There is no word count but the final EMA project has 6000 words so need to keep that in mind.
This assignment requires you to demonstrate that you have made enough progress to be able to submit a satisfactory final project report. For this you will need to refer to the requirements for the EMA.
Your report outline (20 marks)
Demonstrate that you can organise yourself and your work appropriately and keep systematic records of your plans, progress and achievements and produce a written technical report and a poster presentation on your specialist topic.
This part of the assignment requires you to produce an outline of your project report. Look at the requirements given in the EMA requirements. In particular, deal with the questions the marker will be using as a guide, but make sure you write them as a technical report. The format of the report can be based on the variants given in the ebook by Bowden (2011).
Your outline should give:
- a draft table of contents
- an appropriate title
- a clear indication of your report’s structure – the probable sections and subsections with their titles
- one or two sentences or bullet points about what you intend to discuss under the various section and subsection headings
- A description of the proposed use of any graphics, such as diagrams.
You might find it helpful to think in terms of your headings as providing a route-map for the reader of your report.
Your tutor will be looking for:
- Meaningful titles for the sections of the report.
- A clear indication that all the areas required for the main report will be covered using a suitable technical report format. These will include suitable references and graphics.
- A logical order – it should be possible to see the ‘story’ of your work by looking at the titles of the sections, subsections and appendices.
The ‘Background’ section of your report (40 marks)
To gather, analyse, evaluate and use relevant material and execute a literature review supporting your project.
Your task in this part of the assignment is to write about your project’s beginnings and how you decided on your project aims. This is a first draft of the introductory section to your project. Please bear in mind that it will be used to assess your answers to both Question 1: Plan and Question 2: Do in your EMA. It should set the scene with particular reference to the technical outcomes you are aiming for.
- Draft the part of your final report that addresses what you set out to do and why: it is expected that you will describe the activities you intend to carry out.
- Focus on your research and your evaluation of those references.
- Present your literature review; you should show how your evaluations of the literature shaped your project.
- Be of a suitable length so that the final report does not exceed the word limit.
- Conform to the required standards of spelling, grammar and punctuation.
It is important to think seriously about the extra sections you will need to complete the full report (such as the discussion, summary, and conclusions) to get an estimate of the lengths of Part 2 and Part 3.
The ‘Technical’ section of your report (40 marks)
To show that you can solve problems in developed technologies using well-proven analytical techniques and demonstrate a successful application of your engineering knowledge to deliver a project using established technologies and methods.
Your task in this part of the assignment is to present a draft of the technical work that you have done up till now. The purpose of the technical work is to provide justification for your decisions and conclusions. It should include:
- examples of calculations you have undertaken
- technical assessments of methods
- any modelling you have undertaken.
You will be assessed on how effectively you have chosen and then used the techniques and analysis from your chosen discipline. So, items such as merit of approach, accuracy and relevance will be considered.
It is important that you incorporate your engineering knowledge.
You therefore need to plan your accounts in Parts 2 and 3 with the requirements of your final project report in mind, particularly the requirements for ‘Question 1: What was intended to be done and why?’ (Plan) and ‘Question 2: What was done, how was it done and why?’ (Do). Use what is said about these questions to guide you with your account in this TMA. In summary, you need to produce a narrative with supporting material.
In deciding how long to make your account for this TMA, please bear in mind that the technical report of your EMA must be 6000 words in total, and that the report will have to cover all of Questions 1 to 3 under ‘Plan’, ‘Do’ and ‘Review’ described in the subsection ‘What the report must cover’ in the EMA requirements.
Additional marking criteria
When your tutor and the second marker for your EMA assess your work, they will consider the work you are writing up and the report itself. In no particular order of importance, they will look for:
- awareness of engineering context of the work
- depth and substance of engineering in the project work
- independence while doing the work
- integration of ideas
- originality of work
- application of concepts from the related OU level 3 module.
Be aware that ‘independence while doing the work’ does not mean that you should never contact your tutor – far from it (see the Subject-specific study guides). There is, however, a difference between regularly consulting your tutor, and expecting him or her to supply you with ideas or prompt you when to do what.
