Service Learning Practicum: Vision

How best can a computer scientist contribute to the community? This is the question that drives the existence of the Service Learning Practicum (SLP) in the Computer Science Department at the University of Virginia. The purpose of the SLP is two-fold:

  1. To give students experience with the development of large software projects. This is something that is taught in many courses, but due to the nature of collegiate classes (and the necessity for grades!), few courses allow for the development of large projects in large groups. In the SLP, students work in groups of 6 along with a mentor. The students develop a project in the same manner as a professional development company. All the skills, knowledge, and concepts that they learned in their various classes can be put to use, while learning aspects of teamwork, customer interaction, and management skills.

  2. Developing a project with no purpose is not only boring for all involved, but also a waste of everybody's time. This begets the second purpose of the SLP: to write quality software for nonprofits in our community. This allows the students to interact with a real customer, developing real software with a real purpose. Furthermore, the software will have a real and positive impact on our community.

The SLP has run continuously since the spring of 2012, and information on the previous projects can be found here. For the current 2014-2015 academic year, there are 103 students working on 15 different projects.

 

Get involved!

Are you interested in becoming involved with the service learning practicum? There are a number of different roles, depending on who you are.

Students would enroll in CS 4970 (Capstone Practicum I) in the fall, and CS 4971 (Capstone Practicum II) in the spring. Note that, because they are year-long projects, CS 4970 is a STRICT pre-requisite for CS 4971. As this is now one of the two ways to complete the new BS CS capstone requirement (see here for more details on the capstone requirement), all rising 4th year BS CS majors will be allowed to enroll. All others (BS CS majors below their 4th year, as well as BA CS and BS CpE majors) will be allowed in by instructor permission if there is enough room and enough projects. For more information, see the SLP: students page.

Nonprofits are who we develop the software for. If you are a nonprofit in the local area, and have a need for some quality software, please see the SLP: nonprofits page.

 

Current projects

In the current 2014-2015 academic year, there are 103 students working on 15 projects. Detailed descriptions of the projects can be found here.

  1. Alzheimer's Association, Central & Wetsern Virginia Chapter: a system to manage volunteer data and provide a web portal for volunteers. read more...
  2. The Arbor Charlottesville: a system to manage the care and recovery of their clients; no identifiable information about the clients will be entered into the system. read more...
  3. Charlottesville-Albemarle Rescue Squad: a system to manage shift scheduling for volunteer EMS workers. read more...
  4. Charlottesville Municipal Band: a system to manage their donations and membership lists. read more...
  5. Hope's Legacy: a system that combines horse management (horse care, locations, etc.) with volunteer management (scheduling, hours worked, etc.). read more...
  6. Innisfree Village: a system to help manage the scheduling of appointments for their residents. read more...
  7. JAUNT: A real-time system to allow clients to track the busses and view their reservations. read more...
  8. Loaves and Fishes of Charlottesville: a system to help manage the scheduling of their volunteers for shifts. read more...
  9. Madison House: a scheduling system that allows the program leaders to schedule their hundreds of volunteers to various volunteer sites and shifts based on scheduling criteria. read more...
  10. Service Dogs of VA: a system to manage the training of the dogs, who have multiple daily training reports as well as weekly training evaluations. read more...
  11. The Haven: a web portal for volunteers which will primarily allow for shift scheduling, among other features. read more...
  12. The Shelter for Help in Emergency: a web portal that allows for volunteer management. read more...
  13. Thomas Jefferson Adult and Career Education: a online GED and ESL quiz site that allows for customizable preparation quizzes. read more...
  14. Wintergreen Adaptive Sports: a system to manage the scheduling of the instructors and studetns who participate in the program read more...
  15. WTJU 91.1 FM: a system to allow DJs to create play lists from their music catalog, and play that music on air. read more...

 

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