Immersive learning project earns Computerworld kudos

Topics: Immersive Learning, Miller College of Business

July 16, 2008

Computerworld magazine recently recognized Ball State University students for developing a plan that will save local government computer data that could be lost during a catastrophe.

A team of eight information systems students from the Miller College of Business and six graduate students from the Center for Information and Communication Sciences (CICS) was recognized June 2 at the Computerworld Honors Program in Washington, D.C., for developing a business continuity and network security plan benefiting Delaware County government agencies. 

Currently in its 20th year, the Computerworld program recognizes organizations from around the world whose use of information technology has been especially noteworthy for "originality of conception, breadth of vision and significance to society."

The immersive learning students also were finalists in Computerworld's national case study competition and received additional honors for being the most innovative program of year. The project was previously selected for publication at the International Business Informatics Challenge in Dublin, Ireland, in 2007.

"It is an honor for our students to be recognized by a leading news source in the field," said Fred Kitchens, an information systems professor. "It is a testament to the quality of instruction the students have received during their time at Ball State and to their personal motivation and hard work."

Developed during the 2007-08 academic year by students under the direction of Steve Jones, CICS director, and Kitchens, the project established procedures for backing up data use, including the creation of an in-house, custom-designed system that will perform the operation automatically. In the event of a catastrophe, data will be available from three locations, allowing for immediate system recovery.

The security plan is in the early phases of implementation, reported Jim Flook, Delaware County's information technology director.

Kitchens points out that local government in Delaware County needs a business continuity and network security plan because in the event of a catastrophe, all databases in several government buildings could be crippled and rendered unusable. 

"Coordinating the efforts of students with varied backgrounds, ages and majors had some challenges, but the end result was well worth the time and effort. Local government received a cutting-edge solution to a difficult problem, and the students got a fantastic experience that they have all included on their resumes," said Jones, adding that such immersive learning projects provide students with "elusive prior experience" that future employers look for when interviewing new hires.

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