The role of the literature review
The principal purpose of a literature review is to show that you are clear about the area you are working in. This means that you have to survey the published literature. The use of reference databases is essential. As you gather articles, you will establish your own criteria of usefulness, working out whether a particular reference will be valuable and also identifying its limitations.
You will be seeking to group references together to highlight or contrast different approaches and methods. The material you look at and then evaluate will allow you to define and limit the problem you are working on and the methods you adopt. It should prevent you from ‘reinventing the wheel’ on the one hand and neglecting to do something important on the other.
The review itself will have a short introduction outlining the main topics. This will be followed by descriptions, evaluations and contributions of various references. In the review, you will seek to support the methods that you have chosen for your project. You must supply a clear link between your evaluations of the references and your chosen methods.
Finally, the review should extend your reader’s understanding of the problem you are tackling as well as providing a rationale of the project’s aims.
Bowden, J. (2011) Writing a Report: How to Prepare, Write and Present Really Effective Reports, 9th edn [Online], Constable & Robinson. Available at https://www.open.ac.uk/ libraryservices/ resource/ ebook:497748&f=28184 (Accessed 01 September 2015).
2 Project report (80 marks)
Word limit: 6000 words maximum
This is the culmination of your engineering qualification where you will bring together your learning across the different modules that you have taken. You will have submitted reports and part reports throughout the modules of your qualification so it is expected that you will be able to show that you have developed a professional approach to communicating technical information.
Use the A4 paper size for your project report and put your name, your personal identifier, the module code and ‘Project report’ at the top of every sheet.
Your report must be formal in nature, so be sure to look at the types of report given in the ebook by Bowden (2011) and adapt them to suit your purpose.
The markers of your project report will want to know the full story of your project. So ensure that you include enough narrative to explain what you set out to do by describing your proposal, what you actually did in your activities and what you found in your results and conclusions. These sections must all be supported by your reasoning and evaluation.
Why did you select your aims? What persuaded you to adopt your methods and what do your results tell us about the engineering question you set out to answer? The requirements of your report will include strict word limits so it will need to be efficiently written.
This means that you must report in a technical style, concentrating on the engineering that you did. Remember, this is about how you perform as an engineer. While your work in TMA 02 will contribute to your EMA, you need to take care in how you use it. The TMA parts are not directly transferable to the EMA. The EMA, apart from requiring additional work, also needs to comply with a formal report structure. Take care to ensure your sections actually address what they should. For example, your summary should give a brief description of what your project was about and what was concluded. It is not an introduction.
What you will need to do is imagine you are addressing a particular audience. It may be your senior management. It may be a technical committee or, if you are involved in product design, a group providing financial backing needing to understand the technical detail of the product. They will want to know answers to the questions you have set yourself and by reading your report they expect to find them. However, they will also require a formal technical or technological document.
The assessment will be based on the learning outcomes and so the markers will be considering how well you have demonstrated:
- competence in the use of the principles and conventions of project management and execution
- that you can solve problems in developed technologies using well-proven analytical techniques
- a successful application of your engineering knowledge to deliver a project using established technologies and methods.
In addition, your key skills will be assessed by considering how well you have:
- executed a literature review supporting your project
- produced a written technical report and a poster presentation on your specialist topic
- reviewed what you have done critically, analysing your learning and skill development.
The assessors will use the following guidance to grade the achievements of the learning outcomes:
Grade (assuming the student has done equally well on the TMAs)
Descriptors of the likely achievement of the learning outcomes
Predominantly well achieved
Mixture of achieved with some higher
Mixture of achieved with some lower
Predominantly just achieved
Mixture of just achieved with not quite achieved
Mixture of not quite achieved and not achieved
Predominantly not achieved
Some limited feedback on your performance in each of these learning outcomes will be provided after the results have been issued.
Markers will also be judging the presentation of the report as well as the quality of the English. So make sure you pay attention to spelling, grammar and punctuation.
General guidance for writing the project
Central to all your project work are the engineering questions that you set out to answer in your proposal. These need to be described as part of the context of your report. You will have done some of this work in TMA 02; now is your opportunity to respond to the feedback and refine their descriptions.
