The I-4-I sequence (IT 300/380/480) requires teams of students to function as project development teams applying IT solutions to opportunities and problems in businesses and other organizations. Over the course of three semesters, students will be exposed to many aspects of systems analysis, design, development, and implementation, as well as project management tools and techniques. Students assume different roles in the projects as they progress including developer, designer, project manager, and tester/quality controller. As a student moves through the course sequence, they might move from roles in project implementation to roles in project planning and management to roles in selecting from among alternative projects.
"These are real projects with real deadlines," says Loren Rhodes, Professor of Information Technology and Chair of Juniata's Information Technology program. While much of the project work is done on campus, an important part of the course is the exposure students get to the inner workings of organizations and to the people working within those organizations.The students must develop an understanding of the organization as well as its use of technology, and then communicate effectively with the client.The best projects require students to communicate not only with the client's IT employees, but also with the IT users.
Project teams consist of two to four Juniata students of junior or senior standing working with a faculty advisor. Teams are made up of students at different stages (i.e. students from IT 300, IT 380, and IT 480). Experienced upperclassmen, under close faculty supervision, function as project managers, ensuring that projects meet deadlines, budget targets, and quality standards. Students should plan to spend 15-20 hours per week on course and project related activities.
Students will be required to learn in a just-in-time mode as part of this real-world experience. On-demand resources will allow the project team members ready access to educational materials in order to learn about a new technology needed for a particular project and to research solutions in a time efficient manner.
Ideally, students will have the opportunity to work on projects that transcend traditional semesters. These required courses would run in sequence so that teams can continuously develop their project throughout the academic year and beyond. It is hoped that many team members will continue work on their projects or on other projects with their partnering organizations as full-time paid interns during the summer months.
Weekly project status meetings will be held with the faculty advisor and weekly project updates will be provided to the partnering organizations. The course will conclude with a presentation of the current status of the project. Each team member will also submit a written reflection/evaluation of the experience to the faculty advisor at the end of the course.