Information Technology Projects
Fall 97

Introduction

Description

Information Technology Projects (Projects) offers students real-world experience understanding and solving Information Technology software and system problems. The course involves a set of projects at clients such as local corporations and other institutions. We organize students in teams of about four. Each team undertakes one IT project that lasts the semester.

In the classroom we study project management and network software. The project issues include project specification, consulting project management, technology planning and training, and communicating to management. The network software issues include distributed system design, software standardization, and technology trends.

Course Particulars

Professor: Arthur Goldberg
Course home page: http://goldberg.cs.nyu.edu:8888/itp/FL97/index.html
Update history: August 31, Sept. 9
Time: Mondays, 5:00 to 8:00 PM, plus about one day a week at your client
Place: Room 402, Warren Weaver Hall
Number: G22.3812
Email beacon: g22_3812_001_fl97@cs.nyu.edu
Credits: 3

Professor Particulars

Email: email: artg@cs.nyu.edu
Office: 715 Broadway, Room 711
Home page: http://goldberg.cs.nyu.edu:8888/
Office hours: Meetings by appointment only

Projects

Introduction

We recruit local corporations and other institutions to provide interesting projects. We will select projects that teach students about technologically important systems. We seek problems which involve widely used technologies of growing influence. These technologies include the Internet, the World Wide Web, Intranets, Java, Lotus Notes, and parallel programming. To increase the resources available to students, we also try to obtain projects which use technologies that are available in our campus computing environment. We will consider projects involving other important technical areas of mutual interest to students and clients.

Clients For Fall 97

As of August 31, projects with the following organizations are under consideration:

Past Projects

In the past three years we've worked with the following clients and completed the following projects.

1997, Summer

1997, Spring 1996 1995 ComputerWorld quoted a student and Prof. Goldberg discussing this course in the Fall 96 Campus edition, saying:

Client Role

In exchange for our assistance, our clients are required to provide adequate resources for students to learn and to succeed on the project. A client technical manager will spend one half to one a day a week supervising students. The client is also required to provide facilities, such as computers, software and office space for students to make significant progress during the course.

Interactions with clients may provide opportunities for full-time employment following the course. Four students have obtained jobs during the last 3 years.

Some clients will be donating significant money to NYU in recognition of the work we do in the course.

Team Composition

Students will work in teams composed of CS and "MS in IS" students. At the first class meeting each student will rank each proposed project's desirability on a scale from 1 to 10. Prof. Goldberg will assign students to teams by the second class. He will try to maximize the class's total satisfaction, assign students to projects for which they're skilled, and allocate some CS and some MS in IS students to each team. Each expertise and talent will support the other, so CS students with relatively modest management and/or English experience can feel comfortable, as should MS in IS students with less technical experience.

We encourage clients to break projects into 1 and 2 person tasks so team members can work fairly independently.

Student Admission

In the fall of 1997, the Projects course can accommodate at most 20 students in 5 projects.

Skills

To work productively on a project a student must possess sufficient technical and/or managerial skills. These skills can be obtained by academic training and/or experience. In particular, for CS students, the Software Engineering course is a pre- or co-requisite.

As the set of skills cannot be precisely specified, interested students should contact Prof. Arthur Goldberg (artg@cs.nyu.edu) for permission to register. Email a resume or short biography.

Registration Logistics

Admitted students will be emailed a 4-digit access code. Register for the course as "Advanced Laboratory in Information Systems" (G22.3812.001). Stern-based MSIS students should follow through with their usual registration procedures for Courant courses; Courant-based students may call TorchTone (995-4747) and register.

Potential Conflict-of-Interest

Students who work must consider whether participating in a project--and interning for a Projects course client--will involve a conflict-of-interest with their employer. Prof. Goldberg has checked, and none of our clients consider it a conflict if a student intern works elsewhere, as long as the employer does not compete with the client. Students should obtain their employer's approval to intern, if they feel it is necessary.

Non-disclosure

At some clients, students will access proprietary information protected as trade secrets. Student interns at these clients may be asked to sign a legal document called a non-disclosure which promises that they will not communicate trade secrets learned at work outside the client. If you indicate interest in a particular project, we assume that you're willing to sign a non-disclosure for that client. Prof. Goldberg will sign the non-disclosure too. Students who work should obtain their employer's authorization to sign the non-disclosure, if they feel permission is necessary.

Schedule

Projects, like all graduate CS courses at NYU, demand significant effort. Doing a good job requires about 10 hours of work a week; doing a great job requires more.

Weekly schedule

We meet as a class 10 out of 14 weeks. The tentative semester schedule is below. Class attendance is mandatory, as class meetings include technical and operational lectures by both students and Prof. Goldberg.

Most clients are corporations which work "regular business hours". Projects involve coordination among students, and between students and the client. Students and clients are strongly urged to arrange a mutually convenient weekday on which students will work weekly at the client site. Some clients may work weekends and/or evenings, and may be able to schedule the regular meeting outside of business hours.

Students who are full-time employees

Some students who work full-time want to take Projects. They may do so.

Students unable to work at client sites during "regular business hours" should apply for projects whose regular meetings occur outside of business hours or at NYU. Prof. Goldberg will attempt to assign them accordingly. However, no student can be guaranteed assignment to a project that works outside regular business hours.

Resources for running special individual projects are not available.

Semester project schedule

To complete the projects during our 14 week semester, Projects is scheduled tightly. The Fall 1997 schedule follows:

Sept. 5: Prof. Goldberg enrolls a selected group of students.

