MECH3428 Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) [for BSE]
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    Welcome to Our Course Website!
    Level: Advanced
    Credits: 6 credit units
    Duration: Whole year
    Calendar Entry: This course involves undertaking a dissertation or report on a topic consisting of design, experimental or analytical investigation by individual students. The course objectives are to: (1) simulate a realistic working experience for students; (2) provide them an experience of applying engineering principles, engineering economics, business or management skills; and (3) train students to work independently to obtain an effective and acceptable solution to industry-related or research-type problems.
    Course Website: http://www.hku.hk/bse/REU/

    Research Experience for Undergraduate (REU):REU
    Research Experience for Undergraduate (REU) is a discipline elective course taken by senior year BEng students. This course involves undertaking a dissertation or report on a topic consisting of design, experimental or analytical investigation by individual students. The course objectives are:

    1. to simulate a realistic working experience for students.
    2. to provide them an experience of applying engineering principles, engineering economics, business or management skills.
    3. to train students to work independently to obtain an effective and acceptable solution to industry-related or research-type problems.

    This REU course supports active research participation by undergraduate students. Each student will identify a specific topic and supervised by an academic staff. At the end of the project the students are required to write a full report comprising of all the work that have been done. They are also required to present their findings orally in English in a REU project seminar.


    The students are expected to show that they are able to work independently, solve problems, adapt to various situations, and have self-confidence. The project enables students to enhance their generic skills through various means such as communicating with expert from industries, discussion with lecturer/supervisor and colleagues, self-learning, writing report, and oral presentation. Generally, after the completion of the project most of the students are able to acquire, show, and practice the relevant quality in generic skill required for engineers to be successful in their profession.
    BSE
    The REU for Building Services Engineering (BSE) will focus on research areas of BSE and related fields. BSE is an interesting and practical engineering discipline. Building services systems are essential for the safe, comfortable and environmentally friendly operation of modern buildings.


    Supervision and Study Topics
    Students will develop the basic skills in research investigation and application of engineering knowledge. Each student will be supervised by an academic staff to work on a study topic mutually agreed between the supervisor and the student. Students may suggest their own topic for the study, or they can select a topic proposed by the staff. Students shall contact the potential supervisor(s) to discuss the arrangement.

    The type of the project can be either experimental study conducted in the laboratory, or conducting field survey for case study, or the use of computer programming and computer software, or engineering analysis and design.

    Throughout the academic year the students are required to see their supervisor regularly to plan and discuss the progress of the project. Students should have a folder or logbook to record all information and details during their meeting with the supervisor. They are expected to effectively participate during the discussion and able to show progress when they come for the next meeting.

    Assessment and Interim Review
    At the end of the project students are expected to show that they have done considerable literature search on the related topic, conduct valid data gathering, perform data analysis and discussion, and finally highlight their findings. The students will received their grade based on their performance after the completion of the project.

    Assessment of the project results is based on the following criteria. A moderator will be assigned to provide advice and evaluation of the project results.

    1. Object, Methodology and Originality

    2. Working Attitude and Initiative
    3. Achievement
    4. Project Report
    5. Oral Presentation
    6. Interim Assessment

    At the end of the first semester students are recommended to prepare a well-written pre-project report to their supervisor. Usually the report consists of the first three chapters of the FYP report i.e. introduction, literature review, and research methodology. Students are highly required to find past and current research papers from various sources such as from local and international journals, conferences, and technical papers. This will enable students to get up to date information on the research area. The supervisor will assess the written report based on how the student discuss and elaborate the background of the problem, objectives and scope of the study, discussion on the past research that leads to the current project, and how the project will be executed. In addition, the quality of writing will also be emphasized to determine the ability of the students to convey their message effectively through written presentation.

    At the end of the first semester students must present their written pre-project report to their supervisor and moderator. Students have to present orally and there will be question and answer session during the meeting. The assessors will comment on their work and will also discuss with the students on the suitability of the topic chosen, background of the problem, objectives and scope of the study, the amount of literature review that have been done related to the project, and the methodology selected for data gathering.

