Required for Ind. Study, Thesis, Readings and Senior Project Courses

The Weekly Progress Report

The Weekly Progress Report (WPR)describes what you did and what you will do in the past and next week. Each WPR counts as a homework and is due on Sunday. Submit this via e-mail to your instructor/supervisor.

Some Topic suggestions: A sentence or two is fine.

Last Weeks Progress

  • - Current activity or goal - Difficulties and failures in meeting current and previous goal(s) related to the week's work
  • - Analysis of the failure causes or modes
  • - Impact on current schedules and deadlines
  • - Impact on current interface specifications
  • - Additional resources wanted or needed
  • - Surplus resources no longer used
  • - Goals achieved and unexpected results
  • Readings courses


    Progress reports are due every Sunday Evening. They are graded based on progress/content and lateness. They loose 10 points per day late.

    On-time reports with good progress get 100.
    On-time reports with fair progress get 90. (good effort, poor results).
    On-time reports with poor progress get 80 (the student is stuck, but asked for help).
    On-time reports with poor progress and no plan for improvement, little effort; 70.

    The primary outcome of the course is a proper thesis proposal.

    This should include a correct problem statement. The idea is that a good problem statement is a necessary but insufficient condition for being able to start a good thesis.
    The computations will help compute the grade (from the syllabus):
    1/3 homeworks - progress report grades
    1/3 midterm - draft thesis submission
    1/3 final - final thesis proposal.
    How much effort is good effort?
    Students must spend 3 hours per week for every 1 hour of contact with the instructor.

    Why grade progress reports? To establish the expectations of the professor for what constitutes good progress. Students need to know what the professor wants, as this is half the battle.

    In many courses you may not need to review the literature. In the case that you do, you must cite the literature you review in a section called literature cited.

  • review each paper/book/url with a citation. In a readings course, you might identify the
  • contribution of the work
  • needs for future improvement, etc
  • It is always a good idea to mention one paper at a time, then mention its relationship to previous work in the field

    For example; In the J. Shmoe algorithm, we see a use of PCA find shop lifters [Shmoe 98]. This was applied to color images by Klem in his paper on Casino Robbers [Klem 99]. In all other respect the Klem approach was identical to the Shmoe approach. The addition of color improved recognition by 15%.

    It is important to review one paper at a time, establish its relationship to previous work and its contribution to the field. You will have to do the same thing for your Thesis statement.

    In the readings course, you need to generally review only 2 or 3 majors papers per week. It is important that you select the "right" papers. You may use the Science Citation abstracts to help you find this. The reference librarian can help you with this.

    Using Fairfield Universties Library
    AS you search for a paper, search for those papers that cite the paper you are interested in. Then you use those papers to build up your search for related papers in a field. An example of a library search is seen here. You should use a citation format as described in: The Term Paper Writing Guide

    Next weeks' Plan - include papers you plan to review


    Your reports should point out failures and difficulties. This is normal. Never hide bad news. Ask for help, if you need it.

    The WPR is a log of your work. It lists the tangibles that are used for merit pay. It documents inventions you create. It helps in court to establish a claim.


    Do I Have to do a weekly progress report?
    Yes, it is a requirement of the course. If you don't do a weekly progress report, it is assumed that you are making no progress.

    But what if I am a thesis student?
    It is even more important for a thesis student to do a weekly progress report.

    But what if I am not registered?
    A thesis student must be registered every term that they are engaged in do a thesis, otherwise they are expelled from the thesis track.

    But what if I get an incomplete on the thesis?
    A thesis student must complete the incomplete and register for the following thesis course.