Computer Science (COMP) 496

Computer and Information Systems Projects (Revision 2)

COMP 496

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Delivery Mode: Individualized study online

Credits: 3 each

Area of Study: Science

Prerequisite: Permission from the course professor and completion of all required computing credits for the Bachelor of Science in Computing and Information Systems, or for the Bachelor of Arts in Information Systems. Students are strongly encouraged to take COMP494, a new course on research methods, before doing their final projects.

Precluded Course: COMP 495/496 cannot be taken for credit if credit has already been obtained for SCIE 314 and SCIE 315 or SCIE 495 and SCIE 496.

Faculty: Faculty of Science and Technology

Centre: School of Computing and Information Systems

COMP 495 and COMP 496 is not available for challenge.

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**Note: Students who are concerned about not meeting the prerequisites for this course are encouraged to contact the course coordinator before registering


COMP 495 and COMP 496 are two 3-credit courses designed to allow students to demonstrate the skills they have learned in an applications area of their own choosing. A student may be allowed to take both COMP 495 and COMP 496 only when the proposed project for COMP 495 is too big for a single 3-credit course, in which case the big project must be clearly cut into two separate projects.

All projects must include a research component, even if the focus is on developing an applied system. Students are also encouraged to view the Research Topics listed on the SCIS website. Students may apply to work in groups as long as the individual roles and assessments are clearly defined. Students may also work on a team with members from other universities in Canada or around the world, on an undergraduate capstone open source project organized by UCOSP (, but again, the individual roles and assessment criteria must be clearly defined in the project proposal, and the project must be supervised by an SCIS academic, or a qualified IT professional approved by the course coordinator.

To supervise an applied project for COMP495/COMP496, the project supervisor must have a master's degree in computing science or a related field, or must be a certified ISP. On academic projects, the project supervisor must have a master's degree in computing science or a closely related field.

For further information on the project, please refer to the COMP 495/496 project manual.

Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion of this course, you should be able to

  • exemplify knowledge and skills acquired through courses completed so far in the program.
  • generate new skills in the analysis, design and implementation of applied computer and information systems in targeted application areas.
  • assess the impact of integration of multiple technologies in a single coherent crash-proof application.
  • explain the scalability and usability of the application.

Draft Project Proposal and Course Registration

Along with evidence that they have completed all the credits necessary to take COMP 495/496, students must submit a draft project proposal to the course professor before final registration in the course can be approved. This will include a description of the student's academic record and work experience. It should also include a statement from the proposed project supervisor, if the proposed supervisor is from outside of SCIS faculty, outlining her or his qualifications and willingness to work with the student.

The project can be part of the student's own work duties, a special project for an employer, or a project suggested by a professor, but the work must be new and yet to be completed through the course of study. For students in the BSc-CIS or BSc-CIS (Post Diploma) program, the project can be more academic-oriented research or an applied project towards the development of an applied information system. For students in the BA-IS major or other related programs, the project can be towards the analysis and design of an information system with minimal or no implementation.

In any case, the draft project proposal must include a well-worded description of the project and must also explain the rationale, the objectives and the importance of the project. The draft proposal should be around 1200 words long, and where necessary, should include a brief literature review with references. The project must consist of new work to be done by the student during the course. The draft proposal may need to be revised or even completely rewritten to ensure the suitability of the project for the course.


To receive credit for this course, a student must obtain a grade of at least 50 percent. Students will be evaluated by the project supervisor on the basis of the project proposal, the project report, and the system design or system implementation. The evaluation will be based on the criteria set in the project proposal that was developed by the student and the project supervisor, and agreed to by the course coordinator. The evaluation made by the project supervisor may be reviewed by the course coordinator in exceptional circumstances such as a disagreement between the student and the supervisor.

The weighting of the composite grade is as follows:

Activity Weighting
Part 1: Project Proposal 15%
Part 2: Project Report 35%
Part 3: Analysis and Design or Implementation* 50%
Total 100%

* When the focus of the project is on the implementation of an applied information system, the third portion of project deliverables will be the implementation of an applied information system, as well as necessary documentations such as the design and analysis of the system and a user guide that can all be included in the project report.

When a project has no or very little programming component involved, such as case studies in IT/IS management or with a focus on academic research, the third portion of the project deliverables will be a well-written report containing an analysis of the cases, design of the information/computer system or solution to the studied cases, or a thesis that reports the findings of the academic research, while the project report will be on the process of the research or case studies.

To learn more about assignments and examinations, please refer to Athabasca University's online Calendar.

Course Materials

Course materials are available on the course site to which registered students have access.

Special Course Features

A student is expected to obtain and pay for all materials used in the project if the project involves implementation. Students are encouraged to get sponsorship from a third party if needed funding is not available from the School or the University.

Further information about the course may be obtained from the course professor.

Athabasca University reserves the right to amend course outlines occasionally and without notice. Courses offered by other delivery methods may vary from their individualized-study counterparts.

Opened in Revision 2, September 12, 2012.

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