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Businesses And Education Cooperation Through Classroom Projects

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2004 Annual Conference


Salt Lake City, Utah

Publication Date

June 20, 2004

Start Date

June 20, 2004

End Date

June 23, 2004



Conference Session

Experience with Experiential Learning

Page Count


Page Numbers

9.279.1 - 9.279.6



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Paper Authors

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Les Kinsler

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Thomas Mertz

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Troy Harding

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NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

Session #2249

Business and Education Cooperation through Classroom Projects Troy Harding, Les Kinsler, Pedro Leite, and Thomas Mertz

Engineering Technology Department Computer Systems Technology Kansas State University – Salina


This paper describes the incorporation of projects supplied by local businesses/industries into computer software courses in an attempt to provide students with an opportunity to develop collaborative problem solving skills, teamwork, professional responsibility, and most importantly an exposure to design and development situations very difficult to reproduce from textbook projects. Our paper describes the projects, discusses implementation problems, assessment procedures, students’ attitude toward the experience, and instructors’ reflections on the process.


Advisory board members, prospective employers, and industrial partners have been expressing the desire to hire computer systems technology graduates that are well rounded in all aspects of our profession. Graduates should possess strong conceptual and practical knowledge as well as be able to work collaboratively at all levels of software development: from problem solving to design, from development to implementation and maintenance. Such an obvious request is not easily implemented.

In an attempt to implement this request, the authors have experimented with giving real-world projects in two capstone courses. A problem of nomenclature arises as there is no standard term for these types of projects. We use the term real-world project to mean one that is inspired and sponsored by an actual business or industry client. The capstone courses in which the projects were completed are for advanced students and they focus solely on students designing and implementing a large project using development teams.

Several studies have been conducted on the benefits, difficulties, and challenges of implementing real-world projects1,2,3. There are also issues related to managing projects in which clients have direct input in the process4,5 and its assessment6.

Bruner’s writings on constructivism7,8 provide the practical framework for using real-world projects to improve learning and develop useful professional skills: (a) students have a predisposition toward learning; (b) instruction should be designed to fill in the gaps; and (c) instruction should to take advantage of students’ experiences and previous knowledge. Proceedings of the 2004 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright © 2004, American Society for Engineering Education

Kinsler, L., & Mertz, T., & Harding, T. (2004, June), Businesses And Education Cooperation Through Classroom Projects Paper presented at 2004 Annual Conference, Salt Lake City, Utah. 10.18260/1-2--13930

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