Scholarly article on topic 'Trends in the Final Year Project for Multimedia Undergraduate Programme: Supervisory Experience'

Trends in the Final Year Project for Multimedia Undergraduate Programme: Supervisory Experience Academic research paper on "Educational sciences"

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Abstract of research paper on Educational sciences, author of scientific article — Tengku Siti Meriam Tengku Wook, Nazlena Mohamad Ali, Masnizah Mohd, Saidah Saad, Juhana Salim, et al.

Abstract This study reviews the trends in the Final Year Project (FYP) for Multimedia Programme at the Faculty of Information Science and Technology (FTSM). We identify issues and analyze trends in multimedia FYP from year 2005 to 2010. The method used is the analysis of the FYP reports along with a brainstorming session conducted among the lecturers. Findings revealed that there is no variation in the FYP. We finally construct a framework that consists of three key components: factors influencing the selection of topics for the final project, future planning for the multimedia program/lecturers/students, and future enhancement for FYP.

Academic research paper on topic "Trends in the Final Year Project for Multimedia Undergraduate Programme: Supervisory Experience"

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Procedia - Social and Behavioral Sciences 59 (2012) 399 - 405

UKM Teaching and Learning Congress 2011

Trends in the final year project for multimedia undergraduate programme: supervisory experience

Tengku Siti Meriam Tengku Wooka *, Nazlena Mohamad Alib, Masnizah Mohda, Saidah Saada, Juhana Salima, Aidanismah Yahyaa, Shereena Mohd Arif0, Lailatul Qadri Zakariaa, Amirah Ismaila, Siti Fadzilah Mat Noora & Nor Azan Mat Zina

aFaculty of Information Science and Technology, Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia bInstitute of Visual Informatics (IVI), Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia

Abstract

This study reviews the trends in the Final Year Project (FYP) for Multimedia Programme at the Faculty of Information Science and Technology (FTSM). We identify issues and analyze trends in multimedia FYP from year 2005 to 2010. The method used is the analysis of the FYP reports along with a brainstorming session conducted among the lecturers. Findings revealed that there is no variation in the FYP. We finally construct a framework that consists of three key components: factors influencing the selection of topics for the final project, future planning for the multimedia program / lecturers / students, and future enhancement for FYP.

© 2011PublishedbyElsevierLtd. Selection and/orpeer reviewedunderresponsibilityofthe UKMTeachingand LearningCongress 2011

Keywords: Analyze trens; final year project; supervisory experience

1. Introduction

The Final Year Project (FYP) for undergraduate students is an important element which can reflect the true potential of a student in applying multimedia skills and knowledge learnt throughout the bachelor degree years. Thus, it is always an important topic discussed during job interviews.

The Faculty of Information Science and Technology (FTSM) at Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia (UKM) offers the FYP course for students majoring in Multimedia Studies since 1998. The FYP which uses the course code TTTH3086 is opened to all third year students who are in their final semester. It is a compulsory subject before a student can be awarded with a Bachelor Degree in Information Technology (Multimedia). Students are expected to apply and integrate the knowledge gained from various courses to complete the six credit hours project including the project report. In most cases, students are expected to work individually based on the project title agreed by both the

* Corresponding author. Tel.: +6-03- 8921-6716; fax: +6-03-8925-6732 E-mail address: tsm@ftsm.ukm.my, tg_meriam@yahoo.com

1877-0428 © 2011 Published by Elsevier Ltd. Selection and/or peer reviewed under responsibility of the UKM Teaching and Learning Congress 2011 doi:10.1016/j.sbspro.2012.09.293

student and the assigned supervisor who is a lecturer teaching Multimedia and/or Information Science programmes. The topics can be proposed by either the student or the supervisor.

The purpose of this study is to identify issues related to the FYP, with a view towards helping students to produce more quality outputs, keeping up with new advancement in Multimedia technology, and in ICT in general. In this paper, we identify popular FYP topics from the past 6 years (2005-2010). We also determine if there is any relation between subjects offered in the earlier years before FYP which might influence the choice of topics by majority of the students. The students' experience and background may have also contributed to the quality of the FYP. For example, students with earlier exposure to programming skills, especially those with diploma and certificates in IT related fields already have the experience applying programming language before they enrolled in the programme.

The findings in this study can be used to propose relevant and appropriate topics for students' projects, which should demonstrate students' knowledge and skills from different courses taken throughout their studies. Specifically, the objectives are to: analyze the trend in FYP among students in the multimedia studies program and identify factors that influence the selection of those topics. These objectives are achieved by using two set of analyses; quantitative analysis and supervisors' point of view respectively. The quantitative analysis generated FYP topic selection distribution for the past six years while the latter method identified the reasons or possible explanation for this trend based on supervisors experiences. In conclusion, suggestions are made to improve the identified weaknesses.

