Tag Archives: working


One of the main challenges students may face is collecting and sourcing the necessary hardware components to build out their IoT network for the smart agriculture system. While there are many off the shelf sensors available that can measure things like soil moisture, ambient temperature and light levels, others like pH sensors or those that measure nutrients may need to be sourced from specialty equipment suppliers. Sourcing the right components within a student’s budget can prove difficult.

Another related challenge is properly integrating the various hardware components together into a cohesive network. Students will need to select an IoT networking protocol like Zigbee, LoRaWAN or WiFi to connect their sensors to a central gateway device. They’ll then need to determine how to interface each sensor to the gateway, which may involve soldering connectors or writing custom code. Ensuring reliable communication between all the nodes in the network across a field setting is challenging.

Once the basic hardware network is established, a big challenge is collecting and managing the volume of data that will be generated from multiple sensor readings occurring periodically across the deployment area. Students will need to store this influx of data cost effectively, likely in a cloud-based database. They’ll then need to process and analyze the data to derive meaningful insights, which requires programming and data science skills that students may not yet possess.

Visualizing the data for farmers in a simple dashboard is also difficult. Students must design easy to read graphics and reports that distill key information about field and crop conditions clearly without overwhelming the user. Integrating the dashboard into a web or mobile app platform adds another layer of complexity to the project.

The sensors themselves may also pose challenges. Ensuring they remain calibrated over the long-term as they are exposed to varying environmental conditions like precipitation or temperature fluctuations in the field is difficult. Sensors can drift out of calibration, leading to inaccurate readings. Students need to devise ways to periodically check and recalibrate sensors to maintain data integrity.

Powering the remote sensor nodes sustainably also presents a formidable challenge. Batteries will need to be regularly replaced in hard to access areas, and solar panels and energy harvesting technologies may be required. Managing energy usage of the nodes to maximize uptime adds complexity.

Testing and validating the full system under real world farming conditions is a major undertaking. Students must work closely with an actual farm to deploy the network and systematically evaluate whether it provides useful insights over seasons or years. This level of long-term field testing is difficult for a student project.

Regulatory compliance issues may also arise depending on the country or region of the project. Using wireless networks for agricultural applications may require certifications for things like spectrum use or equipment regulations. Students need to fully understand applicable compliance rules which can be intricate.

Convincing farmers to adopt a new IoT system developed by students also poses challenges. Farmers are conservative about new technologies and students must prove how their solution will meaningfully help operations or improve yields. Designing an adoption strategy and pilot program takes savvy community engagement skills.

Budget and timeline constraints are always a reality for student projects too. Completing such an ambitious multi-disciplinary IoT and agriculture project within a single academic term or year limits what can realistically be achieved. Maintaining motivation and momentum with inevitable setbacks is difficult.

Integrating machine learning or predictive analytics capabilities would elevate a smart agriculture project but requires even more advanced coding and math skills that students may struggle with. Basic data monitoring without predictive functions has limited long-term value. Finding the right scope and complexity balance is a challenge.

Developing a fully functional smart agriculture IoT system poses immense logistical, technical, engagement and integration challenges for students. Proper planning, clear definition of objectives, flexibility, and help from industry mentors would be needed to successfully overcome these barriers. While ambitious, the learning outcomes for students tackling such a meaningful project could be invaluable and help address critical needs in global agriculture. Carefully scoping the project to match available time and resources is key to achieving success.

Some of the major potential challenges students may face in this type of smart agriculture IoT project involve procuring and integrating diverse hardware components, managing large streams of real-time sensor data, ensuring system reliability over the long term in outdoor conditions, gaining farmer adoption of new technologies, and addressing regulatory compliance and budget constraints. Taking on such a complex multi-disciplinary endeavor would provide students invaluable hands-on experience that transfers to many careers, so long as they are supported and the scope remains realistic for their capacity. With proper planning and focus, they could achieve meaningful outcomes and learning despite inevitable setbacks along the way.


The Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan (CERP) is one of the largest environmental restoration projects in history. It involves coordination between numerous federal, state, and local agencies to restore the delicate South Florida ecosystem and restore natural water flows to the Everglades. The CERP was authorized by the Water Resources Development Act of 2000 with the goal to reverse the effects of drainage and development in South Florida over the last century that have seriously degraded the Everglades.

