Computer Laboratory

Progress Reports

About halfway through the project you have to report on the progress that you have made. There is a formal requirement for a written report of 300 to 500 words, which will go to your Overseers who will check it. Two copies are required. The report should be printed on A4 paper and should contain:

  • Your name and e-mail address.
  • The title of your project.
  • The name of your Supervisor.
  • The name of your Director of Studies.
  • The names of your Overseers.
  • An indication of what work has been completed and how this relates to the timetable and work plan in the original proposal. The progress report should answer the following questions:

    • Is the project on schedule and if not, how many weeks behind (or ahead)?
    • What unexpected difficulties have arisen?
    • Briefly, what has been accomplished?

In straightforward cases (entirely on schedule), one side of A4 could suffice. If the project is in difficulties, a new workplan should be included.

In addition, students must make an oral report on their progress. Overseers will arrange a meeting attended by all members of their overseeing group (typically 8 to 10 people), and each member of the group will describe progress made so far in a 5-minute presentation to the whole group. This oral report should be carefully rehearsed. Note that:

  • The use of slides projected from a laptop is encouraged, but an overhead projector can be made available if prior notice is given.
  • No more than four slides can usefully be described in 5 minutes.

In terms of the former, there is no requirement to own or borrow a laptop; acetates can be used (or indeed a PDF on a USB stick) with enough prior notice.

However, laptop users should note the following:

  • The data projector connector is a standard D-sub 15-pin VGA connector (Macintosh users beware). Please also note that data projectors often cannot display high screen resolutions.
  • If using a laptop, before attending the presentation session please ensure, e.g.practising on a spare display monitor, that you
    • know how to change the screen resolution, and
    • can enable the external VGA output.
  • Taking more than 15 seconds from plugging in the laptop to achieving a successful projected image is seen negatively; incidentally it is often simplest if several talks are placed onto a single laptop to avoid the need for physical re-connection but do check your slides display correctly in this case.

These Progress Report Presentations are mandatory. Any student unable to attend the Presentation with his or her own Overseers should arrange to join another group, and must inform both sets of Overseers, and the Student Administrator.

The written report and oral report provide a natural opportunity to consider adjustments to your original plan and schedule. In many cases these will be minor. In a few cases, the Overseers may feel that there is a need to discuss any special difficulties which have arisen in a more private setting. In such circumstances they will arrange to meet you individually. Such a meeting would be in addition to the overseeing group’s oral report meeting. You may request an individual meeting yourself if you feel that it is necessary; this request should be put in writing at the end of your written report.