Course Syllabus

CS 490/690 Senior Team/Master's ProjectFall 2013
Section 1 • Tuesdays, Thursdays 2:40pm – 4:25pm
Center for Science and Innovation (CSI)Room 307

This course gives students experience working in teams and with a sponsor on the specification, design, implementation, testing, and documentation of a significant software project.


Please contact the instructor if you have any questions or concerns regarding the course.

If you are unable to make the above office hours, please contact the instructor directly to schedule an appointment.

Teacher Assistants

There will be no teacher assistant for this course. Please direct all questions to the instructor.

Course Prerequisites

For undergraduates taking CS 490 Senior Team Project, students must have passed CS 212 with a grade of C or higher and have senior standing. For graduate students taking CS 690 Master's Project, students must have regular status.

Course Materials

There are no required books for this class. It is recommended, but not required, that students bring a laptop to class.

Course Website

The course website will be hosted using Canvas, and is accessible via the following URLS:

Check the course website for the syllabus, calendar, announcements, assignments, and grades.

Course Announcements

Announcements will be posted on the course website in Canvas at:

Students may subscribe to these announcements via the RSS feed, or receive announcement notifications via Facebook or via Twitter. Students are responsible for staying current on all course announcements.

Learning Outcomes

At the end of this course, students should be able to:

  • Specify, design, implement, test, and document a significant software project.

  • Effectively and efficiently solve problems that arise during the development of a software project with a hard deadline.

  • Provide detailed technical documentation of the software to both users of that software, and to developers wishing to extend the functionality of that software.

  • Communicate effectively, productively, and professionally with the project sponsor, instructor, team members, and potential users.

  • Clearly verbally communicate technical concepts in numerous settings, including in small groups, poster presentations, and presentations to the larger USF community.

Assessment of these outcomes will be done by a combination of in-class exercises, weekly reports, periodic status reviews, project documentation, presentations, and a final project report.

Weekly Schedule

The following is an estimated weekly schedule. Check the course website for the latest schedule.

  • Week 01:  Sponsor Presentations
    Week 02:  Project Selection, Course Expectations
    Week 03:  Status Review #1
    Week 04:  Project Management
    Week 05:  Draft Specification Due
    Week 06:  Status Review #2
    Week 07:  Effective Presentations
    Week 08:  Midterm Presentations
    Week 09:  Fall Break, Group Work
    Week 10:  Status Review #3
    Week 11:  Draft Test Plans Due
    Week 12:  Draft Documentation Due
    Week 13:  Status Review #4
    Week 14:  Final Presentations
    Week 15:  Final Presentations
    Week 16:  Poster Presentations

Students are expected to participate in CS Night on Thursday, December 5, 2013. Additional details will be posted towards the end of the semester.

The finals date for this course is Thursday, December 12, 2013. All final project deliverables will be due on this date at 11:59pm. Late submissions are not accepted.

Grade Breakdown

The grade breakdown for this course is as follows:

  • 10%  Participation
      Weekly Reports
      Status Reviews
    15%  Team Assessment
      Peer Assessment
      Sponsor Assessment
    15%  Draft Deliverables
      See Discussion Below
    60%  Final Deliverables
      Poster Presentation
      Final Test Plan
      Final Specification
      Final Documentation
      Final Presentation
      Final Report

See the gradebook in Canvas for the exact breakdown of points within each category.


Participation consists of weekly reports and periodic status reviews. Weekly reports contain a summary of what was accomplished in the previous week, a detailed breakdown by team member of time spent and milestones achieved, as well as a list of goals for the upcoming week. When possible, time will be given in-class on Thursdays for team members to meet and prepare the weekly report. The weekly report will be submitted to both the instructor and sponsor.

Status reviews will occur periodically throughout the semester. During the status review, each team will present their current progress to the instructor. Teams should be prepared with statistics (time spent, lines of code produced, milestones reached), and treat status reviews as small-group presentations. Teams should bring up any issues to the instructor that may affect the completion of the project during status reviews.

Team Assessment

The majority of work for this course will be completed in a team of 2 to 3 students. As such, how well a student performs in his or her team will be taken into consideration for the final grade. This includes a peer assessment, where each student will be given the opportunity to comment on the contribution made by other team members.

Project sponsors will also be given an opportunity to assess their teams. This assessment goes beyond the scope of the project deliverables, and may include a team's ability to communicate progress and solve problems, as well as the team's overall responsiveness, productivity, and cohesiveness.

Draft Deliverables

Students will be asked throughout the semester to provide draft versions of the final project deliverables. Many of these drafts will be evaluated through peer review during class. The grades of these deliverables are based on participation—if teams complete the draft and participate in the peer review, then they will receive full points. This provides a safe environment to test writing and presentation skills.

Final Deliverables

The majority of the final grade will depend on the final project deliverables due at the end of the semester. This includes a final project report along with final versions of the project specification, test plan, and documentation. Details on what is expected for each of these documents will be provided throughout the semester.

Teams will also be evaluated on a 30 minute final project presentation near the end of the semester, and a poster presentation at CS Night. Sponsors will be given the opportunity to attend and comment on these presentations.

Letter Grades

Letter grades will be assigned according to the following cutoffs:

  • A+  ≥  97%
    A  ≥  94%
    A–  ≥  90%
    B+  ≥  87%
    B  ≥  84%
    B–  ≥  80%
    C+  ≥  77%
    C  ≥  74%
    C–  ≥  70%
    D+  ≥  67%    * See note.
    D  ≥  64%    * See note.
    D–  ≥  60%    * See note.
    F  <  60%

For example, a student will receive a C letter grade if the grade is greater than or equal to 70% and less than 77%. Please note this scale is subject to change. See for more information about letter grades and how they are translated into GPA.

* Graduate students may not be assigned a D letter grade. See for more details. In the case a graduate student does not receive a C– grade or higher, that student will be assigned an F letter grade.

Attendance Policy

Students are expected to be on-time to all classes. Attendance is mandatory for all in-class discussions and exercises, group meetings, and project presentations.

Late Policy

All deadlines are firm—no late submissions will be accepted. Exceptions to this policy are made only in the case of documented medical or family emergency. Extensions must be arranged prior to the original deadline unless in case of extreme emergency (such as an emergency room visit).

Academic Honesty

All students are expected to know and adhere to the University of San Francisco's Honor Code. Go to for details. The first violation of the Honor Code will result in an automatic 0 on the offending assignment, and repeat violations will result in an automatic F for the course.

Simply put, do not cheat and do not plagiarize. This includes copying (without attribution) code from the web, copying code from other students, or having anyone other than yourself write your code. For group assignments, code is expected to be shared amongst members within the group, but should not be shared outside of the group.

Student Support

The Learning and Writing Center (LWC) provides writing assistance to students in their academic pursuits. Services are free to students and include individual and group tutoring appointments and consultations to develop specific study strategies and approaches. Please visit for more information.

The Center for Academic and Student Achievement (CASA) provides students academic and personal support to promote holistic student development. Please visit for more information.

The Student Disability Services (SDS) provides support for students with disabilities. If you are a student with a disability or disabling condition, or if you think you may have a disability, please contact SDS within the first week of class to speak with a disability specialist. If you are determined eligible for reasonable accommodations, your disability specialist will send your accommodation letter to the instructor detailing your needs for the course. Please visit for more information.

Course Summary:

Date Details