Industry Connect Initiative Experience Report: Undergraduate Computer Science Courses
Bonnie Achee, Ghassan Alkadi, Matthew McNulty
Southeastern Louisiana University is a medium sized university located in Hammond, Louisiana with approximately 14,000 students and ranks 59th best affordable Information Technology Program in the United States. Over the course of many years, what is now known as the “Industry Connect Initiative” (ICI) has been developed. The ICI is a four-pronged approach to connect students to real-world-ready skills and relevant topics. The four prongs of the ICI are the industry advisory board (IAB), internship program, distinguished lecturer series (DLS), and real-world curriculum opportunities (a.k.a. “Project classes”). In addition to the ICI, support from the university’s Career Services Department and Workforce Talent Initiative completes the suite of resources resulting in graduates being highly sought after for employment.
While numerous implementations of real-world ready courses and project courses are widely available, the focus is only on the “capstone” or “major project”. Even if the capstone course is multi-semester, this approach is limited as the real-world application occurs only at the end of the degree program. This paper details the ICI curriculum opportunity, a unique approach that incorporates these real-world experiences throughout a student’s educational experience at a variety of difficulty levels, beginning in the third semester and culminating in the final semester in the Capstone course.