Term Projects

A term project for this course should represent 14 to 16 hours of work. If you are approaching 15 hours, stop, and spend the last bit of time on documenting what you have done and how it should be completed by someone else.

The main goal of any term project is to make the course better. In the past, the emphasis was on creating more information for our RPI archive. This is still acceptable, but students are now encouraged to tweak the existing web pages. This term project will constitute 15 per cent of your grade. Of this percentage, 3% is reserved for finishing your project in time for use this semester. If you add something totally new, this may not apply.

Please select the topic for your term project during the first weeks of this semester. To exclude others from the same topic, find the web page that you intend to improve and print it out. Hand in that hard copy with notes written on it telling what you intend to do. These pages will be kept in a notebook that any student in this course can consult. If you elect to do something new instead of improving an existing page, you should still put your proposal in this notebook early in the semester.

Although you are asked to select a topic before it comes up in the course schedule, our web pages are supposed to stand alone. This means that they should be comprehensible without the lecture material. A web page that does not meet this criterion is a good candidate for your project. In fact, a clever project might be to divide a page into several pages-one for introduction and others for follow up after attending lecture.

Some suggestions are:

  1. Do not focus on the appearance of the page. A dull, colorless page can be a turn off, but a page with beautiful color combinations and graphics that takes forever to download while adding no content can be an even worse turn off. Colored lettering and large font sizes cost nothing in terms of downloading but can make a page more attractive.
  2. Look for opportunities to add help. Terms that might not be familiar to the reader can be "hot" links to help. However, you should tell the reader what is coming, e.g., "definition of adsorption" instead of simply making adsorption a hot word. If too many links waste the time of the reader who already knows the help material, this is another serious turn off.
  3. Look for opportunities to replace a word description with a sketch. Pictures teach better than words.
  4. Add help in another language if you are fluent in something other than English.
  5. Some of the Javascript and Java exercises would benefit greatly by a guide page or better instructions.
  6. Pages for "Test Yourself" can be good teachers.
Should you decide to author something new, here are some tips:

a. How to perform any standard test, e.g., jar test, determination of dry weight, calibration of an instrument, TOC, Yellow Springs assay for glucose.
b. Using a spreadsheet for engineering design.
c. Photo essay on some unit operation, e.g., industrial filtration, toxic site remediation, chem process control.
d. Step-by-step solutions to problems.
e. We need better and more stuff about recombinant DNA technology.
Sample page that you can use as a template. Use Netscape to save it.
How to get some special characters