Last updated: 23 February, 2011


The ProjectList system is an online project and dissertation allocation system. It is designed to help manage the process of academics writing final year or postgraduate projects, and the students viewing and selecting them.

Although built on foundations of generic project allocation functionality and reporting options, ProjectList recognises that schools and departments organise and process their projects and student selections in different ways. To this end, ProjectList provides a flexible platform upon which custom-designed project forms, student selection options and reports can be used, with the final system being tailored to closely match your departmental requirements.

Access to the system

Although access to ProjectList is automatically open to any staff member, each department will need setting up on the system before they can begin creating project lists. Once your list administrators are setup, they can create a list and setup all the configuration options.

Firstly, each department can set different levels of staff access:

This is basically everyone who can/will be writing a project or dissertation spec. They add projects to the system using an online form containing things like description, outcomes, expected hours, supervisor info, etc (see the attached forms). If an author wants to use a project they wrote in a previous year they can clone it, saving them time.
One or more people responsible for checking through FINAL projects and approving/adding them to the project list.
The Approver can also see which authors haven't added a project yet (or not added enough) so they can be chased up.
One or more people responsible for allocating the projects to the students. (more info on how, later on!) The Allocator is also responsible for setting the date/time and duration that the project list is available for students.
Administrators can create project lists ready for the new academic year, and set the student and staff access for those lists. They can also configure how the list will operate, with regard to project grouping, student selection, allocation, etc.

The students simply log in to the system, view all the projects, decide which they prefer and then record their preference.

The way students record their preference can differ, depending on how your department configures their list.

Project creation

Anyone with the AUTHOR privilege can write a project proposal and enter it on to the list. Before a student can see and select it, however, the project must first be approved.

project form : header section
Project Header (click image to open)

The person responsible for running the project list can set a different quota for each author - A minimum number of project specs that they must write and add to the system.

The author ranks their projects in terms of their preference to have it approved. When the time comes to approve the projects, the quota is used to automatically approve X number of projects from each author, starting with the highest ranked. Alternatively, a designated Approver can manually approve projects

The progress of each project through the approval process is shown by its status field:

Means the academic hasn't finished completing the form yet. Authors can continue to edit projects in draft.
Means the academic is finished and wants their project adding to the list available for students.
Means the project is now on the project list and will be visible to students. No further author edits are allowed. Only authorised APPROVERS can set this status on a project.

Other options available in the project header (see above-right), include:

Project Grouping
Departments are free to choose how their projects should be grouped. In this example, Mech Eng projects are split into groups named after degree programmes to help students find the right project for them. A project can be relevant to more than one programme or group.
Private Deal Projects
ProjectList supports private deals, where a project proposal is written specifically for an individual student. Often, these project proposals come from the student themselves, perhaps from their placement year.

Private Deal projects are only visible to the student they are assigned to.

Project details

project form : details section
Project Details are customisable for each department
(click image to open)

The next part of the proposal form is the project details section. This area is customisable to a departments specific requirements, and provides a way of capturing department specific information that will be important to list admins and/or students.

The Wolfson project details form (see right) contains more detail than most. For example, the department requires information on the impact a project will have on the department's workshop resources.

The workshop loading selected here is used in a report later in the process to ensure that the workshop managers are aware of the load they can expect from project students.

Variations on the "description" and "deliverables" text boxes are pretty common. Mech Eng have extended this to include the pre-requisites for each project too.

The estimated project breakdown is another useful section used by all the departments running ProjectList. It indicates the expected work-split to the student, against customisable categories like "design", "experimenting", "reporting", etc.


project form : details section
Project Supervisors (click image to open)

The final section of the project form, is where an academic can select the supervisors (s)he expects will supervise the student.

The Principal and Secondary supervisor (2nd Reader) are chosen from a drop-down of staff associated with the project list. There's also a space for entering the details of any expected industrial, or otherwise external, supervision.

Student project selection

There are a couple of ways in which students can select their projects, and your department is free to choose which they prefer.

Students can browse the list of available projects and rank their favourites in order of preference. Typically, shortlists are 3 or 6 projects in length. When the selection period has ended, the system can automatically allocate uncontested first choices (where only one student has picked it as their #1 favourite) and then defer to manual allocation where there are clashes.

The process is repeated for second, third, etc, choices until everyone is allocated a project.
Academic Selection
Students browse the list, and when they find a project they like, approach the academic supervising it directly. If the supervisor thinks the student is a good match, they can allocate the project to the student. When projects are allocated, they are removed from the public list, so no further students can see them.

This method rewards those students who make an early start at project selection, as they have the greatest selection of projects to choose from. It also gives supervising academics more control over which students they will be working with in the future.

There is also the option to allow multiple students to take the same project. Some department leave this option off by default, and enable it later in the process if they find that demand for certain projects is very high.


reporting options
Reporting Options (click image to open)

There are many reporting options available through-out the project authoring, selection and allocation process. As an example, the full list of reports available to Mech Eng are shown on the right. Key reports include:

Author Output
How many projects each author has written, and how this compares to their pre-defined quota.
Supervisor Popularity
How many projects each supervisor has had shortlisted by students, and at what rank.
Supervisor Loading
How many projects each principal/secondary supervisor has been allocated.
Student Allocations
Which students have been allocated which projects.
Student Shortlists
Review each student's shortlisted project selection.
Shortlist Success
See how successful each student was in being allocated one of their choices.
Project Allocations
Similar to student allocations, but reversed so you can see which students were allocated to each project.
Project Popularity
How many students shortlisted each project, and at what rank.
Departmental Specific Reports
Custom built reports allowing the review or export of key data sets your department requires, which are not provided by any of the standard reports.

If you need more..

If your department is interested in using ProjectList, if you want to get involved with any further developments, or if you just want to know more, please send feature requests, wish-list items, or other useful information to the lead developer, Paul Newman.

Current Status

ProjectList is now complete and is available to any department, though departments need to request registration first.

Check current usage.