Students need a grade of Satisfactory, or better, in each of 3 work term reports (200, 300, 400) in order to meet the graduation requirements.
The submission deadline is the 1st Monday, following the first day of lectures, no later than 4:00 p.m., for students in their 2B, 3A and 4A term. Work reports are to be submitted to Carla Daniels, the Undergraduate Student Advisor, Mechatronics Engineering (located in E5-3108) in the Department of Mechanical & Mechatronics Engineering.
Reports handed in after this deadline will not be marked until the following term. You will receive a mark of 38% for the work report if it is not submitted on time. When the work report is marked and receives a passing grade in the subsequent term, this will be cleared and indicated on your transcript as 'SUPP S' (Supplemental Exam Satisfied). Note that the 38% mark will remain on your transcript permanently. It is best that you hand in your work report on time!
If you receive a grade of "Unacceptable", you are required to clear that failure with a new report that has a completely different topic.
Confidential reports may be marked, in confidence, by a Mechatronics Engineering faculty member or by a licensed professional engineer (P.Eng.) at your place of employment. Please contact your undergraduate advisor for a permission form. Work Reports should not be classified as confidential unless absolutely necessary.
If the work report must be marked confidential, the Mechatronics Engineering work term report markers will not sign a non-disclosure form related to your work term report or material contained in it. There are two options for confidential reports:
- Confidential, Marked by the Director of the Mechatronics program or Delegate (Form 1)
- Confidential Marked by Employer (Form 2).
Confidential Report Marked by Director of the Mechatronics program, or Delegate: The Director of Mechatronics will evaluate a confidential report personally or the Director may also delegate the responsibility of marking a confidential work report to one of the Mechatronics Engineering faculty members. The report is returned directly to the student, after it is graded. FORM 1 is a confidentiality agreement that is signed by the Director and by the faculty member who grades the report. Attach FORM 1 to the front of the work report and submit the report directly to the Mechatronics Engineering Undergraduate Office (E5 3108). FORM 1 will be signed and returned to the Employer once the work report has been marked.
Confidential Report Marked by Employer: In exceptional cases, where the employer is unwilling to permit the report to leave the company’s premises, the University will permit the employer to evaluate the report for us, but only if the evaluation is made by a licensed Professional Engineer familiar with the topic of the work report who confirms that the work report contains proprietary or confidential information. FORM 2 is a request from the employer to grant credit to the student on the basis of the employer’s evaluation. In this case, FORM 2 and a completed “Evaluation of Work Term Report Marked by Employer” form are returned to the Undergraduate Office. In most cases, the Director or Mechatronics will contact the Professional Engineer who graded the report to confirm that the grade is correct and that there was a genuine need for confidentiality. Only one of your work reports may be “Marked by Employer”.
Confidential reports can not be considered for awards or receive a grade of outstanding.
For students who started in 1A in the F'10 term and all subsequent 1A students, 3 satisfactory work reports are required (WKRPT 200, WKRPT 300 and WKRPT 400).
Note: Effective F'10/1A class, WKRPT 100 is no longer required under the the new WatPD program.
Term submission requirements for WKRPT 200, 300 and 400 can be found in the University of Waterloo, U/G calendar:
In preparation for your first work report, begin by reviewing the report-writing steps taught in MTE 100. In particular, see chapters 6 & 7 in your first year text: "Introduction to Professional Engineering in Canada, 3rd Ed., by G.C. Andrews, J.D. Aplevich, R.A. Fraser & C. Macgregor, Pearson Prentice Hall, Toronto 2009.
Note:The level of Engineering analytical content is expected to be proportionate with your academic level in each of your work terms.
- Marking: Work Reports are marked by Mechanical/Mechatronics Engineering faculty member or by a graduate assistant working under the direction of the Associate Chair.
- Selecting a Suitable Topic: Your report must describe a technical task or project that you completed during your work term. Most importantly, your report must have analytic content. That is, your report must describe the challenge you were assigned (this is the purpose of the report), what methods you considered to meet the challenge, which one you selected, and how you implemented it (this is the analysis), what the results were, and what you recommended. Generally, reports without a critical analysis, such as mere descriptions of processes, systems, equipment or mathematical models, are unacceptable. In particular, a software user's-guide is unacceptable as a work report, even if it is useful and well-written. However, a report about a software development project conducted by the student is acceptable. In this case, the report would describe the challenge you faced, what hardware, languages and procedures you used (and why), how you organized the code (include flowcharts), how it was tested, the test results, etc. The report is about the project; the user's-guide might be in an appendix.
- Letter of Submittal: The MME department requires you to clearly define the role you played in the project and precisely what help was provided. Please do not write: "This report was prepared and written by me and I would like to thank Joe Smith for his help." Explain who suggested the project, what your job was, and precisely what help Joe Smith gave. Was he your boss or an assistant? Did he help you, or did you help him? How do we contact him? For example:
"I would like to acknowledge the help of Mr. Joe Smith, Head of Engineering, who defined the purpose of the project, helped me choose the test methods, and proof-read my final report. My role in the project was to select and calibrate test equipment, make the measurements, collect and analyze the data, and write the report. The project lasted 3 months. Mr. Smith can be contacted at (905) 555-1234. I would particularly like to thank Ms. Merku Shmdlu, who provided computer code for analyzing the test data, and Mr. Krti Mxpli who typed the first three drafts of this report."
The Letter of Submittal should be attached behind the cover page.
- Summary: The most common error is writing a Summary that is too brief and too vague. Another common error is writing a Summary that is identical to the Introduction. The Summary should be a brief version of the full report. It should give the reader an accurate overview. The Summary usually includes parts of the introduction, the main body, the conclusions, and the recommendations. Be brief, but be specific. What was the problem or challenge that you were given? State the purpose of the project, preferably in the first paragraph. ("The purpose of this project was to . . . .") How did you solve it? If you performed tests, how many were there? How did you organize them? In general terms, state what procedure and equipment you used. What problems were met? What did the results show? If the project was a design, state what criteria you defined, what alternatives you considered, what the final design looks like, how it was tested, how it performed, etc. Please do not say "Conclusions are given in the report." Include the key conclusions in the Summary, briefly. The Summary is usually one page but, if needed, two pages may be used.
- Format: Minor deviations from the Guideline format are acceptable, since many companies may require a different format. Presenting a neat, logical, consistent format is more important than conforming to an arbitrary standard, and clear communication is always more important than anything. Previous work report Guidelines required the Conclusions and Recommendations to follow the Summary. Although this format may still be used in some industries, it is not now recommended. The Guidelines now request that Conclusions and Recommendations come after the main body of the report.
- Conclusions & Recommendations: Conciseness is admirable; however, many students make the Summary, Conclusions and Recommendations too brief. On the other hand, do not "pad" your report with irrelevant ideas, just make it complete and understandable. You may organize ideas using lists or numbered points, if appropriate, but avoid making your report into a check-list or a series of encrypted notes.
- References: Every report needs references; in fact, your failure to consult references for guidance may be considered negligence. On the other hand, when you include sentences, photos, drawings or figures from other sources in your report, the complete reference must be cited. Failure to do so is plagiarism, an academic infraction with serious consequences.
- Work Term Report Common Error Checklist:You may find this checklist of common errors in work reports useful when preparing your work term report.
Detailed Work Report Writing Guidelines
For additional help in report writing, please see the Waterloo Cases in Design Engineering website.