ME494 - BTP I

ME494 - BTP I

Instructor

Prof. Prasanna S Gandhi

Semester

Spring’21

Course Difficulty

Largely depends on scope of the project and expectations of the Guide. Generally the projects are very open ended and research based, but over the course of semester students are expected to come up with a reasonable amount of original work which should not be a mere literature survey. The original work can be anything ranging from a good experimental data, or a design idea to some simulations and results, depending on the project area and scope.

Time Commitment Required

Equivalent to or slightly less than normal 6 credit course, ie, ~3hr per week

Grading Policy and Statistics

Fixed:

80% AA
70% AB
60% BB
55% BC
50% CC
45% CD
40% DD

Note:
Minimum of BB grade is required in BTP-I for student to be eligible for BTP-II and thus for honors degree

Pre-requisites

Tools/Softwares specific to project.

Evaluation Scheme

Major evaluation elements in a BTP are:

  1. Final Report (~20%)
  2. Presentation & QnA (~50%)
  3. Hands-on Work (~20%)
  4. Review by Guide (~10%)

An examiner (any prof from the dept. with similar research backround) is invited by the project guide for evaluating 1., 2., and 3. while 4. is solely given by guide.

Topics Covered in the Course

Teaching Style

The mechanism is usually that you meet with your guide once a week at the beginning and this meet frequency of becomes lower and lower as the project proceeds (which was atleast for my case).

In these ideally to be weekly meets, you present your work/findings to your guide and discuss the next steps. These meets are very informal and generally all professors are vey helpfull in guiding you through the proper resources or correct ways going about a problem where you maybe stuck.

Usually guides are very understading and they don’t expect a big breakthrough from your end as they understand that this probably can be you first research project so they are more focused towards your learning than getting results. Apart from my BTP I’ve a also done a couple of research projects with professors and this is a common thing that I’ve experienced with all of them.

Motivation for taking this course

Following were my major motivational points, in very order, for taking this course:

  1. enthusiasm for tech and willingness to get formal research exposure
  2. graduating with Honors Degree
  3. No exams

PS: the point 3. didn’t aged very well as at the end of semester when I had to write pages long formal report on LaTeX and make presentations along with the report, at moment I felt I would have rather given a couple exams than this :p

But anyways, as in point 1. I was looking for more formal reasearch exposure, I think the experience and learning was
well worth it.

Course Importance

The course can prove out to be of real value if you are an BTech student, interested in or will be going for higher studies.

Many universities abroad give higher preference to students with prior research exposure, and being a Honors degree holder/candidate with BTP-I and II both can be a very good spike in your application.

How strongly would I recommend this course?

Any student willing to get a more hands-on learning experience outside theory classes and lecture halls, and still get credits for it - this course is a must-do for you!

When to take this course?

I did this course in my 6th Semester, however it was not the best decision as we already had 3 labs in that sem so time management got a little thought for me.

Ideally one should take BTP-I in their 7th sem, followed by heavier BTP-II (if you want to pursue Honors degree) in 8th sem.

Going Forward

This course is usually followed by second phase of the project in BTP-II, which is of 12 credits and both of them combined with a 6 credit theory course relevant to the project make up for the complete requirements of 24 credits for Honors Degree in Mechanical Engineering. However if a student doesn’t wish to continue to BTP-II he/she can retag their BTP-I as Department Elective.

ME 494 Review By: Rishabh Singh Dodeja