By Sept. 8: Prospective clients submit project proposals. Proposals will be published on NYU's Web to advertise the course to students.

Sept. 8: Students rank proposals. The projects which really excite the students get staffed. In past years, Prof. Goldberg's been able to assign 95% of students to projects that they rank 9 or 10 out of 10. Winning and losing clients are notified immediately.

Sept. 10: Students are told their project assignments by email.

Sept. 10 through Sept. 12:  Liaisons schedule kickoff meetings at clients.  One student, designated the liaison, is responsible for scheduling the kickoff meeting and for scheduling a mutually convenient weekly time at which the client's project manager(s) and the student team can meet and work together at the client's site. The meeting should be scheduled as early as possible.

Sept. 15 through Sept. 24: We hold a 3 hour kickoff meeting at each client. The student team and Prof. Goldberg meet the client's authorizing and project manager(s). The client explains the set of projects we could work on in much greater detail than the proposal. Together, we select a mutually satisfactory subset of projects to pursue. We identify each student's particular responsibility. Each student leaves with the beginnings of a clear understanding of the project they will work on.

Sept 22 through Dec. 12: Each team works for about 10 weeks with their client. Students meet weekly with their project manager. Prof. Goldberg supervises and teaches the class at a weekly meeting at NYU. We study technology, project management and presentation skills.

Week of Oct. 27 to 31: We hold a 2 hour mid-course correction meeting at each client.  The student team and Prof. Goldberg meet with the client's project manager(s). We evaluate the project's progress and set clear goals for the rest of the work.

Week of Dec. 15 to 19: At a 2 hour wrap-up meeting at the end of the semester the team and Prof. Goldberg meet with the client's authorizing and project manager(s) at the client. Students present their results and hand-off their work to clients.

Some morning during the week of Dec. 8: At an all morning Demo Show at NYU all teams present their results to all clients, interested faculty and other students.

Class Meeting Schedule

Both students and Prof. Goldberg will speak in class. The schedule will be revised as the semester progresses. As of August 31, the lecture schedule is:
  1. 8-September: Professor: Information Technology Projects: Introduction and Logistics
  2. 15-September: Professor: "Personal Businesses Processes": How to deliver a technical lecture; teamwork and problem solving skills
  3. 22-September: No Meeting
  4. 29-September: Students: Technical Lecture
  5. 6-October: Students: Technical Lecture
  6. 13-October: Professor: Programming Principles Applied to Reviewing Code
  7. 20-October: Student Progress / Code Review Presentations
  8. 27-October: No Meeting
  9. 3-November: Student Progress / Code Review Presentations
  10. 10-November: No Meeting
  11. 17-November: Professor: Topic to be determined
  12. 24-November: : ?
  13. 1-December: No Meeting
  14. 8-December: "Demo Show" 'dress' rehearsal
  15. 9??-December, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.: "Demo Show"

Student Responsibilities and Evaluation

Responsibilities

Each student is primarily responsible for working on their project, making progress towards its goal, and transferring their results to the client at the end of the semester.

In the classroom, each student will make three presentations to the class: an overview of the technology involved in their project, a discussion of their project and its progress, and a final presentation of their accomplishments. These presentations serve several purposes: Motivate you to become more skilled in the software you'll be using; give you practice delivering presentations; and teach the rest of the class.

Each student will describe their work orally and in a brief written summary which will be delivered at the DemoShow and to the client at the WrapUp meeting at the end of the semester.

Grading

Student evaluation is distributed as follows:
  • Three in-class presentations (technical, progress, Demo Show) 30%
  • Emailed progress reports 5%
  • Accomplishment in the project 40%
  • Final report 25%
  • Course Resources

    Whenever possible, clients will provide computing resources. In addition, the CS department will provide.

    Communications

    Email and the email beacon

    All students and client supervisors must read and respond to Internet email daily. All students should join the g22_3812_001_fl97@cs.nyu.edu class mailing list. Send an email to majordomo@cs.nyu.edu with
    subscribe g22_3812_001_fl97
    in the message body. Prof. Goldberg will use it to multicast email to the class. Each project will form its own mailing list, named "projects_<project_name>".

    Team Web Page

    Each project will need a Web page.  The page will contain One student, called the Project Webmaster, will have primary responsibility for maintaining the Web page.  Everyone else will be able to contribute to it.  We will make the page visible to students in the course and the client, but invisible to the rest of the world.

    Team liaison

    Each team needs a team liaison responsible for organizing interaction with the client. The liaison's job includes If you want to be your team's liaison, please volunteer.

    Progress report

    Each student must send Prof. Goldberg a weekly email progress report on Thursday before class. While this sounds bureaucratic and impersonal, but it's the only way I can efficiently track all the students in the course. Spend 5-15 minutes composing the progress report (so if you work 8 hours/week on the class the report takes at most 3% of class time). Writing the report will help you evaluate how you're doing. The report contains:

    Please email the report with a subject line of:
    Projects; "client name"; "week number"
    where weeks are numbered starting with Sept. 8, so Prof. Goldberg's software can parse and organize reports.


    This document and associated materials were authored or compiled by Arthur Goldberg. This compilation and supporting electronic teaching materials may be freely used for non-commercial use provided any electronic or print version includes this notice. All rights reserved. Copyright Arthur P. Goldberg, 1996, 1997.