Background: In my area, academics often supervise a large number of students (e.g., 10, 15, 20 students). Many of these students are doing a small thesis as part of either their fourth year or coursework masters. I am able to keep all these projects in my head, I do have documentation around each project, and I generally have a good understanding of what needs to be done next on each project. I can also see that one of the skills that a student learns whilst doing a thesis is project management and self-control.
However, I feel like I could develop a better system for recording and managing deadlines and deliverables on student projects. Such deliverables include concrete assessments (e.g., assessed literature reviews; the thesis; project proposals) and informal but required steps (e.g., finalising study materials; ethics applications; literature reviews; preliminary training; etc.). Such a system could let me know when a student has not provided an agreed deliverable by a given date. It would probably also have to accommodate some of the more fluid activities that unfold over time (e.g. data collection; data analysis; write-up; etc.).
A few features that would be good:
- It shouldn't be too onerous too maintain
- It should notify when deadlines are not met
- It should highlight current tasks
- It should integrate into the supervision process and make it easy to share deadlines with students
- It should accommodate different kinds of deliverables (process; outcomes)
What is a good system for helping a supervisor oversee deliverables and deadlines for a large number of research students?