CSS 198 is very flexible. Because this course won't count as a CSS required course, if I am your advisor, I'm fairly open as to what you do. Note that I will only be your advisor for CREDIT/NO CREDIT (CR/NC) grading as it is difficult to assign a grade in this scenario.
Pick a topic on computing that you would like to learn about and then find at least three references on it (not all web). Include those on the contract form. The topic can be any computing topic that won't be covered in a course. The main point is for you to learn something and enjoy it. CSS 198 doesn't count towards CSS required credits for graduation so it is strictly an opportunity for you to be able to learn something interesting and useful. Students research lots of different topics, for example:
So, how much work should it be? Think in terms of the CSS classes you take. If you take one credit, that is equivalent to two weeks of work in a typical 5-credit CSS class. That would be 8 hours of class time plus outside of class work time of 20-30 hours, which is a total of 28-38 hours worth of work. If you take two credits, then it is 56-76 hours of work. Roughly.
The project is due at the end of finals week:
a research paper or implementation.
The paper requirements are for a good research paper.
The length is flexible depending on the material, although it would be
at least five pages (for one or two credits) and would include references.
If it is an implementation, you will give me code with some explanation.
In other words, deliverables are dependent on the topic.
If you'd rather do it in pieces, that is fine, report progress along the way.
Email me your work, unless we have made other arrangements or I set up a
catalyst turn in (in which case I'll let you know).
Submit your CSS 198 materials:   Catalyst dropbox for summer 2012   (Due August 31, 5pm)
Filling out the form and Registering
Fill out the CSS 198 form from the CSS website
CSS Advising Forms
and email it to me. When I approve, I'll email you and send the codes needed to add the course. Next time you are on campus, bring a signed hardcopy to my office. (Slide it under my door if I am not there.)