[gis_info] Project Ideas for UW GIS Certificate Program

Arnone, Harvey Harvey.Arnone at seattle.gov
Fri Sep 21 15:55:23 PDT 2012

Hello all, it is that time of the year again:  the UW Professional and Continuing Education GIS Certificate program is gearing up for another year.  As in the past, we are looking for project ideas for our student teams.  If you have a project idea and would like to sponsor a project, we'd love to hear about it.

Here's a little bit about what would make a good student project:

*         Size:  should be appropriate for a 3-4 (maybe 5) student project team

*         Schedule:  during October and November, students will decide on projects and form teams. Some initial planning will take place in November and December, but the projects will really shift into gear on January 7, when we return for the Winter quarter.  Projects finalize and deliverables are completed at the beginning of June.

*         Content:  the project should go beyond just data creation in order to give the students a good learning experience.  Projects that include several of the following are great:  user needs or requirements, data modeling, data creation, data manipulation, analysis, map production, producing reports, etc

*         Sponsorship:  sponsored projects are usually among the best in terms of the student learning opportunity and achieving quality tangible results that can be delivered to the sponsoring organization.  Some prior example of past project sponsors include: the City of Seattle, City of Kirkland, other municipalities around the Puget Sound, People for Puget Sound, Esri, and many more.

*         Time commitment for sponsors:  can vary greatly.  Some students interview their sponsors to understand the needs and requirements and then work independently from that point forward.  Other projects have very active sponsors who meet several times with the student team, review documents, provide feedback, and receive periodic status reports from the team.   Most projects fall somewhere in between of course.

We have found that many organizations have perfect candidate projects in tasks that have been lingering on the back-burner for some time.  Involving students is a great way to get some of these small projects done, and at the same time provide a valuable learning experience for the students.  In terms of quality, many of our past sponsors have been pleasantly surprised by what the student teams have been able to accomplish.  Some sponsors have provided great feedback and a few of them have gone on to hire some of the students.  (I should also mention that our student projects frequently win awards at the annual Washington Status URISA conference.)

If you have any questions or thoughts about potential projects, please feel free to contact me. Here's the details that we would need to get started:

*         Sponsor name and contact information

*         Name of proposed project

*         Description of proposed project (short paragraph is fine)

Thanks ahead of time. Please feel free to forward this to others as you see fit.

-Harvey Arnone
    Instructor, UW GIS Certificate Program
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