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From Ross Gardler <>
Subject RE: [Fwd: Time to propose a CS Capstone Project!]
Date Wed, 24 Aug 2016 06:09:48 GMT
I supervised a capstone project last year. The overhead was significant but, theoretically,
the reward was good. The problem was that, in my case, the students did not provide patches
as part of their work. Instead we got a monster patch which is still sitting in JIRA waiting
for me to find the time to review it.

This is not necessarily the students fault. I could have been more forceful, or I could have
been more hands-on and helped them get set up. But the lesson learned is that putting an hour
a week into these projects is not enough.

That being said, if I had 3 hours a week to put into this I would certainly do it again.


> -----Original Message-----
> From: []
> Sent: Monday, August 22, 2016 11:35 PM
> To:
> Subject: [Fwd: Time to propose a CS Capstone Project!]
> I have participated in Oregon State University (Corvallis, Oregon USA)
> undergraduate senior projects in the past. The Capstone program is an
> opportunity for our open source software communities to propose a three-
> term project for students and provide mentors to the projects.  The mentors
> get to interact with students and their evaluation becomes a part of their
> performance evaluation grade.
> These Capstone university projects can readily support the Apache Software
> Foundation health.
> I live and work within commute distance of the university.  One of the
> previous projects had a mentor in Denmark.  International cooperation can be
> accommodated.
> Sincerely,
> Steven J. Hathaway
> shathaway@a.o
> ---------------------------- Original Message ----------------------------
> Subject: Time to propose a CS Capstone Project!
> From:    "D. Kevin McGrath" <>
> Date:    Mon, August 22, 2016 12:30 pm
> To:
> --------------------------------------------------------------------------
> Colleagues --
> Have you always wanted a particular software tool developed for your use,
> but have never had the time to do it yourself? Well then, read on. Have I got
> a deal for you!
> My name is Kevin McGrath. I am the instructor who runs the OSU Computer
> Science Senior Capstone class. The Capstone class is a 3-quarter (Fall, Winter,
> Spring)
> "career preparation" experience. The major piece of this is doing a significant
> 3 member team project.
> When the students come to the first class on September 24, I want to present
> them with a list of exciting, creative, and real-experience software
> engineering project possibilities. This is where you come in. I am looking for
> you to use your needs and experience to propose those project possibilities.
> A web site has been setup to give you more information, and let you enter
> and edit your project proposals:
> 8bf86f141af91ab2d7cd011db47%7c1&sdata=Y5%2f34BYPOXEwKHTC0sm4jNG
> QVxTqoxU7RGLoJBj02S0%3d
> You have until September 15 to get yours in. If any clarification would be
> necessary, you'd have from the 15th to the first day of term to clarify.
> That is
> when the students will see them, and will start the selection process. In that
> process, I ask the students to "bid" on their top 5 choices. I ultimately make
> the final project assignments, but endeavour to take their preferences into
> account. I find I get better results that way.
> There will likely be more projects proposed than students teams to do them.
> *So, really sell your project.* Definitely don't understate its cool-ness factor!
> The more excited you sound in the description, the more excited they are
> likely to be when doing it. Excitement is contagious! If you'd be interested in
> pitching your project to the students in person, please let me know!
> Personally pitched projects tend to generate more excitement from the
> students.
> After projects have been selected, we will follow a client-contractor model in
> which I "run" the software contract company and you are one of our valued
> clients. The students "report" to me, but you, as client, work directly with
> them to design the requirements, set the timeline, approve the progress. You
> also get to help assign grades.
> This year I'm asking you to explicitly distinguish the projects that are research
> oriented vs. those that are more software engineering focused. If you would
> like to propose a research project for the students, please indicate this using
> the Additional Comments field.
> Given the nature of a research oriented project, I find that better results are
> had if the students are initially aware of the type of project. If you are unsure,
> that is not a problem. I'm happy to work with you on the details of your
> project -- just submit it, and then we can chat about any changes that might
> be necessary.
> Any project can be proposed from anybody. I don't care where you are from,
> just that your project represents an excellent software engineering
> experience for the students.
> Do remember, however, that these are seniors. They have taken the core
> classes so far, but most have not taken some of the electives that would really
> help in some projects, such as graphics, AI, computer vision, etc. Keep that in
> mind when proposing.
> Several additional points to keep in mind:
>          1) We ask for about 1 hour per week to interact with the students
>          2) If you propose a project that will be handed off to another
>              engineer/developer to mentor, please list their name as well
>              as an additional contact.
>          3) Any IP restrictions need to be listed. These can include NDAs,
>              assignment of IP, etc. University policy is that students own the IP
>              of their projects, so if you have something else in mind, be very
>              clear from the proposal. Negotiations/agreements will be between
> you
>              and the students, rather than you and the university.
>          4) The general scope of the project is what you would give one 6-month
>              intern.
> If you have questions or want to discuss project possibilities, feel free to
> contact me at:
> 		 D. Kevin McGrath
> 		 Instructor, Computer Science
> 		 Oregon State University
> 		 2109 Kelley Engineering Center
> 		 541-737-1420
> Thanks for your time -- I look forward to working with you!
> 						 -- Kevin McGrath
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