Student teams in the NDSU Computer Science Capstone Projects course have developed more than 100 real-world industry sponsored projects for regional companies since 2004, covering everything from Web apps to cell phone apps to cloud computing to robotics to prototyping new development systems for sponsors. These companies have been local, such as Microsoft, Phoenix International and Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Dakota, as well as regional companies, like IBM, Polaris, Rockwell Collins and National Information Solutions Cooperative. In addition to learning how to work remotely with sponsors, students have been on teams with students from other countries. But until now they have not had the opportunity to work directly with companies in other countries.
Since international development projects are becoming common in industries, it is deemed to be beneficial for students to gain this experience. At the beginning of this semester, the Capstone Projects course started including international capstone projects where students work from NDSU, but their sponsoring companies are international.
One NDSU student team is working for COMbridge in Hannover, Germany, and a second NDSU team is working for Syntronic in Linkoping, Sweden. At the same time, a student team from Linkoping University is working on a project for Polaris in the Minneapolis region, while a second team from Fachhochschule Hannover is working on a project for National Information Solutions Cooperative in Mandan, N.D.
Establishing these international connections has taken a few years to develop. The capstone instructor, Dean Knudson, met a German professor from Fachhochschule Hannover and a Swedish professor from Linkoping University at different conferences in recent years. In discussing what each was doing for their capstone projects, the concept of an exchange of student projects was developed. The idea was that a team from NDSU would do a project for a company in Germany while a team of German students would do a project for a company in the United States. Two of the current 13 NDSU capstone teams, consisting of three to five students each, are involved.