Sponsored Senior Projects

The GVSU School of Computing is soliciting undergraduate software development projects from industry sponsors for its senior capstone course.  Senior computer science students enrolled in the capstone course will work in teams to develop software systems for sponsor companies. This course is intended to increase the professional readiness of soon-to-graduate computer science students. We request that companies interested in participating submit a short project proposal describing a software development project they are interested in sponsor. In order to increase the chances that a project submitted by your company will be selected, companies are welcome to submit more than one project proposal.

Student and client looking at iPad in Aeromed Helicopter.

A GVSU computing student consults with Aero Med Spectrum Health staff on an iPad app.

Why should your organization consider sponsoring a senior project?

There are a number of benefits to participating in the computer science capstone course as a project sponsor.  First and most important, by getting directly involved with the GVSU School of Computing and Information Systems, you help us better understand your organization’s needs with regard to the skills you look for in CS graduates.  This helps our faculty proactively refine and improve our overall CS curriculum and keep it relevant to the rapid changes that are taking place in the software industry.   A second benefit to your organization is the opportunity to “try out” soon-to-graduate computer science majors before making a longer-term commitment to hire them as employees.  Even if a company doesn’t eventually hire one or more students from an assigned capstone team, it gives companies an opportunity to evaluate first-hand the level of competence students who graduate from our programs typically achieve.  In addition, at the present time, given the heavy demand for computing skills, many of our computer science majors receive multiple job offers upon graduating.  The organizations who participate regular in our senior project course develop more mindshare among our students, and tend to have more success recruiting our students.   Finally, sponsoring a project is a good way to get that “pet” software project or rapid prototype you’ve been eagerly pushing for, but haven’t had the time or budget to make it happen.  In most cases in addition to the project fee, the only cost the sponsor company incurs is the time the company representative spends writing the original project description and meeting with students over the course of the semester.

What do sponsored senior projects typically look like?

  • The students who work on these projects are undergraduates majoring in computer science, typically in their senior year.
  • The faculty coordinating the course will assign project teams consisting of 3-5 students per project. As much as possible, students will be assigned to projects based on their specific skills and interests.
  • In order to ensure that the projects selected best serve the educational objectives of the course, the supervising faculty member(s) will screen the projects submitted by the sponsors in terms of relevance and scope.
  • Projects must involve implementing a functional software system. Project proposals that do not involve software development will not be selected.
  • Each student is expected to contribute approximately 150 hours of work on the project over the course of the semester. Projects must be adequately scoped for completion by the team within the semester it is assigned.
  • Companies submitting proposals must identify one of its employees to serve as its representative over the course of the semester. The company’s representative plays the dual role of customer and mentor to the student team. The student team will interface with the company representative to gather requirements for the product being developed.  As mentor and domain expert, the company representative provides regular feedback and domain expertise to the student team.  Given the mentorship role, it is important that the representative chosen by the company has prior software project experience as either a developer or manager.
  • It is expected that each team will meet regularly with its company representative throughout the semester. These meetings can be either face-to-face meetings or online / teleconference meetings. While meeting frequency is not specified, it is strongly recommended that these meetings take place on a biweekly basis at minimal.
  • During regular meetings the student team will report progress to the company representative, discuss any obstacles or issues that need to be resolved, and present what they intend to accomplish by the next scheduled meeting.
  • At the end of the semester each team will give a final presentation of their work, and deliver a final technical report and a snapshot of the software they have developed to the sponsor.
  • The sponsoring company is expected to cover all expenses for required hardware/software that the School of Computing and Information Systems does not already have on hand.
  • The sponsoring company should avoid submitting projects that are considered “mission critical” to its success.
  • Ideally, proposals submitted should not involve classified or confidential proprietary materials. However, all students will be asked to sign an intellectual property waiver and confidentially agreement that establishes the sponsor’s ownership of all code and intellectual property generated during the course of the project.
  • Each team will be establishing a shared git repository on github.com as the “home” for their project over the course of the semester. Sponsoring companies are welcome to establish a paid “private” repository (starts at $7/month) on github if they’d prefer to manage the project repository themselves.  An alternate approach is for the GVSU School of CIS to establish a private repository under its own organization account, and then transfer ownership to the sponsor or sponsor representative at the conclusion of the project..
  • Sponsors whose proposals are assigned a team will be asked to sign GVSU’s standard Field Affiliation Educational Agreement which basically describes the responsibilities of both GVSU and the sponsor over the course of the project.

How much does it cost to sponsor a senior project?

If your proposal is assigned a team, you will be billed a flat fee of $2,500 at the beginning of the semester.

How do I submit a project proposal for my organization?

To have your project proposal considered, simply fill out this PDF form, save it, and email it to us.  Proposals need not be long and detailed.  Our goal is to make the proposal process as lightweight as possible.

Basically you will be asked to provide the following information.

  1. Project Title
  2. Company name and contact information.
  3. Name and contact information of the employee who will serve as its representative to the student team.
  4. A high level description of the software system that will be designed and implemented by the student team. Include any necessary background information that might be needed in order to understand what is being proposed. Also include any specifics on the preferred development platform, if available.
  5. A high level description of the envisioned final deliverable.

 

When will teams be assigned to proposals?

The senior project course runs every fall and winter semester.  Future proposal deadlines are as follows:

Winter 2019: December 14, 2018

GVSU Capstone Faculty Contact:

Dr. Jonathan Engelsma

Email: Jonathan.Engelsma@gvsu.edu

Phone: 616-331-2049