Roskilde, January 2016

Elective courses: Individual synopsis

This document is an add-on to the official curriculum, section 15 Elective educational elements

"The elective educational elements give the student an opportunity to enhance his/her academic and pro‐ fessional competence by specialising and putting themes into perspective within the wider scope of information technology."

"The student must prepare a synopsis to be used as the point of departure for the oral exam. The synopsis must comply with the formal requirements as set out below and must be submitted in time, cf. the exam schedule to be found on the Intranet.  

Formal requirements to the synopsis:

The synopsis can be no more than 10 standard pages plus any programs and a running system."

Introduction

Electives courses have two parts:

Sometime before the end of the course part you must write the teachers of your electives about your subject for the individual synopsis. The subject must be something that has are relation to at least one of your electives (not all your electives). The subject must be something that was not covered in the course part.
The teachers must check that the ideas is relevant.

Based on the subject you will be assigned a supervisor, who can guide you through the process of making your individual synopsis.

Each student makes ONE individual synopsis - not one synopsis per elective course.
Each elective course includes one or more mandatory assignments. In this way we check that you learned enough in each course, so that you do not have to repeat the course knowledge in the individual synopsis.

Some important sections of your synopsis

Introduction

Briefly introduce your subject.

Motivation: Why do is this subject interesting to you - and to the rest of the World?

Problem definition

Ask some questions about the subject. Usually a single main question with about three sub-questions.

State this like real questions - ending with a real question mark.

Method

Describe how you intend to find the answers to the questions, like:

The method described in this section must not be confused with a Systems Development Methodologies like UP or XP.

Planning

Describe which activities you will go through to find the answers and write the synopsis.

Sequence the activities: What will you do first, and then, and then ...
You may refer to a Systems Developments Methodology when you sequence your activities.

How much time will you spend on each activity?

Put the activities into a plan. Remember, you have a hard deadline: The day of submission cannot be postponed.

You have two sets of activities in the plan

Work, to answer the questions

This must be the main body of the synopsis.

Describe the work you do to answer the questions.
If you do something, but don't describe it, then we don't know - and it doesn't count.

The work should include not only theory but also practical work - where you can gain your own experience - to answer the questions from the problem definition.

Conclusion: Answer most of the questions

In the conclusion you answer the questions.

Main question: Answer to main question!

If you cannot answer the questions, then you have a serious problem! One solution is to rephrase the questions!!

You should end the conclusion with a few words on how/if the knowledge you gained from you work is applicable in other areas, outside your problem definition.

Important point: You write a synopsis for the exam. Save the answer (or a part of an answer) to one of the questions (usually the last question) for the exam.

Reflection

After answering the questions you should have another look at what you did. With the knowledge you have now (hopefully more that when you started working on the synopsis):

List of references

The list of references incudes all the books, web sites, etc. you used.

Each reference must include: Authors name + title + publisher + year of publication, etc. and a few lines on how you used the book, etc.

With web sites a URL is not enough: There must be at least a title, and maybe an author and/or a publisher.

Example:

Joseph Annuzzi et al. Introduction to Android Development, 4th edition, Addison Wesley 2014.
I used this book for some advanced examples on Android development.
Android Developers API Guides, Introduction to Android, http://developer.android.com/guide/index.html
Used for examples on how to use the Android API.

In the synopsis you should refer to a reference using footnotes.

What's not in the synopsis?

No groups
This is an individual synopsis.
 
No company
You don't have to work with a company, unless you chose to do so in your "Method".
Later, when you do your internship and dissertation you should work with a company.
Nobody needs a software product
According to the curriculum you submit a synopsis. In most cases you will make a software product, because you "Method" tells you to. But, you make the softwaree product to be able to answer the questions - not because somebody needs the product.
No plagiarism
Copying other peoples work is not allowed and may lead to your exclusion.
You are allowed to make small quotes on your synopsis. The quote must be clearly marked, and you must state exactly where you quoted from (including page numbers, etc.)

Exam

Quote from the curriculum, section 15.1:

"The exam is an internal, individual oral exam based on a synopsis and assessed according to the 7‐point scale.

The student is free to choose the topic of his/her synopsis.

The exam totals 30 ETCS credits.

A single mark will be given based on a general assessment of the written product and the oral performance with the synopsis weighing 20%.

The student is to make a presentation of the synopsis, no more than 10 minutes. The presentation will be followed by an individual examination period of 20 minutes, including evaluation and awarding of grade.  "