Similarly, you will have started your technical section in TMA 02 and now you can report on the work you have carried out since TMA 02.
The new sections which are needed for your final report are:
- your results
- your discussion and evaluation of these results
- your conclusions.
You will also need to arrange your references and appendices in a suitable form (see the Study guide). Finally, please ensure that your report complies with the standards expected in professional engineering. For example, have you used sufficient graphical content to explain your work?
Your report will be assessed using the marking scheme below.
What the report must cover
You must make sure that your report addresses the three questions that follow. It is your choice as to how you divide your report into sections, but you are expected to follow one of the variants of a technical report. This is an important distinction. Your report must look and read like a technical document.
For examples of types of reports, look at the ebook by Bowden (2011). It is likely that your project would be best presented by one of the technical/technological variants given in Part 3.
Question 1: Plan
What was intended to be done and why? (10 marks)
You should include:
- an updated version of your aims from TMA 01 – these may have altered as your project evolved, and this is acceptable
- a description of the context of your project, including a brief background showing why there is a need for the work you have carried out in your particular project. You will use some of the work you did for Part 2 of your TMA 02, suitably refined and updated.
- a clear technical explanation of your aims
- a short response to the TMA 01 feedback you received from your tutor and Internal Examiner.
Question 2: Do
What was done, how was it done and why? (35 marks)
You should include:
- your literature review which you drafted for Part 2 of TMA 02 and how your evaluation of the literature shaped your methodology
- a description of the particular approach you decided to use for your work
- a report of the activities that you undertook as you worked through your project. This will build on the work you did for Part 3 of TMA 02.
Be careful not to write just a narrative for this last point, so avoid ‘I did this, then I did that’. Your activities need to be described in technical terms and backed up by engineering judgements. It is important, for instance, that you indicate key stages of your project. You should identify what these were and justify the decisions you made as a consequence of work done during each stage. If you changed your aims, you should say so here and include your reasons.
Explain your decisions
Ensure that you include sufficient detail for your markers to be able to follow how and why you arrived at your outcomes. For example, where you have responded to feedback from your tutor and Internal Examiner, your decisions should be indicated and explained.
Question 3: Review
What were the outcomes of your work and what was your evaluation of them? (25 marks)
This is the most technical question to be answered in the report. It is here that you are expected to show your engineering understanding. Be clear about the methods you used and how well they worked. This needs to be a critical process, reflecting on the limitations and accuracy of the techniques used.
You should include:
- your technical results and conclusions
- an evaluation of the results
- any supporting information that is better in the report itself, rather than in an Appendix (see the information about appendices below).
Your report needs to be no more than 6000 words with the number of marks as a guide, e.g. 10 marks represents around 10%, so 600 words. Marks will be deducted for going over the word limit: this can be up to 10 marks, so ensure you stay within the word limits specified.
State the number of words at the end of your report. If you fail to do this, you will lose marks. You will also be penalised if your report deviates significantly from the stipulated word length.
As a wide range of subjects as well as contexts are covered by T452, there are several ways of presenting your technical report. You need to research the possible formats and then discuss them with your tutor.
However, as a minimum your report should have:
- an appropriate title page
- a one-page summary
- an introduction
- an account describing your methodology and process
- an evaluation of the results
- a discussion leading to your conclusions
- a list of references (and possibly a bibliography) along with any acknowledgements
- appendices (see below) and, if necessary, a glossary.
As the word limits are tight, please consider using diagrams and other graphics to describe your work. They are an important and efficient means of engineering communication.
Clarity, style and use of English
Your report should be written in a clear style and be grammatically correct in its use of English. This is worth up to 10 marks of the 80 available for the project report. When thinking about the audience for your report, remember that the readers will not only be your tutor, but also someone else who may be unfamiliar with your work to date. You are advised to imagine you are writing for someone who is at a similar stage of study as yourself. It is important that your report be written in a formal style, so the use of the first person is not generally appropriate. Please be aware of the effect of poor layout by thinking about font, spacing and margins. Guidance on these details is given in the Study guide.