    Major Requirements
    In the process of planning and executing the work the students are expected to show that they are able to work independently, creative in solving problems, able to adapt to various situations, and have self-confidence. They may have to communicate and discuss with experts from industries or staffs from different faculties. Sometimes students may work in a group whereby they can help each other. This process will enable them to exercise teamworking skill. It is emphasized that during the process of data collection students are required to produce their own original data for example by producing the test samples by themselves. Any means of plagiarism is strictly prohibited. If the work is based on experiment, the data obtained from experimental work must be reliable and tested according to the relevant standards. Students are expected to know the method of testing and which standards to be used.

    It is also worth to mention that the importance of student ability to manage their time. They have to plan all activities related to the project in order to finish the work within the given time limit. If they fail to plan their time properly and work according to the schedule they may not be able to finish their project.

    At the end of the study the students are required to write a full standard written report comprising of all the work that have been done including among others the introduction of the project, current literature search, research methodology, data analysis and discussion of the results, and the conclusions deduced from the study. The supervisor and moderator will assess the students based on their attitude and effort during the project, the planning of the project, the outcome of the project, and the overall written report.

    Project Seminar and Oral Presentation
    In the second semester (usually during the reading week), the students must present their research work and findings orally in English in a Project Seminar. They have to present their work using powerpoint to the panels of the seminar. During the presentation there will be a question and answer session. The students are expected to be able to answer questions asked by the panel members to show that they really understand regarding to the work that they have done. In this seminar the students will be assessed through their written synopsis, ability to present the work clearly with confidence, ability to discuss the related topic, and also ability to answer questions. The grade of the project will be determined through the marks given by the supervisor and moderator.
    Problem Solving
    In the process of completing the project few problems may arise and the students are expected to be able to face and overcome the obstacles. With the help from their supervisor and other related parties most of them are able to find the solution to the problems. This will help the students to understand and have the feel that in reality as a practicing engineer they will have to solve many practical problems by themselves. Thus, generally the attitude and commitment of the students towards the project is one of the main factors that contribute to their success.
    Managing the Project
    Any large scale piece of work needs to be planned and your project is no exception. Most projects follow phases similar to that outlined below:
    • Initial phase reading around the intended subject area, finding and refining the exact subject of your enquiry. Most projects start off being somewhat too ambitious in scope and after consultation with your tutor may need to be refocused into a more manageable shape.
    • Literature review phase this is likely to be the first substantial part of the project and requires you to document and contextualise the academic literature which informs your project. If you have started your project in September, then it is ideal to have this phase completed before Christmas, if possible.
    • Development phase here, your research and ideas may be developing quite rapidly. You may will be drafting out chapters at the rate of about one every fortnight and you will be engaged in a process of both refining ideas and committing yourself to paper.
    • Empirical research phase some students may like to demonstrate their initiative/ research skills by undertaking a detailed examination of a case study or conducting some small-scale investigations capturing data through the most appropriate means (interviews, questionnaires, documentary data).  An empirical research phase is likely to run alongside the development phase above and may need careful planning.  Gaining permissions, piloting questionnaires, gathering data all take longer than you might initially think.
    • Data analysis phase any originally collected data needs to be analysed and does not speak for itself. You will need to be able to demonstrate that you understand the most appropriate tools of analysis (e.g. statistical hypothesis testing of quantitative data, techniques of qualitative data analysis.) 
    • Writing up phase in this phase, you turn your drafts of individual chapters into a polished whole. Your completed document will have to conform to certain technical specifications, and will contain sections that you may not have had to cope with in shorter length documents such as formal title pages, acknowledgements, indexes, appendices and the like. It is important that you leave yourself enough time for careful proof-reading and consideration of your finally completed document.
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    | Created: Apr 2015 | Update: 23 Apr 2015 | By: cmhui@hku.hk |
    visitors since 21 Apr 2015