Christian Brothers Services partners with Computer Science

Christian Brothers Services provides real-world experiences to computer science students

Published: May 6, 2015.

Christian Brothers Services partnered with Lewis University computer science students during the spring semester to develop computer solutions and implement them through two projects for students. One of the projects gave students the opportunity to begin a sophisticated piece of software, and the other had students plan a virtual desktop installation for a local school.

“Computer Science education works best when it provides students real-world opportunities to learn skills and acquire knowledge in the field,” Dr. Ray Klump, Professor and Chair of the Lewis University Department of Computer and Mathematical Sciences, said. He continued, “Hands-on, project-based learning is an important component of what students in this program do. Having these two projects sponsored by a local company helped the program expose a variety of computer science students to the kind of work they will encounter once they graduate.”

For the software development project, students enrolled in the Software Engineering class taught by Dr. Cindy Howard, Assistant Professor of Computer and Mathematical Sciences, created a web-based application and accompanying database to meet requirements that staff at Christian Brothers Services defined. The students divided into three groups, and each group created their own solution for meeting the requirements. Splitting into groups added somewhat of a competitive element to the effort, and it also ensured that the final presentations would inform Christian Brothers’ staff of the wide variety of options.

Before splitting into groups to implement the software, the entire class worked to identify the kinds of features other similar software offered and to document the requirements in a clear and complete way so that they and the Christian Brothers Services could agree about what was to be produced. Surveying existing solutions and documenting requirements are common and important tasks for software engineers.

Another group of students calculated and priced the requirements for supporting a virtual desktop installation at a school as part of the other project, which was led by Klump. The group consulted with Christian Brothers IT staff to determine how many users the new installation would serve, and how much data traffic and storage needs could be expected. Next, they calculated and priced the number of new blade servers and bandwidth that would have to be installed. The students compared that number for a do-it-yourself approach with the cost of leveraging a cloud service to provide comparable computing power and storage space.

“Partnering with Lewis University Computer and Mathematical Sciences for the last several years has been an excellent opportunity for two Catholic organizations to work together to provide benefits not only to Lewis computer science students directly through part-time work, internships, and classroom projects but also to help create value-driven information technology that can be used by any Catholic organization served by CBS. Having a hand in two Lasallian organizations working together is even more exciting,” said Tom Drez, Chief Information Office and Managing Director of Information & Technology Services division.

Lewis University offers a bachelor’s degree in Computer Science and Computer Engineering. Computer Science majors can pursue formal concentrations in Cyber Security, Video Game Development, Web and Mobile Development, Computational Theory, and Data Science. Internship and hands-on learning opportunities are plentiful. The university is nationally recognized for its Master of Science in Information Security program, which includes an innovative fast-track that enables students to earn both a bachelor’s and a master’s degree in five years. A master's degree in Data Science is also available.

About Christian Brothers Services (cbservices.org)
Founded in 1960 and headquartered in Romeoville, Illinois, Christian Brothers Services is a nonprofit, Catholic organization that administers cooperative programs in the areas of health/retirement, property/casualty and consulting/technology to church organizations.

About Lewis University (www.lewisu.edu)
Lewis University is a Catholic university in the Lasallian tradition offering distinctive undergraduate and graduate programs to more than 6,700 traditional and adult students. Lewis offers multiple campus locations, online degree programs, and a variety of formats that provide accessibility and convenience to a growing student population. Sponsored by the De La Salle Christian Brothers, Lewis prepares intellectually engaged, ethically grounded, globally connected, and socially responsible graduates. The seventh largest private not-for-profit university in Illinois, Lewis has been nationally recognized by The Princeton Review and U.S. News & World Report. Visit www.lewisu.edu for further information.



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