University of Birmingham

Title of project:
Group Study

Name of project coordinator:
Dr Peter Jones

Total no. of students expected to participate:
Approximately 100 students

Size of groups:
15 students

Year in which students will carry out the project:
3rd Year

No. of weeks over which the project will be carried out during one academic year:
10 weeks

Dates over which the project will run during the academic year:
Spring Term (Jan – Mar) 

Brief Description:
In Birmingham, group projects proposed by industry will be phased in as part of our existing Group Study module in year 3.  Our Group Study is compulsory for students on all physics programmes with the exception of Physics with Theoretical Physics.  All existing projects are based around our research activities.  The new industry group projects will fit seamlessly into the existing module structure and be assessed in the same way.  The aim for 2011 is to introduce a nuclear energy group project, exploiting our strong links with the UK civil nuclear industry.  Existing experimental projects based around photonics and nanoscale technology are also candidates to develop links with industry in the future. 

Key features of this project:
Our projects are designed to involve around 15 students working in 3 groups of 5.  This gives students valuable experience of working as part of a larger team.  No one student can master all areas of the project, so tasks must be clearly divided between sub-groups.  An overall project management structure must be in place to ensure successful completion.   Good communication is vital to ensure that all the aims of the project are met.