The core federal partner in implementing CERP is the United States Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) which has primary responsibility for designing, constructing, and overseeing restoration projects. The lead state agency is the South Florida Water Management District (SFWMD) which is responsible for water management, land acquisition, and permitting for CERP projects. Other key federal agencies involved include the Department of the Interior (DOI), Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Department of Agriculture (USDA), and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). At the state level, other partners include the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (FDEP) and Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC). Local sponsors and stakeholders such as water control districts, counties, environmental groups are also involved in providing input and support.

To facilitate coordination between these various partners, an interagency organizational structure was established. The Governor and Corps of Engineers’ Civil Works Director co-chair an Executive Committee which provides overall leadership and strategic direction for CERP. An intergovernmental Task Force made up of representatives from all the involved agencies meets regularly to review progress, address issues, and make recommendations. Technical teams comprised of scientists and engineers from the agencies collaborate on developing restoration designs, monitoring plans, and adaptive management strategies. Stakeholder input is also received through public meetings and partnership programs.

Funding CERP projects requires a combination of federal appropriations managed by the Corps and state funding overseen by SFWMD. Congress typically appropriates several hundred million dollars annually through the Corps’ budget for preconstruction engineering and design, land acquisition, and construction of CERP projects. SWFWMD as the local sponsor is responsible for providing 35% of project costs under the cost share agreement. To help fund its share, Florida voters approved a $200 million Everglades Restoration Bond in 2014 and $624 million Everglades Restoration Investment Act in 2016. Full implementation of CERP’s 68 designated projects is estimated to cost over $16 billion, so securing adequate and consistent funding streams from federal, state, and private sources remains an ongoing challenge.

To execute restoration activities on the ground, the Corps and SWFWMD enter into Project Partnership Agreements (PPAs) for each individual CERP project. These PPAs outline the roles and responsibilities of each agency, division of costs, schedules, and regulatory compliance requirements. The Corps is responsible for carrying out detailed engineering and design work, acquiring lands, and overseeing construction. SFWMWD provides reviews and approvals at critical project milestones, handles state permitting, and contributes its cost share funding. Over time, completed projects are transferred to SFWMD for long-term operation and maintenance. Projects require ongoing monitoring and adaptive management by the agencies to ensure they achieve intended ecological benefits.

Some examples of significant CERP projects that have reached construction or are underway include the Picayune Strand Restoration Project, Indian River Lagoon South Project, Bandon Marsh / C-43 West Basin Storage Reservoir Project, Biscayne Bay Coastal Wetlands Project, Central Everglades Planning Project, and the Tamiami Trail Next Steps Project. To date, over 30 project components have been completed or are under construction representing over $2 billion dollars invested in Everglades restoration. Substantial work remains to fulfill the vision and timelines established in CERP for the revitalization of America’s Everglades and South Florida’s watershed. The ongoing cooperation between federal and state agencies will be crucial for long-term success implementing and adaptively managing this monumental ecological restoration effort.

Implementation of the ambitious Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan relies on extensive coordination and partnerships between numerous federal, state, and local agencies. This includes leadership through interagency committees, collaboration on project planning and design, agreements defining roles and responsibilities, coordinated review and approval processes, combined funding contributions, and working together to construct and manage projects aimed at recovering the Greater Everglades ecosystem. While progress has been made and lessons learned over the past two decades, full restoration of the Everglades remains a long-term challenge that will continue to depend on cooperation between government agencies charged with overseeing this critical environmental restoration program.


The scope and complexity of a drone project can seem quite daunting at first. Drones incorporate elements of mechanical engineering, electrical engineering, computer science, and aviation. Students will have to learn about and implement systems related to aerodynamics, flight controls, propulsion, power, communications, sensors, programming, etc. This requires learning new technical skills and coordinating efforts across different areas. To manage this, it’s important for students to thoroughly research and plan their project before starting any physical work. Breaking the project into clear phases and milestones will help track progress. Working with an advisor experienced in drone design can provide valuable guidance.

Another major challenge is ensuring the drone design and components selected are able to achieve the project goals. For example, selecting motors, propellers, battery, flight controller etc. that have the necessary performance characteristics needed for a long-range or high-payload mission. To address this, extensive simulations and calculations should be done upfront to inform hardware choices. Open-source drone design and simulation software can help validate design decisions without requiring physical prototyping. Iterative testing and refining of the prototype is also important to refine performance.

