Choose Your Own Technology Adventure

Via Sean: 

It seems IBM is getting into designing 2.0 applications with UCLA students. Here’s the part of the article that really caught my eye:

Choose Your Own Technology Adventure at UCLA

To help prepare students for the ongoing demand for open computing skills is a class project IBM pioneered for UCLA’s CS130 Computer Science class. “Choose your own (technology) adventure” operates on a simple principle — harnesses students’ interest-areas to shape the coursework rather than on standard textbooks and syllabi.

Selecting from open technology areas, students propose their own course projects, ranging from a mobile phone mashup that alerts users about local events — to an iTunes-like personal music player that lets users play music trivia games, share playlists and build communities. From start to completion, IBM experts provide hands on mentoring to students to boost their software engineering skills, improve team collaboration and gain exposure to best-case practices from IBM’s own development groups.

“Choose your own (technology) adventure is giving UCLA students a truly unique opportunity to learn software engineering skills from the best and brightest at IBM such as working in a team environment while learning collaboration, networking, rapid decision making,” said Professor Paul Eggert, who teaches the CS130 class in UCLA. “Throughout the project, they are researching and evaluating technologies and connecting with open source developers and industry experts. This method is helping us attract more students to learning about these key technology areas by making things like Java and Eclipse extremely relevant to their areas of interest. ”

This is something I’d like for our students. Some of them have advanced tech skills and have worked in IT or other technology-based environments for awhile. It’s hard to ask them to register for “Internet Fundamentals,” a course that is perfect for other less tech-savvy students. Maybe we need a choose your own adventure course, where we negotiate projects and focus for the semester individually or in small workgroups that self organize. I’ve experimented with this just a bit with LIS768 and self-selecting group projects. My learning, however, would have to ramp up. I’m fascinated by the inroads that CMSes and OSS are making into libraries and want to see them represented and offered in LIS edu.

Any students or professors interested in weighing in on course offerings such as this?