recording all supervisory activities and it is difficult for the coordinators to identify project groups that have not yet submitted the required documents as all processes are being run manually.

CONCLUSION With the development of oPENs, management of documentations involved throughout FYP1 is more organized. Furthermore, since we are moving towards paperless documentation system, it is very crucial to have this web based FYP1 platform. Data retrieval process by all the parties involved (coordinators, supervisors, evaluation panels and students) is also designed to be more practical and able to save a lot of time. Another important feature of oPENs is the capability of online project evaluation and monitoring of students’ project progress. With the integration of all these elements inside oPENs, the execution of FYP1 process is more systematic and efficient. Besides preventing wastage by reducing the usage of paper in the FYP1 process, the system developed also is more secure and provide safe storage of project-related information and evaluation marks. In addition, errors in the final score uploading process will also be avoided. With the huge enrollment of students to this course every semester, this is indeed very helpful to the FYP1 coordinator in coordinating the whole process flow of this course. It is important for a higher learning institution to provide a special medium that facilitates the process of teaching and learning. Hence, the step taken by FKE UiTMT to provide oPENs as the online platform is very helpful and beneficial for all the parties involved in the FYP1 process.

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