By Katie Chappell. Getting hands-on project experience is critical for most students in any field. At UC Irvine, in the Donald Bren School of Information and Computer Science, all ICS majors are required to take a capstone course so they have the opportunity to stretch themselves beyond classroom learning, while benefitting local non-profits, corporations, and even UCI.
The projects range from websites and mobile apps, to non-coding projects, like analyzing a technology need or creating a list of requirements for a new system. “Often our students work with a group that is using technology in a clunky way,” said Emily Navarro, an ICS faculty member who teaches capstone courses. “They work to modernize, secure, and streamline the technology – or they build something new.”
A recent capstone project was conducted in partnership with the Office of Information Technology at UCI (OIT). It provided students with the chance to build a mobile app for an annual conference for the division of Student Affairs . A team of four students with diverse skillsets – including user experience, programming, and marketing – set to work in winter 2019. And in time for the spring conference, they delivered an app that included a customizable schedule module with topic tracks, along with maps and FAQs.
The partnership was beneficial and engaging to the Student Affairs IT team too. “The students brought a lot of energy – they were interested and engaged in the mobile app project,” said
Wayne Fields, assistant director of Student Affairs IT. “Throughout the process, they took all of our notes to heart and delivered a great final project.”
ICS students have worked on other projects with OIT, including creating requirements for a system that supports faculty research, and developing a prototype with high fidelity mockups. “Working with OIT and working on something that the actual population at UCI uses is something that students find attractive,” said Navarro. “We hope to have even more projects with OIT in the future.”
Katie Chappell is manager, Communications and Training, Office of Information Technology, UC Irvine.