2. Background work

Final year project (FYP) evaluation has always been an important issue in undergraduate multimedia programs. Teo and Ho (1998) have developed computerized systems to manage the project allocation and mark calculation. In addition, the system can identify any obvious differences or discrepancy in scores or marks between the supervisor and examiner. This systematic approach using statistical analysis highlighted that supervisors and examiners have consistently given very high or very low marks (Teo & Ho 1998; Chan 2001). Tariq et al. (1998) introduced more objective criteria for evaluation of the project reference scheme to replace the old subjective evaluation scheme. The reliability of the new scheme was examined using statistical analysis of data obtained from both the old and new schemes. Some evaluation criteria, a grading category index (GCI) was used. The highest level of eight was given to exceptional students and the lowest is given for inadequate performance. This approach is considered better than using a marking system based on score which ranges between 0 and 100 (Tariq et al. 1998). On the other hand, Karazi et. al (2008) used statistical analysis methods to evaluate the performance of FYP in mechanical engineering. They used the Z value with certain level of confidence to evaluate students' project performance.

The School of Information Technology (PPTM) at Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia currently runs two undergraduate degree programs. FYP is a key component of most undergraduate computer science programmes. The FYP is designed to provide students with experience in practical project work and assess student skills and competency in this field. The FYP is a platform to train students to implement a relatively large task on their own. Through the FYP, students are expected to integrate all the knowledge and skills acquired throughout their studies to complete the task proposed or jointly discussed between the student and supervisor.

One of the project's aims is to expose students to the foundation of research. Students are expected to prepare research proposal, modeling document and research design, implement the project, write the project report and present the project for evaluation. Thus, the FYP is to:

a. to train students to be independent to carry out the research,

b. to train students to apply their knowledge and skills in problem-solving, analysis and critical thinking,

c. to train students to explore new research knowledge and skills,

d. to develop basic skills in managing research,

e. to equip and train students with effective communication skills to present research findings in written and oral form.

Students are required to obtain 90 credit hours of course work and the Industrial Training (TM309C) course before they can register for the FYP.

3. Methodology

The method employed to conduct this study is basically based on the analysis of raw data obtained from the faculty's resource centre management system (RCMS) and the qualitative analysis based on the brainstorming session among the lecturers in the Multimedia dan Information Science Programmes. The sample data for the analysis consists of a total number of 187 students' FYP reports in the year 2005 - 2010. There are 10 students' FYP report in 2005, 23 in 2006, 30 in 2007, 34 in 2008, 45 in 2009 and a total of 45 in 2010. The number of students for each year depended on the number of enrollment in the program in any two previous years.

Table 1 shows the categories of the FYP with their descriptions and examples. We used critical thinking technique in determining the FYP categories. We generated a list of the FYP titles from the faculty's RCMS and identified their attributes. We then categorized similar attributes and labelled those categories based on the description of each categories obtained through literature review. The descriptions of the categories are shown in Table 1.

Table 1. Final Year Project Categories

Categories

Description

Examples

creative Multimedia

Website

Courseware

Information System

3D environment/ simulation

Chapman and Chapman (2000) defined creative multimedia as a combination of different content forms. Multimedia includes a combination of text, audio, still images, animation, video, and interactivity content forms.

Electronic system

Website is a collection of related web pages containing images, videos or other digital assets. Development of web pages incorporates client server technology using web development tools (Horton, 2000).

Courseware means the development of computer-based hardware and software packages produced on a mass scale and yet allow individualized use and learning. In essence, multimedia merges multiple levels of learning into an educational tool that allows for diversity in curriculum presentation (Mayer, 2005).

Information System is a set of interrelated components that collect (or retrieve), process, store, and distribute information to support decision making and control in an organization (Stair & Reynolds, 2008). An information system is designed specifically

to collect and store information from both internal and external sources in making strategic decisions (Doney, 2009)

A system to facilitates commercial transactions between at least one supplier of items with many customers. The commercial transactions are offered over a computer network between the supplier(s) and customers, with each site has input and output displays to enable the communication and transactions. This includes databases which maintains information of the products/services offered, about the supplier and also about the customers, along with means of a business transaction to occur (i.e payment, show of interest, pricing etc). (Raman Chelliah et. al,1998).

Development of 3D application using appropriate tools and languages. 3D environment (virtual environment) contains 3D objects which have a strong sense of spatial presence with respect to the user (Craig et al., 2009; Burdea & Coiffet, 2003).

