Why do mails, which are sent from a private address, not get an answer?

In the past spam filter among other things caused problems concerning private E-Mail-Addresses, which is why we would like to communicate with students via their official E-Mail-Address of the university. Only thus ensures that all of the mails will be reliably and as far as possible replied.

The corresponded E-Mail-Address is allocated by ZiM.

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May I write my thesis at the Department of Media and Computer Science?

Of course, it is possible to write a Bachelor’s or Master’s or thesis at the Department of Media and Computer Science. The successful attendance of at least one lecture of our faculty is the requirement for the allocation of a topic.

Please read the "Request on Supervision"-page for more information. 

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Presentations and papers


What do I need to consider on writing a paper?

By writing a report or paper the same guidelines as those of theses have to be considered. The amount of the paper is suited to the requirements of the respective lecture.

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What does a good presentation require and how can I optimize my presentation?

Above all excellent presentations are well-prepared presentations, which are fluently and comprehensibly performed. Besides an attractive and clear design of your presentation slides, you should pay attention to your presentation style.
It is advisable to practice the presentation before the target date with your family or friends to resolve unanswered questions or possible inconsistencies. Furthermore, it is possible to check if you really understood all of the relevant aspects of your topic.

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How may I do (scientific) research on literature?

For the research of scientific texts you can use special search engines such as CiteSeer, online libraries such as ACM or Springer (both of them are exposable with the intranet of the university resp. in the university library) and also the catalogue of the University of Duisburg-Essen.
The internet portal GamaSutra and the online library of DiGRA furnish first information for content concerning digital games.
For the record: Wikipedia can be used to get a first read into the topic, but it does not represent a scientific source for your work. Therefore Wikipedia should never be used as a basis for your thesis, paper or your presentation.

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What counts as plagiarism and how do you deal with it?

Plagiarism means that you use foreign sources for your work without referencing to it, in other words you make use of intellectual property of others and pass it off as your own work.
If suspicion of plagiarism within a thesis or paper confirms, the responsible examination board will be informed and the work possibly will be graded with 5,0 (which means failed).
Further information on the subject of plagiarism can be found on the internet portal of HWT Berlin.

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Hints on writing academic papers

A number of typical difficulties and mistakes come along with writing of theses. These mistakes are described in this document to support you with your own work.
The expectations and requirements of Bachelor’s and Master’s theses vary widely; from domain to domain as well as among the college professors of the same subject area. The comments and recommendations, which are presented in this document, just apply to theses, which are written at the Department of Media and Computer Science and Entertainment Computing; they only pertain partly (if indeed) for other institutions. For students it is always advisable to familiarize yourself with the expectations of your supervisor.

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What is a thesis?

Theses bear close relation to the addressed topic and refer to the reached results. They are not pure experience reports (“first I did… and then…; then the supervisor said and therefore I did…”). Bachelor’s theses are academic papers, even if they solve an engineering problem; in other words, one deals with a topic, searches for literature, compares and evaluates similar approaches.

As a consequence theses have got a list of literature, which should not only contain websites and manuals, but also scientific original literature such as journal articles (e.g. IEEE or ACM-journals) and conference papers. Partially one does a placement in research departments of companies; in this case the topic of the internship is usually chosen so that this scientific analysis is already part of the placement. If the topic of the internship is more to expand an existing Tool XYZ by some features A, B, C, you should discuss and search on at least one partial aspect of the practical work in detail.

The university supervisor of a thesis helps at it; feel free to speak to him/her and allow him/her to be your mentor! Experience has shown that most of the worst theses are the ones, which were submitted without any consultation of the supervisor. For most of the students the Bachelor’s thesis is the first academic work – which means that the necessity of substantial help is the normal case rather than the exception. Admittedly scientific natural talents do exist – but they are extremely rare. Letting yourself be mentored also means arranging enough time for iterations – because three days before the end date even the best supervision contributes nothing much.

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How many pages must a thesis include?

