With guidance from professionals at the companies, students are trying to help them solve networking and security issues. The collaborations involve weekly updates, a white paper report, a live demo of a solution and a final presentation.
The companies, which are free to implement students’ recommendations, are Heartland Business Systems, Marshfield Clinic, Menards, Target and Dell.
Sam Wosika, of White Bear Lake, Minn., a CNIT senior, is the program teaching assistant this year. He is helping coordinate use of the data center by the capstone class.
“To have the dedicated lab classrooms is a definite improvement,” Wosika said. “I spend a lot of time here. This is truly hands-on learning. We’re actually touching the equipment.”
Wosika likes other aspects of the CNIT program, which is largely lab-based learning, such as the internship opportunities and connections to industry. He has had two internships and will have a third one this summer with Cisco in San Jose, Calif.
The four new labs, with team work stations and other networking equipment beyond the data center, are in rooms 176, 188, 192 and 193 of Micheels Hall. They replace smaller, older labs in Fryklund Hall.
The equipment in each lab matches the lab’s level of instruction: year 1-2 students, year 2-3 students, year 3-4 students and year 4-capstone students.
“The opportunity to work at a table as part of a team has changed the whole dynamic of the classroom,” said Maria Alm, dean of the College of Arts, Communication, Humanities and Social Sciences. “This project has increased our capacity and class size.”