The purpose of the Session Long Project in University classes is to give you the opportunity to explore the applicability of the Module to your own life, work, and place in space and time, and to experiment with the Module to see how the otherwise academically rigorous presentation of a topic may, with more or less work and/or trauma, become “up close and personal”. This is done in a number of different ways—sometimes cumulative papers, sometimes practical hands-on experimentation with a tool of some sort, sometimes reflections on a place of work or life. The common thread is personal application, aimed at demonstrating a cumulative knowledge and understanding of the course’s material.
For this course, the Project will take the form of encounters with online tools and resources of several forms. Each Module will feature some website to visit, occasionally some tool to download and experiment with, or some demo to experience, in search of enlightenment about the kinds of resources available to IT professionals in our increasingly information-rich but sometimes painfully crowded professional community.
It’s almost inevitable that for any given Module, some of the class members will already have had experience with the “tool of choice”; when it happens to you, please resist the temptation to lay into the faculty with a claim that we’re not teaching you anything new; we assure you that even if it’s known to you, it is NOT known to a good many of your colleagues, and they’ll be glad for the lead.
If you do have such experience, regard it as a minor gift of time from the Powers in charge of Session Long Projects; the write-up will be a piece of cake for you. You can use your spare time to dig further into another site or tool, or even to use the Threaded Discussion forum to share your experience and evaluations with your colleagues.
Most online demo sites, when we encounter them, will require you to enter a name and an email address by way of registration; if this bothers you, try using a pseudonym and a convenience free email account from Hotmail or Yahoo, or just try some other one. All they want is a place to send a password, generally. It is also possible that you will receive follow-up inquiries from sites that you have visited; if this concerns you, please read our policy note on this issue.
Each Module, then, you’ll be directed toward some resource; your task will be to enter and/or use it, form some conclusions, questions, and ideas about its possibilities, and to write up those thoughts for our review. The general format for the write-up is found here. You’ll be assessed on the degree of effort and enthusiasm you appear to invest in the exercise, the accuracy of your descriptions and the salience of your conclusions, your ability to generalize and to place the tool in a context of both the material for that Module and other similar sorts of tools from other sources, and the degree to which you involve yourself in making this a useful part of your education. All the good stuff, in short!
If you work in an area subject to security clearances and regulations, or if the computer to which you have access is restricted in critical ways in terms of what you are at liberty to download and use (because of capacity, policy and/or security rules, or other factors) then your ability to carry out the assignments as presented may somewhat be compromised. Alternatives are available, and while you’ll miss some of the learning benefits of the assignment, you can still get a substantial measure. Please let your instructor know as soon as you can if you will be operating under any sort of limitations on your computing capacity so that you can work out suitable arrangements.
In addition, it is a good idea to be sure that your computer is appropriately protected from the Bad Guys Out There. There are some security precautions that are particularly important to observe before setting out on any Internet excursion, including these projects.
You’ll remember that we’re using a common basic format for the Project assignments in all Modules—that is, the review of relevant software demos.
SLP Assignment Expectations
Specifically, for the Session Long Project for this Module:
CRM Software helps companies capture and analyze customer information. For this module you are to select a CRM demos of your choice. Make sure you include summary statements and other comments in “Cumulative Learning.” Here are a couple to get you started.