The students in the Management Information Systems Capstone class are currently finalizing work on an important group project; however, it is unlike any group project they've worked on prior.
Their teacher, Sachin Pawaskar, Ph.D., is a professor of practice in UNO's College of Information Science & Technology and a strong believer in community engagement for both students and faculty at UNO.
“Everybody, as citizens of states and our nation, should understand that community engagement is an important piece of making our communities better," he says.
The class’ current project reflects that.
Students are building a web-based tool intended to help make measuring UNO's massive engagement in the community easier and more centralized. Students, faculty and staff at UNO will soon have new, “holistic” web application for entering community engagement project and partner data to share with stakeholders and the community.
The project is a signature initiative of the UNO Community Engagement Measurement and Assessment Committee, which was tasked to design a new approach for systematic and strategic community engagement data gathering, analysis and reporting.
The effort is something Pawaskar hopes will “show the entire Omaha community what are the different kinds of projects that UNO is engaged in, what different types of mission areas we support, what are the districts we support and how engaged we are in those districts.”
The tool will also help align data related to community engagement efforts at UNO more accessible and consistent.
"The Capstone is not only about learning a specific technology, but it is giving the students a platform where they learn how collaborate into teams," explains Arti Mukati, an MIS student enrolled in the Capstone course this fall. "We are part of building the whole system, end to end."
Pawaskar explained that, in addition to showcasing UNO's current efforts, the tool will allow units across campus to reflect on where they can do better in terms of serving the community and identifying areas in need.
It is just one of the many projects Pawaskar has helped coordinate for his students in order to give them hands-on experiences in their field.
“For the students, it’s not only an opportunity to work on a real-world project and gain hands-on experience but it is also an opportunity for them to reflect on how they can affect and serve their communities.”
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