Northwest Missouri State University information systems graduate students have been designing online organizational computer programs for the Mozingo Lake and Recreational Park Conference Center.

After students in the IS Captone Course were divided into groups, each group was put in charge of designing one of four projects for the conference center as their final project before graduating in December.

The comprehensive course taught by Cindy Tu, PhD, assistant professor of the school of computer science and information systems, requires the students to utilize all of the skills they have learned so far in the master’s program. Some of the skills include project database, project management, human computer interphase, design, information systems, networking, professionalism and others.

The students have been working with Mozingo Event Coordinator Ashley Barber to create a program that works for her and meets her needs. They began by touring the conference center to get a feel for the space and they continue to frequently meet with Barber to tweak designs.

Mozingo Event Coordinator Ashley Barber listens to Northwest students Sonal Sohani, Vikas Garimella, Varun Duvalla and Akhil Kunduru as they present their program.

“It’s been good. They have been easy to work with, very responsive to emails,” Barber said. “Their questions have been spot on and relevant to the project. We are learning as we go and it has been nice to have the flexibility as we go along.”

Two of the systems will be for managing the beverages and supplies, including ordering and inventory. Another program will help Barber manage personnel including scheduling, sick and vacation time, payroll and other items. The last project will manage room layouts and reservations and will allow Barber to see what part of the center had been rented and which sections are still available.

In December, the class will compile their systems into a prototype program with interfaces and functions which they will present to Barber.

The experience helps prepare the students for the job sector after graduation. Their degree will allow them to become business analysts who will work with clients to design computer programs.

However, the class does not do the computer coding, only the design portion. After the prototype is presented, Mozingo officials will need to hire computer programers who will code the program by following the layout stated in the design. In order to save costs, staff could allow a different Northwest class to code the program or they could use a university intern at Mozingo to implement the coding.

The university offers these services to any small business within the community. Joni Adkins, program coordinator of the master’s of science and information systems, stated it not only helps the students learn in a real-world setting, but it also offers a service to a small business that might not be able to hire a private consulting firm. She encouraged owners to reach out to the university if they have an idea.