Beginning Spring Term 2015, the Knox Business and Computer Science Departments will be offering a new immersion program called “Kickstart Startup Term.” The goal is to have 12 to 16 students total working in teams of three or four on a project for all of Spring Term. At the end of the term, students will “pitch” their projects to a group of judges that includes professors, alumni and members of the Galesburg business community.
About 30 students attended the informational session on Fall Institute Day to see what this immersion term was all about. One student, sophomore Elisabeth Zarnoti, said that she attended the meeting because Startup Term would be beneficial to her self-designed major of digital communications.
“I also think you learn a lot about yourself by working on a team with others, and I think this would be a great experience,” Zarnoti said.
To form the teams for the projects, students will participate in mixers to see what they need in a group and with whom they will work best. A mixer was held on Wednesday, Oct. 29 and two more will be held Nov. 5 and Nov. 12 at 7 p.m. in Old Main 201. Students who are interested in Startup Term are highly recommended to attend, as it will allow for teams to match-up based on people’s expertise.
Each team must have a member that has taken Business 285, Marketing and Society and Computer Science 295, Software Development and Professional Practice in order to be eligible. Not every member on the team has to have taken these classes, but at least one person on each team needs experience in these areas.
Proposals from each team will be due on Monday, Feb. 2, so it is encouraged that teams be formed during Fall Term so there is ample time to work on the application. Decisions on participants will be made before Spring Pre-enrollment closes so that teams not chosen to participate can still take their prefered spring term classes. Only a maximum of 16 students will participate in the first run of the project.
Students who get accepted into the program will work in the Bondi Building in downtown Galesburg on Main Street. They will have 24-hour access to the workspace and will be expected to work 40-plus hours a week as a team on their project.
“There are no hours and there are no limits,” Professor and Chair of Business and Management John Spittell said in reference to students using the Bondi Building.
Students who participate in Startup Term will receive three credits in interdisciplinary studies that can be substituted for requirements in the business minor and computer science major, but all of the professors stressed that the program is open to all students. Every team will need participants from all different backgrounds to make their project work.
“The value comes from the experience of working with a team on a challenging project,” Associate Professor of Computer Science Jaime Spacco said. All three of the professors who founded this term stressed the importance of working with a team and figuring out how to deal with challenges such as limited funding and a short time period.
“Think of it as a creativity challenge,” Chair of Computer Science John Dooley said.
Currently, Startup Term will be offered every other Spring Term, but if it is popular enough it could be offered every year. Students who are interested in participating in Startup Term should plan on attending the fall mixers and can go to cs.knox.edu/startup-term to find more information.