Office of University Relations
SDSM& T News
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Phone: ( 605) 394- 6082/ 2554 • Fax: ( 605) 394- 6177
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
February 15, 2000
INDUSTRY PARTNERSHIP GIVES TECH STUDENTS REAL- LIFE EXPERIENCE
A Fall Computer Science class at the South Dakota School of Mines & Technology ( CSC 477) received real life training when they began to develop a software based training program for Rockwell Collins. The CSC 477 class was under the direction of Dr. Toni Logar, Associate Professor of Computer Science.
Terri Engels ( CSC ’ 96) of Rockwell Collins wanted to help nurture a positive relationship between SD Tech and her present employer and so approached Engineering Manager Steve Dickes with her idea. As it turned out Steve wanted to develop a training program and was searching for the best way to distribute it to Rockwell employees. Ideally, the program would utilize web- based knowledge and the latest technology, and would be easy to understand for employees in his department who did not have this type of experience. As a result Dickes and Engels turned to Logar and the School of Mines, hoping the students would be able to develop a web- based computer training program for the AFD 3010, or Adaptive Flight Display. Dr. Toni Logar’s Software Engineering class rose to the challenge.
The students in Computer Science ( CSC) 477 were divided into five groups, each of which developed the software dependent upon their interpretation. Dickes served as their team leader, and together with Engels corresponded via e- mail, video teleconferences, and through occasional in- person visits with the five groups.
The computer- based training tutorial for the AFD 3010 was to be designed for any entry- level employee at Rockwell. Dickes wanted to take advantage of web- based technology so the tutorial would be easily accessible from any workstation. It was also a requirement for the software to be usable without the assistance of a co- worker or supervisor, and to be designed for the individual without an extensive knowledge of the AFD 3010 Display Unit.
The AFD 3010 Adaptive Flight Display helps tailor the flight deck in specific aircraft to the size and mission of the plane. All the information that is required to fly the plane, including airspeed, navigation maps, attitude, altitude, engine data, heading, annunciations, and radar, can be positioned on the AFD 3010 to reduce pilot scan while flying the plane. It was the students job in CSC 477 to teach this to employees at
Rockwell in a computer- friendly, interactive tutorial that could be easily accessible as a reference tool.
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The partnership between Rockwell Collins and the South Dakota School of Mines & Technology is a win- win situation for all parties involved. The students have obtained real- life experience by working with industry and reporting to a ‘ boss’ other than their instructor at Tech. The students get a real sense of what is involved when developing software, and get an up- close introduction to Rockwell Collins opening up doors for possible co- op, internship, or future job opportunities. The partnership has also sets the stage for future student projects directly linked to Rockwell Collins. Engels will visit the Tech campus this April and will bring with her another project for next year’s CSC 477 class.
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Devereaux Library. South Dakota School of Mines and Technology.