As often as this question is asked, as difficult is its answer. Depending on the margin and the font, one page contains 300 to 600 words. In this respect a number of pages is not expressive. Most of the examination regulations of the respective university courses state a number of characters, which give an approximated information about the scope of the thesis. On looking through drafts it becomes obvious that on the one hand some paragraphs are unnecessarily long and on the other hand some paragraphs come off too short. What you read in teaching books should be cited, but not reflected at great length, let alone copied. For trainees the corporate or product history is for sure very interesting; in the thesis this topic – if at all – should be covered very short, unless it bears relation to the task. You should focus on a detailed description of your own work. It takes not only the implementation, but above all conceptual preliminary considerations, design decisions etc. What has been digested? Which alternatives have been discussed? Why have they been discarded? Retrospectively - how has the choice to be measured?

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What should be included in the thesis?

Theses always contain structured text, pictures and references. The text should be written precisely scientific; sloppy colloquial phrases are misplaced. Furthermore, a Bachelor’s thesis can gain from the following components: formal notations, which describe a scheme of data structures (UML-charts, Entity-Relationship-Models, formal descriptions of the syntax of a self-developed language), pseudo code descriptions of algorithms (these are better than language-dependent extracts of source code). Tables, which summarize comparing valuations and enumerations, e.g. of requirements, give more structure to the text. Especially for theses in the field of Entertainment Computing, expressive graphics are very important; they do not only illustrate some aspects, but also serve the structure of the text. Examples of source code can be used as well; but they should be short, informative and representative. If you want to present examples of source code of some length, you should place them in the appendix.

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A typical first structure

The first step with writing a seminar paper or thesis is the creation of a structure, which helps to collect your thoughts and to get an overview on content and setup of the work. The first structure often serves the base of a conversation with the supervisor.

First structures often are built as follows:

1 introduction (2 pages)
2 fundamentals (15 pages)
  2.1 fundamentals
  2.2 more fundamentals
  2.3 still more fundamentals
3 own contribution (12 pages)
  3.1 introduction
  3.2 algorithm
    3.2.1 many details
    3.2.2 more details
    3.2.3 still more details
4 implementation (20 pages)
  4.1 details
  4.2 more details
  4.3 still more details
    4.3.1 details on details
    4.3.2 details on details
    4.3.3 details on details
5 experiments (5 pages)
6 summary (2 pages)

The differences of the intended scope and the level of detail of the single chapters and paragraphs reveal the varying importance of those for the supervisors. This importance comes off inconvenient in this example. Thus introduction and summary take up little space (each only two pages) and do not have subsections, while the technical chapters three and four have got a high depth of breakdown and take up much more place (12 resp. 20 pages).

This asymmetry concerning the depth of structure is not only unattractive; a balanced structure would be desirable, e.g. two stages in all chapters, with an argumentative common thread, which runs through all chapters. The absence of a partition of the chapters 1, 5 and 6 leads to assume that these were not considered sufficiently. Especially the missing structure of chapter 5 suggests the assumption that the writer has no concrete idea which exceptions he/she has got and which goals should be achieved.

The allocation of the planned number of pages reveals a common problem with seminar papers and theses: Too much focus on technical details than on explanation and comments. Introduction and summary only get a few pages, while chapter 4 overflows, although details are virtually the most unimportant part of it all. They only get important when it comes to presenting your own specific performance or innovations. As compared to other chapters, they are written much easier and therefore they do not need so much planning.


A better structure

A more favorable structure could look as follows:

1 introduction (8 pages)
  1.1 motivation
  1.2 task
  1.3 determining factors
  1.4 goals
2 relevant fundamentals (10 pages)
  2.1 necessary fundamentals/reference to own work
  2.2 own formalisms
3 task & demand analysis (6-8 pages)
  3.1 goal setting
  3.2 description
  3.3 analysis
4 execution of the project/implementation (4 pages + 6 pages if chapter 5 is not necessary)
  4.1 assumptions and decisions
  4.2 details of implementation
p.r.n. chapter 5: experimental verification, results, examples for solutions (6 pages)
6 conclusions (8 pages)
  6.1 summary – what is done?
  6.2 critical reflection – Are the set goals achieved and how is the way there evaluated?
  6.3 conclusion – How should the whole work be evaluated?
  6.4 prospects
  6.5 personal statements
A list of literature
B examples of source code
C more relevant material: questionnaire, statistics, pictures etc.
Declaration of Originality

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What distinguishes a Bachelor’s thesis from a Master’s or diploma thesis?

