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VIP Syllabus

Welcome to VIP at UD

What this is all about:

We are here to build a deeper education for you.

These projects are intended to last many years and use cutting-edge research. You will pick up expert skills that can only happen with an extended project that lasts well beyond a one-semester course.

We are here to create the future together.

Every project is centered around real research that is currently unsolved and unknown. True creation is much more difficult and interesting than passive learning. For instance, you can learn all of Einstein's works in a couple of semesters; but it took a great mind a lifetime to produce that work. Creating is much more difficult and more rewarding than learning.

We are here to collaborate.

Together we can accomplish more than as individuals. The idea of the lone-genius is fading and companies want to hire team players. The better you can lead, follow, and pick the appropriate role the more effective you and your teammates are. When we synergize with a multi-disciplinary team amazing things can happen.

We are here to take risks.

Your educational success has been based on avoiding failure. Failure is always seen on the path to success. Increase the rate of failures to succeed sooner. This program gives you a safe place to fail and fail again while helping your grades and career.

We are here to improve lives, including yours.

This is different from a normal course.

The reason we have large teams from all levels of education is to have you experience many roles on the team in your tenure. Over time we hope that you stay and provide leadership to future sophomores and newcomers.


Your grade in this course will break down into roughly 3 parts:

33% of your grade will be an evaluation of your effort and contributions

33% of your grade will be an evaluation of your teamwork and involvement

33% of your grade will be an evaluation of your documentation (your notebook and wikis)

Grade Schedule

You will be evaluated once at mid-term and once at the end of the semester. There is no final or final project.

At each evaluation you will fill out an online peer-evaulation form and submit your notebooks for evaluation. (More details below.)


Think of this as if your were part of an industry team creating a product. If you don't know what to do then it's your job to figure something out. The mentors and leaders might not be giving you daily tasks or assignments but directions and goals. Use your initiative and resourcefulness to make progress towards those goals. Get involved with your teammates and do your best to be a valuable member of the team rather than a drain on the team.

The VIP notebooks

Something distinct about this program is that we require you to keep a notebook documenting your activities in VIP. For you early pioneers of VIP we are providing some nice imprinted notebooks but you can choose your own so long as pages cannot be added.

These notebooks provide several benefits:

They create documentation for future teammates. Since these are multi-year multi-disciplinary teams which are building brand-new products we can't have people creating things that only they understand. These notebooks give us the ability to understand your thought process when you build your new products.

They provide an intellectual property record. It is likely that these projects will spawn real businesses and products and these notebooks help keep the record straight on individual contributions to the business.

They give you interview fodder. At other institutions these notebooks have been the topic of whole interviews that land the student a job. It shows that you did real interesting work and that you will be reliable and consistent in your future roles. These notebooks give you great habits.

They give us something meaningful to evaluate. Since the projects are new ideas which might be riddled with failures we can see your efforts and thoughts even if the deliverables aren't done.


Here is an example of a top-notch notebook so you have an idea of what to emulate.

Peer Evaluations

Your grade will be impacted by your teamwork. You will answer a series of questions about each of your teammates. The first question will be "How much have you worked with this person?". If your answer to that is "none" then you should ask yourself why and what have you been up to. Think of this like a basketball team, you have to work with the teammates you have. So keep this in mind as the semester gets started and try to stay involved.


Weekly Meetings Spring 2016

E-Textiles with Mark Mirotznik meets Mondays in ISE302 4:40-5:30

High Performance Computing with Sunita Chandrasekaran and Stephen Siegel meets Tuesdays in ISE307 5-5:50

Cloud-Crypto with Andy Novocin meets Wednesdays in ISE302 4:40-5:30

Artgineering with Dustyn Roberts and Troy Richards meets Mondays in ISE207 5-5:50

Grid-Integrated Vehicles with Fouad Kiamilev meets Fridays in ISE307 4:40-5:30

Subteam Meetings

It is very likely that you will have a smaller team of 3-4 students that you work closely with. It will be your responsibility to meet regularly outside of classroom hours. We have tools to help your collaboration below.

There are several places on campus you can meet your subteams including the various maker spaces around campus.


UD Collaboration

This is a brand-new program here but we're already working with the Horn Program in Entrepreneurship and First Step Grand Challenges. If parts of your project seem like they could be used for either grand challenges or as start-ups talk with Andy Novocin or your team's mentor about the possibilities.

If you know of an undergrad research team that you think would be appropriate for VIP let me know and I'll go talk to them.