Securing funding for parts, materials, and tools necessary to build and test a drone can pose difficulties. Drones require a variety of expensive components like multicopter frames, electrical speed controllers, cameras, sensors, batteries etc. Lack of access to proper workshop facilities and equipment for manufacturing and assembly tasks can also hinder progress. To overcome this challenge, students should carefully budget project costs, apply for internal university grants or crowdfunding, and leverage any discounts available to students. Partnering with local drone community groups or companies may provide donated or discounted components.

Drone electronics and software can exhibit unexpected bugs and stability issues during testing that require debug and fixes. Factors like vibration, weight distribution shifts during flights, electrical and RF noise interference etc. may lead to reliability problems. Debugging crashed drones in the field is also difficult. Careful mechanical design, redundant systems, thorough bench testing, and use of simulation tools can eliminate many issues beforehand. But students must allow time for iterative debugging as fixing bugs uncovered in flight tests takes time and persistence. Proper documentation of troubleshooting steps is important.

Another challenge lies in navigating relevant government regulations for drone operation and ensuring compliance. Regulations related to drone size, weight, permitted airspace, pilot certifications, privacy, payloads etc. differ based on location. Non-compliance could result in legal penalties. Students need guidance on regulations applicable to their university location. Flight testing should only be done with proper permissions and safety procedures followed. Sufficient liability insurance may also be required which adds to costs.

Project scheduling and group coordination difficulties may arise as drone projects involve contributions from multi-disciplinary domains. Staying on schedule is challenging as unexpected issues will disrupt timelines. Proper communication between group members, setting intermediate deadlines, assigning clearly defined roles, documenting progress, and regular status updates with advisors help manage coordination difficulties and minimize delays. Using project management software tools can facilitate collaboration.

Some of the key challenges students may face include complexity of drone technologies, design validation, funding constraints, reliability issues during testing, regulatory compliance, and coordination within multi-disciplinary teams. With thorough upfront planning, breaking tasks into phases, frequent testing using simulation tools, crowd-sourcing resources, clear documentation, and continuous communication among group members – students can successfully overcome these challenges to complete an impactful drone capstone project. Taking guidance from experienced mentors is also crucial. With perseverance and teamwork, students can gain immense technical skills and satisfaction from seeing their custom-designed drone take to the skies.


Plan and prioritize your tasks. Start by making a comprehensive list of all the tasks required to complete your capstone project from start to finish. This could include things like researching your topic, creating an outline, collecting data, writing draft sections, getting feedback, revising, and final editing. Assign realistic deadlines to each task based on its complexity and importance. Group related tasks together in stages or milestones. This will help you stay organized and ensure everything gets done on time.

Use a calendar. Take your prioritized task list and transfer the deadlines onto a physical or digital calendar. Block out specific times on certain days of the week to work on each task. Treat your capstone project schedule like any other important commitment. Review your calendar regularly and adjust as needed if deadlines need to shift. Having your capstone deadlines visible will help keep you accountable.

Limit distractions. When it’s time designated for capstone work, put your phone away, close extra apps/browsers on your computer, and find a quiet space where you can focus. Let others know not to disturb you during your dedicated work block. Reducing external distractions will allow you to stay focused on the tasks at hand without constant interruptions.

Take regular breaks. Our ability to focus diminishes the longer we work intensely on complex projects. Be sure to take short 5-10 minute breaks periodically to recharge your brain. Get up, move around, grab a snack or drink of water during your break before returning fully recharged. Taking breaks can actually increase your productivity in the long run compared to powering through non-stop.

Track your time. Whether using a smartphone app, spreadsheet, or timers, actively track how long you spend on each task. Reviewing your time logs will help you determine where you tend to get off track or distracted. You’ll also develop a better sense of how long tasks should realistically take so your scheduling stays accurate.

Consider time blocking. Taking the above a step further, time blocking is when you commit to working solely on one task for a set amount of time before moving on. For example, blocking out 90 minutes to specifically research your topic without shuffling between tasks. Time blocking in longer intervals helps you stay hyper-focused, which is beneficial for complex capstone tasks.

Set interim deadlines. Break larger projects into short-term goals and interim deadlines. For example, finishing your outline by the end of the week or submitting your first draft section to get feedback within 10 days. Achieving these mini-deadlines along the way will help prevent procrastination and give you a sense of momentum and accomplishment as your capstone comes together.

