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Waikato University students on the hunt for programming projects

19 June 2012

Puffer fish app

Successful project: Waikato University student Daniel Loomb holds PUFF’D, the Apple app he and a team of Waikato students developed for Asthma Waikato.

Attention all businesses, not-for-profits and community organisations: are you looking for help in creating that killer app or web-based learning tool?

Computer science students at the University of Waikato are looking for real-world projects to hone their programming and project management skills.

Software engineering

The Department of Computer Science’s software engineering project is a three-month exercise for third-year students to work in groups to design and implement a medium-sized software project for a client.

Last year, students tackled a range of projects including a program to help preschoolers learn the alphabet, a website to link volunteers with community projects, a gesture recognition program for helping people learn sign language, a visitor iPhone app for the Maungatautari Ecological Island Trust, and a program to better display scientific data. 

The students worked closely with their clients to develop requirements and a specification for the project, design the system structure and user interface, and carry out documentation, implementation and maintenance.

Great success

Their clients ranged from a Tauranga-based company monitoring media sentiment to Asthma Waikato.

Vicki Blundell of Asthma Waikato was so impressed with last year’s project that she’s coming back for more.

“The Waikato students developed an iPad game using Asthma Waikato’s Sailor the Pufferfish mascot which aimed to teach kids how best to manage their asthma,” she says. “It’s been a great success, and we now have a couple of other projects we’d like to develop with students this year.”

“We found the students really professional in their approach.  They were full of ideas and they provided our Sailor the pufferfish program with a very cool, up to date way to engage with kids.  When we tell people that Sailor has his own iPad ap, they are very impressed.  When we tell them it was free, they are stunned!” 

Opportunity

Dr David Streader, who’ll be supervising this year’s projects over the course of the next semester, says it’s a great opportunity for organisations to get some free help from senior students.

“Our students are in their final year of our computer science degree, so by now they’ve got all the programming skills they need. For them, it’s an opportunity to learn how to plan and deliver a project within budget and on time - it’s real world skills like these that make our grads so sought after in the IT sector.”


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