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Digitalisation of Logbooks for Capstone Project
conference contributionposted on 25.03.2022, 08:58 by Eugene Wai Leong Wong, Kheng Lim Goh, Michael Wai Shing Lau, Junjie Chong, Zi Jie Choong
The Final Year / Capstone Project is a major module undertaken by students in the last year of their degree programme. For engineering programmes, a logbook contributes to part of the overall assessment and is a requirement by engineering accreditation bodies such as IMechE. A logbook is a useful tool for students to record all related tasks and information such as design sketches, calculations, meeting notes and literature during the course of their project. The logbook helps to facilitate cognition and creation, gathering and collation of information and staging of information prior to transformation from informal notes to the formal report (McAlpine et al. 2017). Thus, the logbook forms an important component for a professional engineer embarking on any engineering project as it facilitates accountability. From the perspective of digitalisation, the traditional practice of using a hardcopy bound logbook by the students to record their progress throughout the project would appear to be out of step with time. The traditional hardcopy logbook may not be suitable for all types of project. Students working on programming and computer simulation related projects find it difficult to record their findings into the logbook because they often spend hours in front of their laptops debugging codes or changing simulation parameters and it is not advisable to print and paste the different codes and simulation results into the logbook. On the other hand, students working on design-related projects are able to add in design sketches and notes illustrating their design from conceptualisation to final prototype. Also, a physical logbook makes it difficult for the supervisor to keep track of the progress of the students especially when the logbook is not used during update meetings with supervisors or not updated prior to the meetings. To overcome these limitations, a digital logbook was first introduced in 2019 where students were able to record, upload and share all information related to their capstone project for the undergraduate Mechanical Design and Manufacturing Engineering programme using the Microsoft Teams platform. Supervisors were able to view shared content and provide timely feedback on student’s progress. The use of the Microsoft Teams platform is an environmentally friendly approach as it was able to reduce the massive amount of paperwork by students and academic staff, eliminate the need for collection of physical logbooks and facilitate easier marking. It also promotes more active engagement and facilitate better feedback and exchange of information between student and staff. Most importantly, the Microsoft Teams platform provided a detailed repository of information that mirrors and surpasses that of the conventional logbook. A survey was conducted with the students and approximately 85% find it easy to use Microsoft Teams for record keeping and 89% find it easy to upload and share information with the supervisor. The digital logbook open up a new window of opportunities for facilitating accountability as our professional engineers embark on future engineering project.