398480 A Unified Cloud-Based Solution to Large-Scale Multidimensional Student to Project Assignment

Monday, November 17, 2014
Galleria Exhibit Hall (Hilton Atlanta)
Brad Johnson, Chemical Engineering, Rowan University, Glassboro, NJ and Smitesh Bakrania, Mechanical Engineering, Rowan University, Glassboro, NJ

As a part of the overall engineering curriculum, senior capstone projects provide the necessary opportunity for engineering graduates to apply their technical skills towards solving contemporary, open-ended, and challenging engineering problems. At Rowan University, both juniors and seniors engage in such hands-on projects across the last four terms of their degree. Each term, students are free to select projects that interest them, potentially working on four different projects over their Junior and Senior years. Projects are pitched to the students at the beginning of each term to encourage student interest and provide a project overview.  Based on the pitch and personal interest, students submit a list of their preferred projects. In order to address the need for an efficient and accurate student-project assignment in the face of an increasing number of projects and students, a cloud-based platform was designed and implemented. This solution used Google Forms to generate a list of projects with details for students to review and submit their project preferences. In turn, this data was used to generate project and student objects. Next, these objects were processed by an algorithm that assigned students to projects using multi-level criteria, including project funding, student seniority and experience, and professor requests. To create a more robust platform, more detailed selection criteria was added that was too complicated to account for by hand. In addition, several frequently used tasks with varying degrees of complexity were automated. The algorithm utilized the recently released Google-App Script’s ability to generate and manipulate data objects while having full access to Google’s variety of cloud services.  During the Fall 2014 term, the automated approach’s results were compared side-by-side to the manual sorting performed by each of the four engineering departments with varying results. This poster describes the structure of the automation algorithm in detail and justifies design decisions. Due to the wide spread use of Google Apps and Google Forms in an academic setting, this poster can serve as a template for the development of similar cloud-based platforms by other institutions. The project described here details the utility and unification that can be provided by the use of modern cloud-based services to academia as a whole.

Extended Abstract: File Not Uploaded
See more of this Session: Undergraduate Student Poster Session: Education & General Papers
See more of this Group/Topical: Student Poster Sessions