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September 28, 2015 0 Comment

Group Project Instructions

Ver. 14


For the group project, you will be assigned to be part of a group of students. To be assigned to a group, you must have turned in PS A, or you need to email as soon as possible to let me know that you are actively participating in the class and would like to be part of a group.

Project Overview

The Group Project consists of 3 separate assignments:

  • GP 1: An early progress report, submitted individually by each group member, about how the group is functioning.
  • GP 2: The finished written paper, submitted once per group. Details are given below.
  • GP 3: A final assessment, submitted individually by each group member at the same time GP 2 is due, about how other group members contributed to the group effort. (Do not rate yourself.)

Find Articles (2+ each)

Each group member needs to find at least two online articles about your subject.

  1. The articles should not just mention your subject, but should contain substantial and important information about your subject. You are to determine what “substantial and important” mean.
  2. Each article should provide new information or perspective compared to the other articles used by the group. After choosing your initial articles, you may need to choose additional articles if you come together as a group and see that some of your articles are too repetitive.
  3. The articles for the group project should come from at least three (3) different sources.
  4. You should use sources that are as primary as possible. (Don’t use Wikipedia, About.com, Ask.com, or similar “compilation” sites.)

3) Create the Paper

As a group, decide how you will summarize your articles and combine them into a single research paper (in a word processing document such as Word).

The finished paper should have between 500 and 1,000 words for each active* member of the group, with a minimum of 1,500 words overall. For example, a group of three would turn in a Group Project that was 1,500 to 3,000 words long.

Note: If you are assigned a group member that “never shows up,” the group will NOT be responsible for the content that that member would have produced. However, the 1,500-word minimum still applies. For example, in the rare case that only one group member is active, she or he needs to turn in a 1,500-word paper. If a group of 5 is really a group of 4, because one member never participates, then the group needs to turn in a paper from 2,000 to 4,000 words long.

However, that does not mean that each person writes a page, and then you stick them all together and you’re done.

  • The paper has to be unified and flow well from beginning to end.
  • If one person puts in a lot of detail, and another puts in very little, then one or the other should be modified or edited so they fit together.
  • Because it has to flow together, the editor(s) may make some modifications to the individual contributions, which is fine.

You may decide that one person does less original writing and research, but is a master editor that unifies everything at the end.

More details:

  1. The paper should have a well-formed introduction, summary or thesis statement, supporting paragraphs, and conclusion, all using good sentence and paragraph structure, grammar, spelling, etc.
  2. The paper should have section titles, including “Introduction,” “Conclusion,” and appropriate section titles (at least 3) for the body of the paper.
  3. Below each section title, please put the name of the person who wrote it. This can be important when there is an issue regarding the sharing of the workload, or when there is a plagiarism problem with a certain section.
  4. All of the writing in the paper should be original, with quotations cited properly, etc., as described on the bibliography page. Note that the final paper will be submitted to the built-in Blackboard plagiarism service to check for originality and proper citations.
  5. The paper should also include a bibliography as described on the bibliography page.
  6. You should include a title, date, and names of team members at the top of the paper or on a separate cover page.

In terms of sharing and storing documents, it is recommended that you use the Group Wiki feature. Create a “Documents” page and attach documents using the “paper clip” icon.

Using Pictures in the Group Project

Pictures or other graphics are not required, but to the extent that they help tell your story, you may use them.

Since this is to be a Word (or similar) document, you should paste the pictures into the document in the appropriate place. Use the course textbook as a guide in terms of placement and labeling (e.g. it should have a Figure #, and potentially a title and/or explanatory text), and refer to the figure number in your text.

Please be careful of size issues. That is, don’t try to embed a 5 MB photo (or even worse, 5 photos that are 5 MB each) into your document. Use appropriate software to minimize the size of the picture (using jpg compression, etc.) before inserting it.

GP 2: Document (Group Submission)

Everyone in your group has access to this assignment, but the paper only needs to be submitted by one person for it to count for everyone. As a group, decide on one person to submit the finished paper to the Assignment area by the due date.

Submit the document as an attachment in .doc or .docx format. If you use LibreOffice, OpenOffice, etc., please save the document as .doc or .docx before submitting it.

Note that the score given for this assignment will apply to all group members UNLESS it is determined from GP 3 that a given group member contributed considerably less than the others (or nothing at all), in which case the score will be modified for that individual. The GP 3 assessments are considered carefully, and there must be a majority consensus about sub-par participation in order for any modification to be made.

GP 3: Assessment (Individual Submission)

Individually, on the GP 3 Assignment in the Assignment section of the class website, submit an evaluation of your fellow group members (include first and last names, please), as described below.

Because online students can be less accessible than students in “live” classes, it is possible that one or more team members will not participate fully in the group, or perhaps not at all. (Some may even drop the class during the course of the assignment.)

Each team member needs to rate the participation of other team members. Please rate them on a score of 1 to 5 as follows:

  1. No participation
  2. Very little participation
  3. Partial participation
  4. Contributed to the group, but didn’t seem to carry a full share
  5. Full participation

Don’t over-analyze it: If you’re happy with the way things went with everyone, then give everyone a 5. Also, it is to be expected that a natural leader will emerge, and that person may well do more than the rest of the group in terms of motivation and organization. Everyone can still get a 5 in that situation.

However, if another student clearly only fulfills part of her or his fair share, or does nothing at all, you have a way to indicate it. If you rate someone less than 5, please briefly tell me why.

Note that if a group member “never shows up,” the remaining members of the group are still responsible for a paper as described above. That member would receive a rating of 1.

I expect full participation to be the norm. If there are discrepancies (person X is rated as “full” by person Y but “no participation” by person Z), then I will try to resolve them.

You may copy and paste your answers into the submission area, or submit a .doc or .docx file.


GP 1: 4 points

GP 2: 25 points, detailed below

GP 3: 4 points

GP 2 Grading Standard:

GP 2 grading will take into consideration the following factors:

  1. Content
    1. Useful, relevant information
    2. Coherent flow of ideas
    3. Original content (no plagiarism), with quotations and sources cited properly
    4. Proper grammar, punctuation, spelling, word usage, etc.
  2. Overall Format
    1. Word count: Greater of 1,500 or 500 per group member
    2. Title, date and group member names
    3. Headings for introduction, conclusion, and major sections
  3. Sources
    1. Bibliography with complete and consistent information, as described on the “Bibliographies” page
    2. At least 3 different sources
    3. At least 2 articles per group member

Individual adjustments, based on group ratings, will be made as needed

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