C2C Student Projects
The project building part of the C2C program has got to be one of the most exciting elements of this program. Deciding on what project to build and then actually building and testing it, is not only enjoyable and rewarding, but a great educational journey. The most amazing creations have been produced by the schools. Students learn a tremendous amount about new technologies such as: how to design and build electronic circuits; how to program them; how to design and construct objects using CAD and CAM software programs.
The first step in this journey is deciding what project to undertake. This process is generally achieved by:
- Every member of the group having an opportunity to propose a project that they would enjoy
- The next step is for the group to review the proposals and vote on each one, based on its merits. This generally produces a short list of three to four projects
The students then match the shortlist against the feasibility of being able to actually design and build the project. This includes considering areas such as:
- What skills would be required, and how could these new skills be accessed?
- What information needs to be researched?
- What physical resources may be required, such as programmers, test equipment, machinery, components etc?
- How long would it take to build, and how much would it cost?
- How valuable would the project be for the community or industry?
Once the project has been agreed upon, the next stage is to scope the entire project, ie to work out exactly what is required to successfully complete the project. Depending on the size of the class, this stage often leads to separate teams being formed, each being responsible for completing a specific part of the project. These teams often include:
- A hardware development team, which would design and build the electronic circuitry
- A programming team, which would write and debug the software
- A manufacturing team, which would learn how to build using CAD and CAM programs
- A graphic design team which would prepare all the documentation, posters and layout for the final Expo. This could include a PowerPoint presentation and website development
Each team works independently, as well as communicating with the other teams, to ensure that the individual components will come together in the end.
As the project is being developed the students learn and develop basic project management skills such as:
- The cycle of "Design, Implement and Review"
- Developing a project plan
- The ability to identify and address problematic areas of the project, in a systematic way
- The benefits and procedure of protecting the project's IP (Intellectual Property)
- Implementing and monitoring the necessary occupational health and safety requirements
- Implementing quality assurance reviews
- Adopting a continual improvement culture