Each year, Computer Information Systems (CIS) faculty members work with local nonprofit agencies to identify projects that students can tackle in one semester as part of the senior projects course. The class caps off the students’ experience in the CIS program and offers a chance to apply skills learned in class to a problem or challenge faced by a local nonprofit.
Students work in teams that include a project leader, one or two developers and business analysts who serve as communications liaisons between the team and the client.
Senior CIS major Ryan Token serves as a project leader this semester for a group working with the Tulsa Fire Department. A team from last spring’s class began work on an app that streamlines the collection of information and tracking of referrals to care providers following an emergency response call. Token’s group will complete the project, which involves simplifying the user interface and the reporting process. Since much of the work previously was done by hand, the app will save time for first responders and allow for improved information tracking.
“Working on the senior projects brings class and internship experiences together,” says Token. “Your team is working on a real software project for something a client is actually going to use. It’s been a good look into real life.”
“It’s been a very interesting and educational process so far,” he says. “You have basic project milestones to keep you on track, but you also have a lot of control over how fast or slow you go.”
The projects course not only benefits CIS students, but also the nonprofit clients who often lack funding for this type of work. “The value to the client is huge,” Token explains. “For us to come in and do this project for free is a real plus for them and something special we do here at the university.”
Other organizations that have benefited from the partnership include the Tulsa Area United Way, Assistance League of Tulsa, Crosstown Learning Center, Youth Services of Tulsa and Youth Services of Creek County.
To learn more about TU’s CIS program, visit utulsa.edu/cis.