Montage

Music video

Corporate video

2D trailer

Stop Motion

Claymation

Short film

Advertisement

Dokudrama

Documentary video

Portal

e-Magazine

e-Learning

e-Book

e-Games

e-Kamus

Encyclopaedia

Educational courseware Multimedia application

Digital library Multimedia Information System

E-commerce

3D simulation/modelling Virtual Reality Virtual environment

Game According to Schell (2008), game design is a subset of game development 3D interactive game development/ which describes the process of designing the content and rules of a game in Game design the design phase and design of game play, environment, storyline, and characters during a stage of development. Game design requires artistic and _technical competence as well as writing skills._

There are 2 stages of data collection:

3.1 Quantitative

187 undergraduate's theses were selected from Multimedia programme, School of Information Technology, FTSM from year 2005 to 2010 and analyzed based on the topics. The topics were divided into 7 categories, which are Creative Multimedia, Website, Courseware, Information System, 3D Environment/Simulation, Electronic System and Game.

3.2 Supervisor's point of view

A brainstorming session was conducted among 11 lecturers who experienced in supervising students within these years. Their experiences, suggestions and problems were collected as a feedback to support the quantitative analysis.

4. Results

4.1 Quantitative Analysis

The data gathered from 2005-2010 was analyzed and result are shown in Figure 1. Findings indicate that students tend to develop courseware application (49%) compared to other categories of the FYP, such as game development/design (1%). Meanwhile other FYP categories that scored below 20% includes: website development and information system (13%), followed by creative multimedia (10%), 3D environment/simulation (9%) and electronic system (4%).

U Courseware U Multimedia Creative U 3D Environment/simulation U Information System U Website

U Game development U Electronic System

Figure 1. The percentage of Student in FYP categories for Year 2005-2010

We also analyzed the pattern or the trend of FYP by years as depicted in Figure 2. The years 2005 and 2006 showed the most noticeable difference whereby the courseware category was higher (49%) than other categories such as creative multimedia, information system and website which ranges between (10%-13%) and the 3D environment/simulation (9%).

In 2007, the trend of the FYP for the courseware category has decreased (44%) and interestingly the 3D environment / simulation category has increased up to 20%. There was a slight increase for the electronic systems and game development (1% - 2%) categories. The creative multimedia category is still in the same range of 13%. Meanwhile, information system and website development declined with the range of 5% -11%.

In 2008, 2009 and 2010 the trend that showed students' preference for courseware development has decreased to less than 30%. Surprisingly the creative multimedia category has increased to 48% in 2008 and 40% in 2010. However, we observed a balanced of categories of courseware, information system and website development with the range of 20% -26% in 2009. Meanwhile, creative multimedia and 3D environment / simulation are in the range of 20% -22% followed by game development and electronic system at 2%.

In 2010, creative multimedia has achieved the highest percentage at 40%, followed by courseware and 3D environment/simulation (20% -28), and the least were information system and website development with percentage range between 4% -8%.

This indicates that there is an average gap of percentage between the FYP categories in 2009 and 2010. However there was a big difference of the FYP categories in 2005, 2006, 2007 and 2008.

Final Year Project Trend

2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010

■ courseware ■ multimedia creative ■ 3d environment/simulation

■ information system ■ website ■ game development electronic system

Figure 2. Final Year Project Trend by Year

4.2 Supervisor's Point of View

There are 3 important factors identified during the brainstorming session that we believe to have influenced the trends in the FYP topics. These point of view were categorized into students; lecturers and courses offered as follows:

4.2.1 Students

From the discussion and observations, the students tend to choose or select an easy project in order to graduate on time. For example, they tend to choose multimedia courseware development rather than a complex information system that includes processing and querying options. These scenarios might be due to their limited current skill particularly in programming, therefore an 'easy' and 'do-able' kind of project becomes favorites. Most of the

lecturers have the same opinion on these scenarios. For developing and implementing a courseware for example, students only need to master skills in one or two different tools such as Dreamweaver, Director or Flash. These kinds of project do not necessarily require a database design at the back-end of the system as compared to information system development. What they need is some creativity in manipulating or integrating multimedia elements such as graphics and interactivity. Students are not willing to take extra challenge or to learn new skill and knowledge (i.e. learn JAVA or advanced scripting language) when suggested by the supervisors. They preferred to use or apply their present knowledge on specific tools. Hence, they tend to choose projects in the courseware development and creative multimedia categories. Gaming application is also a nonpreference among students, in the past five years. This might be due to some other reasons which need further exploration.

