ACS330 Group Project

Module Description (subject to change)

This module provides students with the opportunity to work as a group on a substantial project of relevance to systems and control engineering. Students will gain practical experience of all aspects of the systems lifecycle, from problem formulation and requirements capture, through design and build activities, and subsequent verification and validation. Each project will have a synthetic customer and students must deliver within time and budget constraints. Students will have the opportunity to develop their communication skills in written and oral forms, including a practical demonstration of the system they have built. Students will also be encouraged to reflect on the individual and group contributions they are making.

Credits: 30 (Academic Year)

Restrictions: Only available to students within Automatic Control and Systems Engineering

Please note that this module is exempt from the University’s General Regulations relating to Intellectual Property.

Module Leader

Dr Payam Soulatiantork
Amy Johnson Building

If you have any questions about the module please talk to me or one of the other teaching staff. You can contact me via email, or drop in to see me.

 Other teaching staff

Dr Jonathan Aitken

Learning Outcomes

Learning Outcomes

By the end of the module students will be able to:

  1. Evaluate and critically assess work reported in literature related to the project, specify the project boundaries, formulate the concrete problem, and analyse its potential commercial, economic and social impact. [EP2m, EP4m, ET2m]
  2. Demonstrate the professional skills required for working effectively in an engineering team, build up competence and confidence to innovate and influence, reflect on team performance, analyse associated risks and resolve conflict. [EP11m]
  3. Identify and formulate system requirements related to function, performance, interface, environment, reliability and safety. [D1m, D2m, D3m, EP5m, EP6m]
  4. Practice good organisation, planning and time management in solving the problem, identify resources, formulate a project budget, estimate costs and risks, comply with safety and other regulations. [D5m, EP5p, EP6m, EP7m, EP8m, ET1p, ET3m, ET5p, ET6m]
  5. Adopt a methodical approach to solving the tasks associated with the design problem, identifying and applying related concepts, theories and technologies, and revising design choices based on critical analysis and/or experimental validation. [SM3m, SM4m, SM6m, EA1m, EA2m, EA3m, EA4m, EA5m, EA6m, D1m, D2m, D3m, D4m]
  6. Show initiative in the search for a variety of solutions to unfamiliar problems characterised by non-standard requirements, incomplete or uncertain information, and compare and evaluate these solutions. [D1m, D2m, D3m, D4m, D7m, D8m, EP8m, EP10m]
  7. Improve skills in computing, application of mathematics, and/or laboratory work, including the development of physical prototypes using state-of-the-art technologies. [EP3m]
  8. Write documentation of a major advanced item of work with good practice in report writing, adhering to scientific conventions. [D6m]
  9. Give a clear project presentation of the major achievements of the work using audio-visual aids. [D6m]

This module satisfies the AHEP3 (Accreditation of Higher Education Programmes, Third Edition) Learning Outcomes that are listed in brackets after each learning outcome above. For further details on AHEP3 Learning Outcomes, see the downloads section of our accreditation webpage.



The syllabus will depend on the group project. It will typically have some level of technical difficulty involving theoretical concepts, and have a significant level of practical activity. This practical activity may involve the design, implementation and study of a concrete system such as a mobile robot.

Teaching Methods

Learning and Teaching Methods

NOTE: This summary of teaching methods is representative of a normal Semester. Owing to the ongoing disruption from Covid-19, the exact method of delivery will be different in 2020/21.

The project is worth 30 credits and runs throughout both semesters. Students undertake a major item of work under the supervision of the module leader and/or other teaching staff. The work is reported via a requirements document, a project plan, interim report, the final project report, log book and oral presentation. In addition, the students will acquire and demonstrate a range of professional skills. Students are expected to spend a minimum of five afternoons per week for 20 weeks on the project. Typically, students spend 300 hours on the work. The students receive guidance in a number of lectures and support sessions as well technical advice by a member of the technical staff.

Teaching Materials

Learning and Teaching Materials

All teaching materials will be available via Blackboard (MOLE).



The supervisor and a second reader will independently grade the overall project. In the event of a large discrepancy in the grade, the markers will moderate the marks. The assessment will be made on the basis of requirements, project plan, interim reports, final reports, log books and the oral presentation. In addition, the assessment will take into account the professional skills and a peer assessment within the student groups. The assessment criteria are given in the marking sheets provided on Blackboard (MOLE). The general expectations are:

Quality of Work
Good quality of work can be done at many levels. Assessment will be based on the degree to which tasks were seen through to a conclusion, quality of design process, quality of documentation for future investigators etc.

Amount of Work
The assessment will be based on the amount of work actually completed compared with the amount of work that could reasonably be expected on this project in the time genuinely available. This assessment will be made irrespective of the level of the work, provided it is relevant. Regard will be paid to the list of original aims and objectives.

Personal Qualities and Skills Demonstrated
Projects should provide opportunities for practice and acquisition of skills in experimentation, analysis, organisation, computation, literature search etc. and demonstrating initiative. The assessment will reflect the extent to which one or more of these are revealed in the project. Competent performance or demonstration of several significant skills or qualities will score highly. Expert performance of one such skill or the exceptional impact of some valuable personal quality such as persistence, patience or initiative may also score highly.

Report Presentation
An adequate standard of written presentation is implicit in the assessment. Under this heading staff will be looking for particular qualities of clarity of text, documentation, illustrations generated by the student, presentation of results, etc. Inadequate referencing, difficulty in interpretation of results through, say, unclear scaling or labelling of graphs is to be avoided.

Performance in Oral Presentation and Questions
This relates to how well you perform in the oral presentation of the work and in answering questions. The oral presentation is also an opportunity for the second reader to form some judgement on your understanding of the work reported. The overall assessment may be scaled, again at the assessor’s discretion according to the Technical Difficulty and/or Intellectual Difficulty of the Project.

Technical Difficulty of Project
Technical difficulty refers to practical issues such as designing or developing equipment with weight, power or other design constraints, learning a new programming language or a software package, obtaining detailed information from an industrial partner, programming complicated mathematical manipulations, developing a complicated simulation.

Intellectual Difficulty of Project
Intellectual difficulty refers to the need to develop a deep understanding of concepts. It may involve complex mathematics, or nonmathematical theoretical concepts. The supervisor and second reader MAY request a demonstration of any equipment or software produced but their assessment WILL be carried out using the criteria described above and not based on the performance of the equipment or software.

No resit is available for this module.



There are 7 support sessions for each group to provide feedback. In addition, formal feedback is provided for each of the 7 assignments (apart from the confidential peer assessment).

Student Evaluation

Student Evaluation

Students are encouraged to provide feedback during the module direct to the lecturer. Students will also have the opportunity to provide formal feedback via the Faculty of Engineering Student Evaluation Survey at the end of the module.

You can view the latest Department response to the survey feedback here.

Recommended Reading

Recommended Reading

Dependent on project topic, and will be advised during the support sessions.