Avoid perfectionism. It’s easy to get bogged down nitpicking small details or revising work prematurely during a large capstone project. There will be time to perfect things in the editing stage. For now, focus on just getting initial drafts completed according to your deadlines. You can iterate and improve later. Perfectionism wastes valuable time during the initial completion phase.

Ask for help. Whether from your capstone supervisor, peers, friends or writing center tutors, don’t be afraid to reach out for guidance or accountability support. Explaining your progress or challenges can help you problem solve obstacles and refine your approach more effectively. A little help from others may save you time struggling alone in the long run.

Review your work when your mind is fresh. Give yourself adequate time at the end of each work day or week to review what was accomplished and prepare an updated plan for tomorrow or next week. Reviewing with a rested mind is more productive and helps with continuity. Adjust your calendar as needed based on progress or changes in priority.

Setting clear goals and structure through effective time management strategies is key for completing an intensive capstone project on schedule while maintaining balance in other responsibilities. Applying a combination of planning, self-monitoring, limiting distractions and interim deadlines can ensure you invest your limited time as efficiently as possible on all required tasks. With practice, you’ll develop great time management habits for other major projects in the future too.


One of the biggest challenges that students face is properly scoping the project. Cloud computing is a very broad field that touches on areas like infrastructure as a service, platform as a service, software as a service, and more. Students need to carefully identify the specific problem or application they want to focus on early in the process. Otherwise, there is a risk of the project becoming too broad or ambiguous in scope.

Related to project scoping is effectively managing expectations. Since this is a capstone project, there are expectations that it will demonstrate a high level of technical skills and knowledge. It’s also an academic exercise for students who are still learning. Setting realistic goals and delivering incremental work is important. It’s better to complete a well-designed smaller project than to bite off more than can reasonably be achieved.

Deadlines are also a major challenge. Capstone projects have strict deadline requirements to accommodate things like grading periods or project defenses. Cloud projects often involve Stand-up and configuring new infrastructure, which can be time consuming. Unanticipated complexities or delays accessing resources can cause schedule problems. Students need to plan schedules conservatively and communicate issues promptly.

Finding and accessing appropriate cloud resources within budget constraints can be difficult. Common cloud platforms have free tiers but expensive beyond that. Students need to right-size resources, estimate costs early, and may need to consider alternative free platform options. This requires research and planning that some students underestimate.

Designing for cloud-native principles like scalability, reliability, availability and maintainability is a steep learning curve for many. Students have to think differently than traditional applications, but may lack experience. Iterative development is needed plus guidance on best practices like microservices, immutable infrastructure, devops processes, monitoring etc.

Documentation and non-functional requirements are often given insufficient attention by students new to professional development. Things like security, logging, error handling, testing, deployment pipelines etc. are critical but take effort to implement properly for the cloud. Not fully addressing these can negatively affect grades.

Collaboration in teams can pose coordination and social challenges, especially if working virtually. Some students are not used to Agile methodologies and may struggle with tasks like estimating work, standups, managing dependencies and integrating each member’s work into a cohesive whole. Effective project management is needed.

Accessing cloud platform documentation and support resources varies greatly depending on the particular provider. Navigating and troubleshooting issues with an unfamiliar platform under time pressures is daunting. Important to leverage TAs, professors and user groups for help where possible.

Effective communication and establishing processes for managing expectations, scope, schedules and risks are important for student success. Iterative delivery, focusing on learning objectives over scope, and guidance from experienced faculty are also crucial for overcoming these common challenges. With proper support and realistic goal-setting, cloud capstone projects can still serve as an excellent learning experience despite inherent difficulties. Regular course corrections and adapting to challenges are part of the learning experience too.

While cloud computing capstone projects present exciting learning opportunities for students, they also commonly involve substantial difficulties related to project scoping and management, infrastructure setup, architectural design tradeoffs, collaboration, documentation and accessing support resources – all within the constraints of strict deadlines. With experience, students can overcome many challenges through disciplined processes, effective communication, and support from faculty and cloud providers. But it requires realistic expectations and focusing on incremental progress rather than perfection. With a well-designed plan and openness to course corrections, cloud capstones can succeed despite facing hurdles that are typical for student projects tackling new technologies.