Computer productivity initiative: Past, present, and future
The Computer Productivity Initiative (CPI) is a jointly funded effort by Old Dominion University and the National Science Foundation to address some shortcomings of the traditional CS curriculum. In CPI students apply CS knowledge in the context of a broad range of issues affecting the productive employment of CS technology. The CPI program is also directed towards the development of career skills including group interaction, technical communications, and interviewing as well as domain analysis. This paper discusses the lessons learned from the two year effort to implement this new program. These include: using an external board of industry executives for the final review of senior-level course projects is highly motivating and effective; students take longer than expected to gain competence but then become more competent than expected; a relatively small class size is necessary to implement a “learn by doing” approach; building a prototype to demonstrate concept and assess risks is very effective but can be time consuming; evaluation of a proposed implementation is difficult in the absence of a “real” customer; a better method of reality checks is needed; tight schedules are difficult to fit into traditional semester boundaries; students are enthusiastic about the program and gain confidence in their ability to enter their careers; the level of effort is comparable to that in project oriented courses for both students and instructors; CPI graduates report increased responsibilities and pay as compared to their counterparts.
Overall, we have found that the CPI program is an effective means of involving outside employers with the department, and provides our students a competitive edge in the market place. Starting Fall 1994, CPI will become part of our CS core.
KeywordsProject Topic Project Management Software Previous Semester Computer Support Collaborative Work British Computer Society
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