Use of appendices
Appendices should be used for those elements that might distract the reader from the main narrative. For example:
- lengthy or detailed tables
- calculations, test cases and results
- user and technical documentation
- derivations of standard formulae
- details of standard procedures.
The total number of pages in your appendices should not be greater than the number in your actual report. You should not include appendices which have not been referred to in the main text.
You must include the feedback given by your tutor and the Internal Examiner for TMA 01 in the appendices. This is because you will need to refer to them in your main text.
Extract important information
The assessors will award marks for the main text of your report and your use of the appendices as supporting evidence. This means that they are not expected to read your appendices thoroughly, and so you should extract important results or summaries of important results from them and include these in your main text. If you do not do this, or do not reference them clearly, you cannot assume that the assessors will see them.
If you take material from an Open University module or elsewhere and incorporate it into your answer word for word, you must indicate where you have taken it from. Not to do so is termed ‘plagiarism’ and is regarded as an infringement of copyright. To attempt to pass off such work as your own is cheating.
You must therefore acknowledge all your sources of information. You will find further guidance at Referencing and plagiarism. On that page is a link to a guide on developing good academic practice.
Additional marking criteria
When your tutor and a second assessor mark your EMA they will consider the work you are writing up and the report itself. In no particular order of importance, they will look for:
- absence of errors, particularly conceptual errors
- fluency of write-up and variety of presentation of information
- awareness of context of work
- depth and substance of project work
- independence while doing the work
- integration of ideas in the report
- originality of work
- application of concepts from your related OU level 3 module.
Be aware that ‘independence while doing the work’ does not mean that you should never contact your tutor – far from it. There is, however, a difference between regularly consulting your tutor and expecting him or her to supply you with ideas or prompt you when to do what.
3 Project poster (10 marks)
Imagine you are going to a conference of experts and students in the field of your project. At this conference you have to present a poster that summarises your project. Your poster will be displayed in a public area and should be legible from a distance of about 1 metre. As a rough guide, presume a reader will spend no more than five minutes reading it. You should present your work on a poster, for display in an area of up to 1 square metre.
Posters at a conference are used to describe work in progress or completed work. It is vital to communicate the current state of the work and any significant results and milestones. Your poster might include:
- a description of some completed work
- the main outcome
- the route to the outcome
- the value of the outcome
- an indication of related future work.
- be visually attractive with diagrams, graphics, and so on
- be viewed as an integral item
- not include references.
Your project will have been lengthy and you won’t be able to cover all the detail on a single poster. You will need to be selective about what material you choose to display, and how you communicate your ideas effectively. It should be possible for someone familiar with the field to read your poster and understand your work and its results without further explanation.
There are a number of ways of creating your poster but remember that it will need to be submitted electronically. Using a series of Word files with graphical images is a possibility as is a digital photo of a hard copy poster.
Of the 10 marks for this part, 5 are for the content of your poster and 5 are for layout and presentation.
4 Process review (10 marks)
Word limit: 600 words maximum
The question which you need to answer in this section depends on your qualification.
BEng (Hons) Q65
What have you learned from doing a project? (10 marks)
This final part of your report is asking you to reflect on the project by looking back over your project and asking yourself:
- how your skills have changed
- how your skills now match with UK-SPEC (Engineering Council, 2014).
Using the work you did in the iCMA, where you identified those Incorporated Engineer competences which are relevant to your project, critically assess your development of those competences.
BEng (Hons) B65, and top-up Q78, BSc Design and Innovation, B61 and Q61, Open degrees, BD and QD
What did you think of your work? (10 marks)
This final question is asking you to reflect on the project by looking back over your project and asking yourself, for example, what you would do differently next time. Whereas your report and poster deal with the technical part of the project, this section is about the process.
You should include:
- a discussion of how successful you were in what you set out to do
- your opinion of the value of what you did – for example, in relation to the field of study or to you personally
- an evaluation of your project methods and approach.
Both these questions are asking you to be reflective about the work that you have undertaken. It is therefore appropriate for you to adopt a more personal tone and use the first person in your answer.