Software Contest Gives Computer Science Majors Real Client Experience


By NICOLE POTTINGER – STAFF WRITER

A new kind of competition is beginning within the Computer Science department—a software development contest. The contest itself will consist of submitted propsals from facutly and staff for software they would like to see developed.From there, students will vote on the submissions and, in a Software Engineering class taught in the spring, they will develop a handful of the applications.

While the idea itself is not a unique one, Centre has never held a software design contest like this on its campus. For years, the Software Engineering class learned to design software, but this contest ensures they will have access to a real “client.”

This contest is due to the imagination of Assistant Professor of Computer Science Dr. Dave Toth.

Rather than having himself or a colleague create a fake software proposal, Dr. Toth opted to recruit his fellow staff and faculty members to generate real software proposals that could be developed and then implemented in the classrooms.

Dr. Toth already received a handful of proposals, and expects more in the coming weeks. He believes that having real clients will, “give [students] practical experience in software development.”

Dr. Toth stressed the importance of communication between the client and the software developer and that these interactions will let them “adapt to new standards” as the client wishes and needs change with the project.

Assistant Professor of Classics Dr. Danielle La Londe has already submitted her software proposal. Her proposal is focused around the creation of an online Latin workbook program, similar to those already being implemented in the French and Spanish classes. Latin, however, does not have comparable software.

The program would allow Latin students to conjugate verbs, drill vocabulary, and take self-grading quizzes.

Dr. La Londe believes that this program could give students immediate feedback on their work and allow them to fix their own mistakes, which could even free up class time.

Senior Computer Science major Stefan Kowal is planning on taking the Software Engineering class during the spring semester. He believes that having access to a real client is extremely beneficial as a student software developer.

He “wants to have communication with the person who knows what they want out of [the program],” and Dr. Toth’s plan for the class allows students to have just that.

He stresses that communication is extremely important in software development.

“Whenever you’re given the opportunity to develop software for interdepartmental reasons, you can contribute something which prepares you for after college,” Kowal said. According to Dr. Toth, up to nine of these chosen proposals will be given grants for the students to develop the software proposed by the faculty and staff.

Final submissions will be chosen later in the fall and students will begin their work at the start of their spring semester.


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