Management Information Systems

Do you have information technology projects that you aren't getting done?

Are you a South Bay business or Non-profit organization?

Could you use some free help?

Would you like to help train future employees?

Would you like a chance to hire SJSU MIS students before they graduate, after seeing them work in your environment?

If yes, perhaps the MIS Practicum is for you!

What is the MIS Practicum?

The practicum is a class for senior MIS majors in the Business School. The idea is to provide a "real world" experience for them so they can practice applying the technical skills they've learned in other courses to something an organization will actually use. We work on project management methods/skills in the classroom, which they apply to their projects.

These are team projects for groups of 3-5 students. The students are responsible for the whole thing including defining requirements, designing the product, implementing it (or getting it ready to turn over to the sponsor for implementation), developing user manuals, providing training, etc. as appropriate to the specific project.

The Honors Program is a special, 2-semester version of the MIS Practicum. Only top MIS students can apply for the Honors Practicum, which begins only in the fall semester. The "regular" Practicum is one semester, and is offered in both the Fall and Spring semesters.

How do I know if my project is suitable?

Email or call the Practicum Course Coordinator to discuss your particular situation: Jeanne Sawyer, 408-929-3622. I will help you evaluate the nature and scope of your project with regard to our student capabilities and class requirements.

To give you an idea, though, typical projects include developing a website (or portion of a website) and/or developing a small database. We look for projects that the sponsoring organization wants and will actually use, assuming the students do a good job, but not so critical that the organization will be in trouble if the students run into difficulties. We have students who are particularly interested in networking projects as well.

The project should be "stand-alone", either a totally independent project or a separable chunk of a larger project so the students don't run into difficulties with dependencies on other projects. Our start and finish dates are firm and based on the university calendar. The scope needs to be appropriate for a full-semester project for the team (two semesters for the Honors Practicum).

What do I have to do to support a student team

Your support is key to project success. You do not need to know the technology (though if you do, that's great). You do need to have a clear understanding of your business requirements and what you want the project to do. You will need to provide any content (e.g., text and images for a website), test data for a database, etc. You will need to be available to meet with your student team, usually on a weekly basis and be able to respond promptly to email and phone queries from your students. Please only request a team if you are committed to following through with the project for the entire class.

What's the difference between the Honors Practicum and the regular Practicum?

There are several key differences between the Honors and regular classes:
- the Honors Practicum is two semesters, so we can undertake larger, more complicated projects
- the students are the top MIS students
- the MIS faculty support all of our students, but are deeply committed to the Honors Practicum and are able to be much more involved with these projects.

I have a possible project. When should I submit it?

I keep a running list of prospective sponsors and projects, so contact me any time: Jeanne Sawyer, 408-929-3622. However, all projects start at the beginning of the semesters so the best time to talk to me about a project is in early August (for both Honors and regular classes) and early January (for regular classes).

When will I know if you have a team for my project?

For the Honors Practicum, I will confirm shortly before the beginning of the semester if we will be able to undertake your project. If your project is a candidate for the Honors Practicum, we will have had several conversations about the project before the beginning of the semester, so you will know early if your project is likely to be assigned.

For regular classes, we may not know until as much as a month into the semester whether we have a team for you. That is because student enrollment fluctuates at the beginning of the semester, so we don't really know how many teams will need projects. Also, occasionally a project falls apart in which case a new project is assigned to the team. If we agree your project is appropriate and put it on "the list", I will keep you informed about how the assignments are going.

How do I get on "the list"?

Email or call the Practicum Course Coordinator to discuss your particular situation: Jeanne Sawyer, 408-929-3622.