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Rapid Development of Software Solutions to Enhance Course Infrastructure and the Educational Experience of Student Developers

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2021 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access


Virtual Conference

Publication Date

July 26, 2021

Start Date

July 26, 2021

End Date

July 19, 2022

Conference Session

Computing and Information Technology Division Poster Session

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Computing and Information Technology

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Paper Authors


Geraghty Anne Ellis Georgia Institute of Technology

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Geraghty Anne Ellis graduated from Georgia Institute of Technology with an undergraduate degree in Mechanical Engineering in 2020. She has six years of experience in solutions architecture and rapid application development platforms, with focus on Infinite Blue Platform and Salesforce. Geraghty Anne specializes in designing automation solutions in engineering and educational environments.

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Nicholas Mulka Georgia Institute of Technology

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Nicholas Mulka earned his B.S. in mechanical engineering at the Georgia Institute of Technology, and is working towards his M.S. in mechanical engineering at the same university. His focus is on design related to additive manufacturing and robotics. He currently works as the teaching assistant for the mechanical engineering and interdisciplinary capstone design courses, using the experience he gained as a student at GT to advise others and help create online platforms to enhance the course delivery.

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Amit Shashikant Jariwala Georgia Institute of Technology Orcid 16x16

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Dr. Amit Jariwala is the Director of Design & Innovation for the School of Mechanical Engineering at Georgia Tech. He graduated with a Bachelor of Engineering in Production Engineering from the University of Mumbai, India, with honors in 2005. He received a Master of Technology degree in Mechanical Engineering in 2007 from IIT Bombay, India. He was awarded a Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering from Georgia Tech in 2013, with minors in Entrepreneurship. At Georgia Tech, he is responsible for enhancing corporate support for design courses, managing design and fabrication/prototyping facilities, coordinating the design competitions/expo, and teaching design courses, with a strong focus on creating and enabling multidisciplinary educational experiences. His research interests are in makerspaces, evidence-based design education, and advanced additive manufacturing processes.

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The importance of software and information technology tools in education is growing significantly. Software applications utilized to automate business processes, boost team collaboration, and improve data visibility require extensive development time, numerous skilled developers with years of coding experience, and a significant amount of capital. Rapid application development (RAD) methodologies offer solutions to several shortcomings of traditional software development processes. They provide a unique experiential opportunity to citizen developers interested in solving industry-scale problems that traditionally require formal education in Computer Science (CS) and/or Information Technology, along with several years of professional experience. It is hypothesized that leveraging RAD benefits key stakeholders in education. This paper presents a brief literature review to de-mystify the industry before delving into a case study utilizing RAD in an educational environment. This study outlines and analyzes an eight year-long case study on the development lifecycle of a capstone design management software application. This application was first implemented using traditional application development (TRAD) by a team of IT-centric undergraduates and graduates. It was later redesigned and deployed in a low-code, public cloud environment by both Engineering and CS undergraduates. This paper compares and contrasts the development lifecycles of the TRAD and RAD renditions of the two capstone design solutions. Further analysis illustrates that leveraging RAD can supplement the student developers’ educational experience and provide faculty with greater flexibility and control of course delivery and collaboration tools. Holistic evaluations of both development methods in an educational setting are described in detail. Faculty and administrators can utilize these results to evaluate the viability of RAD methodologies for their needs before making a long-term investment in a software platform.

Ellis, G. A., & Mulka, N., & Jariwala, A. S. (2021, July), Rapid Development of Software Solutions to Enhance Course Infrastructure and the Educational Experience of Student Developers Paper presented at 2021 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access, Virtual Conference.

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