Truth and Reality as I know it to be

in May 2015, I was asked by an advance computer science student to join their Student Innovation Project (SIP).

A Student Innovation Project is basically the university’s version of a required capstone project completed for undergraduate degrees. The goal is to output some extent of a functional prototype, demo it, showcase it, and present it to a judging panel for evaluation. Student(s) must dress formal, and defend the SIP and answer any questions. A concept or proof document is constructed, a poster, a 1 minute video (and a 5 minute video for online students). The first required class gets students thinking about possible projects, what they can do with their skills/knowledge and resource along with thinking about how to accomplish SPRINT milestones using an Agile SCRUM approach.

If the student chooses not to use Agile SCRUM, and uses their own approach or a different one, that is okay and the student(s) are not pressed on the that aspect. The student(s) work on the SIP on their own time ranging from 4 months – 2 year periods, and reach out to professors when the need arises. The student recruits other students and builds a team. The logistics, management of the project, the frameworks, methods, and objectives are all things the student(s) and/or team figures out. Some projects are massive and large-scale to the point that the team changes from semester to semester. Like a game project that has traction will start with a base team, if the students graduate or leave then they are replaced, and the next team continues working together for following semesters and presents the new version.

Recruiting dedicated, self-motivated and skilled team members is a challenge; the majority of students tend to flock to flashy and glamorous projects. The projects filling a need/purpose which are not purely for entertainment find recruiting extremely difficult. I was not successful in recruiting students for my first or second idea for a SIP; I ended up joining another student’s SIP since completion of a SIP is necessary for graduating.

A second required class is taken around the time the student graduates and is ready to present the functional concept prototype. The class also has students prepare a portfolio. I am not expected to take this class for 6 more months when it will be the final semester. Because I worked on the SIP and the two other students involved presented together as a team, to my understanding all I need to do is submit the files for the poster, video, and concept/proof when I do take the class.

How exciting to be done with the SIP requirement! The SIP will be further developed, however the university will not be aware of it in order to avoid presenting the new version of the same project to be presented, evaluated, and defended yet again.

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