Digiajan opinnäyte -hanke 2017-19

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Notes on thesis process

Notes on defining the process - under construction!

Academic questions to be discussed and decided:

  • a new service for topics and supervising resources
  • decision making in approving a thesis topic; who, how
  • draft of an abstract as a maturity test (it is done before submission of thesis), who is doing language assessing of a maturity test?
  • grading scales and criteria
  • grading practicies, e.g. amount of assessors and who, why, reflective practicies + reasoning?
  • electronical versions for archive (no more paper versions)
  • thesis divided into several study attainments in thesis process (basic quality of supervising process)
  • expected time span of a thesis and whether the time spent on the thesis is assessed

Colour key

Title of a main phase of the process

Process phase marked as yellow does not concern all thesis

Process as phases:

RolePhase of a processIT systemNotes

Phase 1: Topic


Have a view into list of potential, preapproved topics.

Propose topic for the thesis (own or from preapproved list directly or modified), language, supervisor and advisor

Provide preapproved topics with supervisor and advisor
  • "Thesis topics" service requires a regular, ongoing process of defining topics which can come from both researchers, companies or other organizations.
  • Connection to another development project: a Salesforce pilot of choosing a thesis supervisor/advisor (prof. Petri Vuorimaa)

Thesis instructions
  • common instructions are suggested:
    • preconditions for beginning the thesis
    • expected time span of the thesis
    • criteria of a thesis (how many and on what grounds are selected?)

Provide PSP and study register information

Save thesis proposal
SupervisorApprove to supervise this topic
  • Nice to have: Resources for supervising are booked so that possible overload can be prevented. Workload of supervising per professor can be followed (and moderated).
Student administrationPrepare topic list for decision-maker

Decision makerApprove thesis proposal?Save approved topic, language, supervisor and advisor
  • Present state: practices vary in Schools. Decision maker is a supervisor or a group like a Degree programme committee or some other.
  • A common practice for Aalto is suggested.

Phase 2: Working on thesis

StudentWork on the thesisPdf/A conversion of drafts
  • Student should have the possibility to try file convertion into pdf/A mode (subject to archiving) already in early phase.

Similarity report of a draft for preventing plagiarism
  • Similarity report is available for both student and advisor; feedback can be given on the draft in the same context.
AdvisorAdvise and support in work progress

SupervisorFollow progress, give first study attainment parts (10+10 credits) and feedback
Student administrationPossibility to follow-up on students work in progressRegister study attainment parts
StudentSubmit abstract draft as maturity essay

Benefits of doing maturity essay during working process:

  • possibility to refine abstract based on the feedback from supervisor and language inspector
  • time needed for assessing maturity essay is not burdening the timetable of thesis phase 4.
SupervisorReview maturity essay content and give study attainment part

Similarity report of a draft for preventing plagiarism

Register study attainment
Language inspectorReview abstract language, give feedback and study attainment part

Similarity report for preventing plagiarism of a draft

  • Concerns all bachelor thesis and the master's thesis whose authors have not done the language part in their bachelor's level.
  • Could a system provide information about the need of a language check?
  • Assessing language is not needed to be done by a language professional (University of Helsinki for example).

Register study attainment

Phase 3: Submitting thesis

StudentFill in bibliographic information, give permissions for publications and submit version for grading

Pdf/A conversion

Archive thesis copy in student papers repository in order to protect it against plagiarism by others

  • Also a consent for using thesis in research and education purposes should be asked from a student
Student administrationCheck metadataMetadata check

Phase 4: Grading and administrative handling
  • To be discussed: can grading practices be harmonized?
SupervisorDo assessment and discuss with advisor

Similarity report of a thesis for grading to detect plagiarism

Assessment scale and criteria

  • A common assessment scale is suggested
  • a common assessment criteria or several are suggested
AdvisorDiscuss assessment
  • Also an advisor who works outside the university should see the thesis and the assessment criteria
Assessor if neededGive assessment statement and grade proposal
  • Also an assessor who works outside the university should see the thesis and the assessment criteria
SupervisorGive assessment statement and grade

Student administration

Check and prepare meeting agenda

Concerns Master's thesis
Decision makerApprove statement and grade

Digital signature

  • Given grades, criteria and statements for thesis are suggested to be reflected regularly by academics
  • Excellent thesis could be sifted through in order to reward some of them or to pick them up to a list of good thesis examples (with a student's consent)
Student administrationCheck and save approved study attainment (last 10 credits)Register study attainment
StudentReceive information, check grade and its justifications

StudentAppeal (within 14 days)?

Student administrationPrepare meeting agenda

Decision makerHandle the appeal

ArchivistArchive and publish the thesis

Archive thesis

Publish thesis (if permitted by student)

Reasons why the all phases of the thesis process from the beginning should be covered in the digital process:

  • all information concerning the topic approval should be available during the later phases of the thesis process
  • a possibility to follow progress of a student's working on a thesis
  • a manager of a degree program could be able to follow the progress of thesis processes.

Data needs (location of master data not solved yet)Thesis processData outputs
Preapproved list of topicsPhase 1
Advisor/thesis inspector outside Aalto University having an Aalto account (with limited rights) IDMPhases 2, 4
Grading criteria and statement next to the grade and thesisPhase 4
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