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News & Press: Colorado Technology Industry

The Computer Science Department at the University of Colorado is Now Accepting Project Proposals

Thursday, July 30, 2009   (0 Comments)
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The Computer Science Department at the University of Colorado is once again offering the Senior Software Engineering Project course, a two-semester sequence spanning the Fall 2009 and Spring
2010 semesters.  The course is intended to give senior Computer Science majors experience in real-world software development prior to graduation.
We are currently soliciting software development project proposals for projects to be completed during the coming academic year.  Students will work in teams, typically five students each, for both the Fall and Spring semesters (September through May) on the design, implementation, testing and documentation of the software.  Not only does this class provide valuable experience for the students and useful software for the sponsors, it also provides an ideal way for sponsors and students to become familiar with one another. 

We have had a wide variety of project sponsors over the years: from very large to very small; sponsors from industry, government agencies, research institutions and non-profit organizations; and sponsors from Colorado as well as from other states and from other countries.  We have also completed projects from a wide variety of problem domains, including business, artificial intelligence, medicine, imaging, networking, science, entertainment, aviation, publishing, education, hardware design, communications, security and many others.

Several factors should be considered when developing a proposal:
  • Each student is expected to spend about 15-20 hours per week on the project in general, although of course they may at times spend somewhat more or less.
  • The course encompasses much more than just programming; the students are expected to develop their writing skills (via development documents and user documentation) and to develop their speaking skills (via various presentations in class and at the sponsor site).
  • Thus, the projects should be of "medium" scope.  As a very general guideline, a project that could be completed by a single "moderately experienced" person working full time in a similar time frame is probably of an appropriate size.
The sponsoring organization retains the rights to the resulting software.  Also, sponsors may require students to sign NDAs, as long as these agreements
  • allow faculty and staff responsible for evaluating the students adequate access to the software to perform that evaluation
  • allow faculty and staff running the class and students participating in the class to discuss the project appropriately within the class setting
  • allow students to use documents and code listings as part of their portfolio when interviewing for jobs.

There is no fee to sponsor a project.  However, we incur significant costs in running the course that are well beyond the funding provided by university budgets.  The Computer Science Department must seek private funding to help offset these costs.  Therefore, we ask for a voluntary donation from satisfied project sponsors at the end of the academic year.

We want to stress the word "voluntary" -- we understand that not every project can be supported with a private donation and that not every sponsor can provide support at the same level; however, it's our sincere hope that the aggregate support we receive will be enough to allow us to continue this valuable program into future years.

We invite you to participate in this program.  To do so, please submit the following information to Bruce.Sanders@Colorado.EDU for each project you would like to propose:

     - name and address of the sponsoring organization
     - name and email address of a project contact
     - title of the project
     - brief (one half to one page) description of the project
     - any additional comments, restrictions, or special instructions

Bruce will then be in touch with the project contact for any further discussion of the project, and would like to receive project proposals by Monday, August 10, 2009.

See for more on the Senior Project course itself, including summaries of previous projects.  If you have any further questions about the class, please don't hesitate to contact Bruce at Bruce.Sanders@Colorado.EDU.

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