Bachelor’s theses refer to a topic, whereby usually the point is not to make a novel scientific contribution. Therefore, originality in a Bachelor’s thesis has to be scored notably positive; missing originality should not be criticized. This is the essential difference from a Master’s thesis. Apart from that a Bachelor’s thesis roughly speaking is “a little Master’s thesis”; it also serves as preparation for the Master’s thesis. Usually it has got less scope and the research of similar work does not have to be as detailed. Often a Bachelor’s thesis has got less theoretical fundamentals. To take the Bachelor’s thesis as a final rehearsal for the Master’s thesis, is a great idea.

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How is a thesis scored?

Quality and the level of difficulty are essential criteria. To quality belongs the obviousness, if the author uses methods of computer science and other disciplines (such as the mentioned formal notations) successfully. A thesis, which only consist of prose text, is not "very good" most of the time. Usually a consultation with the supervisor is made to include the practical performance during the implementation. But primary the paper is scored and even an outstanding practical performance does not lead to a "very good" or "good" result, if the written part is bad.

Criteria for excellence:

  • Originality
  • English language – of course only with good quality
  • Very good implementation
  • Accurate performances, impeccable use of German or English language
  • Statements are referenced, not only allegations
  • Clear structure, appropriate language, argumentative common thread
  • Autonomous work – do not be unteachable but even do not only tell what the supervisor wants to hear
  • Good, expressive graphics
  • Stick to the timetable, slack times, appropriate communication of the process state during writing
  • Associated website with results and enclosed CD with source code, pdf of the work and all pictures and videos
  • Scientific work: verifiable statements, consistent quotations of credible sources, extensive and correct list of literature


Evitable Mistakes

  • Not thinking through to the end: “…is impossible” is bad, because it is an unfounded statement – better argue “…is impossible, because… a theoretical solution would integrate…, but…”
  • (mis)using your supervisor for proofreading
  • Orthographic mistakes, missing references, missing literature reference, pictures without reference to the text
  • Resistance to advice
  • Start too late, bad time management
  • Generic titles of chapters
  • Unscientific quotations: As a general rule all scientific publications, especially monographs and journal articles, are quotable. In some cases the “grey literature” is also possible. Unscientific sources of information (for example popular media, tabloids, private web sites) and reference work (Brockhaus, Wikipedia) do normally not count as quotable literature. Definitions of fundamental terms as a first step in the base chapter, are the only exception for the last point.

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Academic Code of Honor

It should be obvious, but always has to be repeated and emphasized: A thesis marks an individual work, which was made autonomously and is totally based on the sources of the list of literature.
Copy-and-Paste, duplication of other work or “purchase of services” concerning implementation not only insults the intelligence of the supervisor, but also represents an abuse of confidence, which cannot be tolerated in the least. Such plagiarism violates the intellectual property rights of others and leads to failing the topic. The case will also be reported to the examination board and could bring outreaching consequences.

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Jobs and Internships


How can I become student assistant at the Department of Media and Computer Science?

We usually get to know our prospective assistants in lectures, seminars or practical projects. Therefore it is definitely an advantage if you attended to courses of our department.
Especially a responsible-minded and independent way of working, the motivation to become familiar with new facts and circumstances and certainly interest in video games, are attributes you should bring with you. We sometimes publish job openings on our website – So it is worth to have a look at times!

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How do I get an internship in the game industry?

On the part of the department diverse contacts to the game industry do exist and we periodically receive information concerning open internships. Besides programming there is demand to trainees within the scope of Game Design and project management.
The successful attendance of at least one course of our faculty as well as a current duration of study of at least four semesters are requirements for the arrangement of an internship. Master’s students and main-study students of the terminating diploma-degree courses are referred preferentially.

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