Expectations for CSC494/CSC495 course credit

  • Workload similar to one half course (8-10 hours per week over 12 weeks for half-credit; over 24 weeks for full credit).
  • Significant computer science component.
  • Significant component that is self-directed, i.e., the work involves some research and reading to figure stuff out on your own, it's not just the application of knowledge you already have.
  • Built-in reflection. In other words, it's not enough to do the work of the project, you must also report on what you are doing and demonstrate the amount of learning you've achieved over the term. Note that this is overhead -- we expect you to do this in addition to the pure project work -- but it provides a safety mechanism by allowing some decoupling between the amount of progress you achieve on the project and the amount of learning you achieve during the term. Ideally, your final grade should be based mostly on the second (how much learning you've achieved) and not on the first, so that if you should encounter significant obstacles in the project work itself, it is still possible to achieve a good grade by reporting on your efforts to overcome those obstacles (whether or not you succeed). On the flip side, it also means that a project where all you do is apply knowledge you already have should not lead to a high grade, even if you're highly successful in the project work itself -- in other words, CSC494/495 should not be used in a situation where what is really desired is more of an internship or a work-study position. (If that's the case, let us know and we can help you and your supervisor set up the appropriate type of position for you.)
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