Innovations for Industry (I4I) represents a capstone experience for third and fourth year Information Technology (IT) bachelor degree students. This unique four course sequence provides students with project management techniques, and opportunities for significant group work on developing and implementing technology solutions in industries. Computer Science students are also required to do at least 4 credits of I4I and often go on to get more industry experience from this unique blending of academics and industry.
As students dealing with the daily stresses classes, you may not often realize what you are getting out of your courses. I4I provides you with many essential skills that you will need to succeed after college. Many former students cite I4I as the reason they got their first job offers and in hindsight realize how important real life experiences like these are for their careers.
The outcomes of I4I can be divided into three distinct categories:
At the end of I4I each student should…
- be able to translate a vision into tangible tasks that achieve the desired results
- be able to gather information and use it effectively to identify the problem and the solution
- exhibit confidence and competence in their abilities to proactively identify problems, communicate problems, and solutions to leadership.
At the end of I4I each student should …
- understand the dynamics of working in a team
- inspire and motivate full participation in each team member
- understand the issues of accountability of roles: assignments and responsibility in teams
- have experience with monitoring and tracking tasks
- have negotiation and conflict resolution skills
- be able to use current management tools and methodology
- be able to apply classroom theory and methodologies to ongoing IT projects
- gain the knowledge of tools and methodologies for identifying and dealing with risk management issues
- gain experience with fundamentals of task management
- gain experience with communication channels involved in project management - ability to communicate with all parties involved
- listen to discover, and write effectively about, the current state of the project and identify current processes of information flow (shared and utilized) and how technology would impact the information flow
At the end of I4I each student should …
- be able to relay information to all levels of the organization
- be able to demonstrate technical writing
- be able to accomplish active listening
- be able to use the language appropriate to audience/client
- be able to provide user support
- be able to develop training material
- be able to convey that information
- gain general understanding that communication is central to all IT work
As students in I4I, you will be working on REAL projects for REAL clients. Your work must demonstrate the high level of commitment that your project, your client, your team, and you yourself deserve.
Students are required to:
- serve in their role(s) on the team - roles may include project lead, developer, designer, quality control, documentation, and others
- learn new technologies "on the fly" as needed
- communicate effectively within the teams, with clients, and with faculty and other teams in weekly project update meetings
- deliver 2 major presentations per semester
- learn to handle the successes and failures that come with real world projects
As in the real world, you are not alone; you have your team, your client mentors, and the support of all of the faculty in the department. Get what you need to succeed as you prepare to graduate from Juniata.
The I4I sequence includes 12 credits spread over 3 semesters. Students typically take the first 4 credits of the course during their junior year and the final 8 credits during the fall and spring of their senior year.
For each I4I project, students group themselves into teams consisting of 3 to 5 students with one student functioning as the project leader. The project leader is typically a student in his or her third semester of the course. Teams are made up of students at all levels of experience in I4I.
The first 4 credits in the sequence is split into two different courses: 3 credits of project management (IT 307) and 1 credit of co-requisite project experience (IT 308), although the two courses together are perceived as a single course. Students in IT307/308 are assigned to a project team, but have some specific responsibilities for the project. These students meet once or twice a week as a class with a faculty member to formally study project management techniques, so a significant portion of the project management class involves applying project management techniques to the projects to which the students are assigned. This requires the students to create and maintain the appropriate project management documents that comprise the project management plan.
The second course in the I4I sequence, IT 380, is typically taken in the first semester of the senior year. This 4 credit course is dedicated to executing field projects under the direction of client and faculty mentors. Students may assume different roles on a project and roles may shift as the project needs change. Innovations for Industry II students are expected to have a high degree of participation in the project and are responsible for expanding their experiences and skill sets from the previous semester. The course requires that students produce professional quality work for the actual clients and is the first real experience in being held accountable for this level of work.
The final course in the sequence, Innovations for Industry III, IT 480, is typically taken in the last semester of the senior year. The students’ experiences in IT 480 are very similar to their experiences in IT 380 with different projects to provide the opportunity to expand skills and experiences in other settings and for other clients. At least the same maturity level and responsibility, if not more, are required in IT 480. At this point most students are fulfilling the role of either project manager or technical lead in a project.
All three I4I courses begin with an ambitious schedule to jump start the projects. The courses all meet together on Wednesday and Friday afternoons. The IT 380/480 students spend time on the first day of the course with client resumes and project outlines from the clients to organize the project teams. On the second day there is a formalized project kick-off meeting for students, clients and department faculty. The clients are invited to come to campus and present their projects to the students and faculty. After all project presentations, the clients meet with their assigned team during which they receive resumes from the team members, discuss initial details about the project, field questions, and plan their next meeting which is held at the client site if possible.
From there, except for one formal presentation on campus, every Wednesday is available for the students to travel to client sites or to meet clients through electronic conferencing. There are project update meetings every Friday, lasting about 30 minutes, where the supervising faculty members hear updates from the teams on the project status. After the updates, the remaining time is used for the IT307 Project Management class to meet.
There are two formal presentations that the students give to the class and department faculty. One before the semester midterm and one near the end of the semester. These presentations are designed to be complete project updates requiring formal presentation techniques. The first presentation is typically scheduled on a Wednesday, the second on a Friday. The second presentation additionally includes members of our IT advisory board as well as client representatives.