Orbital (a.k.a., CP2106: Independent Software Development Project) is the School of Computing’s 1st year summer self-directed, independent work course. This programme gives students the opportunity to pick up software development skills on their own, using sources on the web. All while receiving course credit in the form of 4 modular credits of Unrestricted Electives (UE). SoC provides the Orbital framework for helping students stay motivated and driven to complete a project of their own design, by structuring peer evaluation, critique and presentation milestones over the summer period.
For external visitors: Check out our Facebook page using the “Facebook” tab on top to find out the current events surrounding Orbital. The remainder of this page is informational for the 2023 cohort.
Self help for Orbitees
Before you have been accepted into the programme…
- The application period for Orbital 23 is tentatively scheduled in mid-March.
- Please check out and follow our Facebook page using the “Facebook” tab on top to get the latest updates.
- From 2022 onwards, you are NOT allowed to take up an internship under SoC together with Orbital.
- It does not matter whether the internship is self-sourced or not. As long as it is eventually registered with SoC for modular credits via CP3880/CP3200/CP3202, it is considered to be an internship under SoC.
- If you apply and get accepted for both, you are required to decide whether you want to proceed with Orbital (and give up your internship) in late April.
- If you are found to be taking up an internship under SoC together with Orbital, your team (i.e., you and your teammate) will be removed from Orbital immediately. No replacement of members will be allowed.
After you have been accepted into the programme…
- To submit milestone READMEs, project logs, posters and videos, as well as to evaluate your peer teams’ projects, login to Skylab.
- To check on deadlines, use the Google Calendar on this page below. It is embeddable as a separate calendar, so you can import it into your own calendaring software.
- For past materials, you can usually check the YouTube channel as well as either the Liftoff or Mission Control tabs in this website.
- To communicate with staff, especially your advisor (n.b., not mentor), email your advisor directly. The contact details of your advisor (and mentor, where applicable) are available in Skylab.
- For all other matters, use MS Teams. For administrative matters, first try to contact your assigned advisor, and then the facilitators. We recommend installing the MS Teams mobile client to keep abreast of announcements.
Structure and Calendar
[Dates here are indicative, but may be revised; please consult the official Orbital calendar above for the most updated information]
Orbital consists of 3 main events:
- (mandatory) Liftoff (8-15 May 2023; the week right after final exams): project idea formulation + planning
- (optional) Mission Control (13/20/27 May + 3/10 Jun 2023: the first 5 Saturdays of the programme): workshops on technical / software engineering topics + project consultations
- (mandatory) Splashdown (23 Aug 2023; Wednesday, Week 3 of Sem I, AY 2023/24): poster presentation + awards ceremony
In addition, although Orbital is structured as a self-driven programme, it consists of 3 (mandatory) evaluation milestones (roughly corresponding to ideation, prototyping and refinement) that students must submit on Skylab at the end of each month. Each milestone has a corresponding peer evaluation in which teams will be critically evaluating other peers’ projects. The peer evaluation is an integral part of the Orbital process, as it helps students reflect on each others’ work and helps them to push each other to a successful conclusion (you’re not at it alone!). The quality of a team’s evaluation of other teams factors into the final level of achievement of the team and is evaluated after the final milestone:
- Evaluation Milestone 1 (29 May 2023)
- Peer Evaluation 1 (5 Jun 2023)
- Evaluation Milestone 2 (26 Jun 2023)
- Peer Evaluation 2 (3 Jul 2023)
- Evaluation Milestone 3 (24 Jul 2023)
- Peer Evaluation 3 (31 Jul 2023)
- Feedback on Peer Evaluations (5 Aug 2022)
Tentatively, all these events (except Splashdown) will be conducted online so it is in general ok for you to go overseas during the programme. However, you are expected to manage your time properly to complete all the required tasks on time. Being overseas is NOT a valid excuse for missing the deadlines.
There is an official Google calendar for Orbital. You can add it into your calendar if your calendaring software supports iCal format; just use https://calendar.google.com/calendar/ical/o477t98fkcop21qjrk5giehp98%40group.calendar.google.com/public/basic.ics for the public address of the Orbital calendar.
Levels of Achievement
All Orbital students who complete their summer project to the satisfaction of their peers* receive 4 MCs worth of unrestricted electives (UE) at the end of Orbital, for Sem I of the following academic year. Orbital is meant to be a voyage of self-learning, so all students who document their improvement in development skills and investment in time totalling at least 130 nominal hours of effort will be awarded the pass. Students who do not complete Orbital simply do not receive credit for Orbital; there is no possibility of failure (“U”) for most teams*. We recognise that certain teams put in extra effort in their summer projects, and as such, Orbital internally recognises three different levels of achievement that teams can work towards:
- Vostok (beginner): We advise a basic web application project that can perform CRUD. The outline of how to accomplish this is described in the Liftoff workshop (but at a very cursory level).
- Project Gemini (intermediate): Any web application with suitable extensions, or a project of your own design using other technology stacks (not restricted to web applications, but could include game development, mobile app development, or any project with exposure into programming). Project teams also must provide at least average quality evaluations of their peers.
- Apollo 11 (advanced): Any Project Gemini project advanced further to use or demonstrate awareness of basics in software engineering, testing and documentation. Project teams also must provide useful evaluations of their peers.
- Artemis (extreme): Any Apollo 11 project advanced further to use or demonstrate good knowledge in software engineering, testing and documentation. Project teams also must provide detailed and useful evaluations of their peers.
Students attempting Artemis are eligible for mentorship. For more details on Orbital’s levels of achievement system, consult the Level of Achievements page.