Students need to be motivated and be more independent in getting new or extra knowledge. They should equip themselves with the latest or current technology, for example gaming technology to compete with the demand in the industry.

4.2.2 Lecturers

Supervisors have different expertise and academic backgrounds such as information retrieval, computer science, multimedia, library sciences, and education. These might influence students' choice of FYP topics. Lecturers should equip themselves with current technologies and knowledge according to current trends. As an example, game design/development is in demand nowadays with many applications currently being developed. Updating knowledge and skills in keeping up with the latest related technologies is as important as having good facilities to impart this knowledge to students. Therefore, current industry standard hardwares and softwares must be acquired or upgraded so that lecturers can supervise students to do topic related to current industries demand. The university has to seriously look into this matter since request for specific important tools (eg. Motion capture device for animation) for the last few years has not been accomplished. On the other hand, the university is working hard to produce marketable graduates. For this program, our graduates need to experience real industry used tools to make them competitive.

The era of courseware development started in early 2005 when MSC and SmartSchool was introduced. The trend was then followed by creative multimedia type of projects which include interactivity and integration of multimedia elements. 3D environment also showed a consistency throughout the years even though not very high in demand. There are also suggestions for cross-type supervision (supervisors from different disciplines of IT) so that students and lecturers can exchanged knowledge from each other.

4.2.3 Courses Offered

The courses offered might influence the topic selection in the FYP. Most of the compulsory courses offered in the second year mainly supported the courseware or creative multimedia development (i.e. TH2613 Multimedia and Cognitive Science, TP3833 Instructional Design, TH2713 Art and Graphic, TH2743 Animation and Graphic Technology, TH2623 Audio and Video Technology and TH2723 Multimedia authoring) . Other related courses are elective courses which are sometimes offered based on the availability of teaching staff (i.e. TH2563 Multimedia application Interface, TH3743 3D modeling application, TH3813 Virtual reality and TH3713 Multimedia information retrieval). The current program was offered in 1998, i.e, 13 years ago. Some updates to course contents have been made in keeping with the IT development. However there are no new courses yet offered related to the current trend or demand from the industry specifically on Gaming Development or Mobile Application. The faculty is finalizing documentation for a new updated multimedia program wherein all the current and industry demand related courses are proposed.

5. Discussion

Analysis has shown that students in the multimedia program tend to develop courseware and creative multimedia applications. Students perceived that these 2 categories of the FYP were easy to develop based on their skills and knowledge, and due to the availability of software such as freeware and some software that can be obtained from the FTSM laboratory. Furthermore, the technologies used to develop creative multimedia and courseware projects are consistent from year 2005-2010; which are Macromedia Director, Flash, Toolbook, Adobe Photoshop, Adobe Primere, Adobe Illustrator and Sound Forge. Students have utilized these softwares during their first two years in

multimedia courses such as Art and Graphics, Audio and Digital Video Technology, Graphics Technology and Animation, and Multimedia Application Interface. In addition, the software used do not require high programming skills, whereby the students only need to understand the multimedia concept and simple scripting. Students found that it is convenient to follow the previous trend of the FYP since the materials can be referred in project documentation or report. These factors have contributed to better grades. It is observed that the game development and electronic system categories have the lowest percentage since it requires high programming skill among the students.

Major courses offered by the Multimedia Program do not directly support game development project. The awareness and factors contributing to the trend in the FYP topics among the lecturers could improve the quality of the FYP. It is hoped that the analysis can give input and contribute to the variations of future FYP topics.

6. Conclusion

In this paper, we have carried out a study of popular topics trends in the FYP among multimedia programme students in FTSM, UKM. The results demonstrate that courseware development is the most popular project chosen by the students in the six years period of study, while game development is the least topic chosen. The fact that courseware development does not require deep understanding and high skill in programming, it is believed to be the main factor in choosing FYP topics in courseware development. However, the trend also shows that topics in the FYP followed the main trend in Malaysian ICT or specifically multimedia development environment, at that time. The courses offered in the Multimedia Programme contribute more to knowledge and skills of creative multimedia and courseware development which related to the intended outcome of the Multimedia Programme. We suggest that more current tools and facilities be provided by the faculty to enable students to explore relevant and wider range of current topics that aligned to industrial needs. Teaching faculty should also equip themselves with knowledge and skills in the current technology to help students achieve the learning outcomes and be marketable in the relevant multimedia industries. Since the universities encourage academic industrial attachment, academic staffs should avail themselves of this opportunity and the faculty administration should facilitate the application process for this training.

Acknowledgement

We would like to thank Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia for providing the research grant (UKM-PTS-2011). References

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