Spotlight on a community project of the college’s 3rd year software engineering students
With college’s focus on the practical side of engineering, instead of students developing theoretical apps for fictitious clients for their course projects, they develop real products for actual organizations in Jerusalem who can benefit from the support. This also supports the college’s vision to cultivate excellent engineers who are socially conscious.
The course earns students an extra two credits (six instead of four), and the project has expanded during the past year, its second year. As part of the program, a request for proposals was publicized among the local nonprofit sector, with over 45 organizations applying to participate and having a software product developed especially for them.
Representatives of the organizations, including A Home for Every Child, Landmarks-Youngsters for the Strengthening of Israeli Society, TenPartners, and others, each presented their organizational missions. Only 20 organizations were chosen, and students divided into teams to develop customized products for their client organizations.
Each software engineering team was comprised of a diverse group of students from various backgrounds, with the teams requesting to serve the organization of their choice.
Course instructor Dr. Reuven Yagel:
“I was looking for potential clients for whom the students could develop products, such as apps, as part of their software engineering project. I then thought about serving the public and social sectors. The project is now about developing software products for non-profits, so students accomplish academically while benefiting the community. I am just the conductor, though. The students and the nonprofits do the work.”
The completion event included an exhibition of the various student-developed apps, as well as remarks by Keren Greenberg, Director of Community
Projects at the Center for Women’s Heart Health, who thanked the students on behalf of all the organizations, often lacking the funding to develop these kinds of products which help make their work more efficient and aid their target populations.
A Keynote Message with Heart
Eldad Postan, Business Development Director at venture capital fund Our Crowd addressed students about how to develop an initiative and integrate it for society. What’s needed for this, Eldad explained, is using the right tools, or “all five fingers.” His message was that the most important tool is using one’s heart and developing something meaningful.
Excellence and Responsibility
Part of the college’s Software Engineering Department, the course is coordinated in partnership with the Office of Student Aid and Community Programs. Social responsibility is a major value of the college, which provides aid to students to help position them for success in acquiring higher education and a viable profession, while also connecting them to the value of social responsibility through courses like this one.
With two years of experience, the program is dynamic and continues to grow, as do emerging questions, such as:
This is just one question of many. As the program continues to develop, so does the need to address just how engineers and all other citizens in a variety of professions can contribute their skills, time, and resources to the community. We look forward to updating you on this course, which is rewarding for students as well as the greater community.