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.

The Progress Reports and 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. Any student who cannot attend any of the sessions must present a letter of excuse from the Senior Tutor of their College.

New this year is that Overseers will write a formal report, of a few sentences, that will go forward to The Part II Examiners for consideration alongside the final dissertation. In previous years, Overseers’ reports have been informal and sent only to the relevant Director of Studies.

Two copies of the Progress Report, in hardcopy form, are required and should be handed in to Student Administration.

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?
    It should be possible to understand the progress report independently of the original proposal, thus ‘I have completed implementing the wombat module’ rather than ‘I have completed points 1 and 3 in the proposal but not point 2’.

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.

It is quickest if one of the group connects their laptop to the data projector and this is used throughout the session with the other group members having already copied PDFs of their presentation to that laptop.

However, individual 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.

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.