Technology gets on the map at La Salle University

Students work at La Salle University’s Holroyd Hall, the science and technology building.
Students work at La Salle University’s Holroyd Hall, the science and technology building.

It’s not that professor Raymond Kirsch doesn’t believe in lecturing. He just tries to keep it out of the classroom as much as possible.

In Kirsch’s software design class, students listen to recordings of his lectures for homework. Classroom time is for hands-on problem-solving, where undergrads put three years of theory to the test. The goal is to develop a useful smartphone app that works — a tough challenge for anyone.

In the three years since the class was implemented, almost every student has gone through periods of teeth-grinding frustration. For Kirsch, that’s part of the point of the class.

“I think you need to encounter frustration to be a software engineer. It’s not just that you get a question wrong on a test, it’s that what you’re trying to make doesn’t work. That tests you in a deeper way,” says Kirsch, from the Philadelphia campus where he works. “I reiterate principles, but never tell them how to fix anything. If you have a great idea for an app, that’s great. But now you have to make it work.”

The Senior Project Class runs over two semesters, with students working in small teams for nine months. Among the projects that function in the real world is an app that integrates GPS and La Salle’s campus shuttle. The device determines how far the shuttle is from any given stop and predicts the time of arrival. Other efforts have included personal fitness trackers, assignment coordinators and a role-playing game built with Microsoft XNA software.

“It’s not about, ‘Well, here’s a piece of software that’s just wonderful.’ I’m more interested in people wrestling with problems, failing to do stuff and recovering from it,” explains Kirsch. “That’s the real world: You’re frustrated, you might be embarrassed — put that into a problem-solving process.”



News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
National

Sprint and T-Mobile offer further price discounts

Sprint unveiled a plan on Thursday that gives subscribers access to unlimited data for $60 a month, the industry's cheapest unlimited data offering.

National

Hundreds pay it forward at Florida Starbucks in…

The spontaneous chain of kindness continued for about 11 hours, totaling 457 transactions by the time it ended.

National

Weather system east of Caribbean could turn into…

An area of low pressure located east of the Caribbean Sea has a 50 percent chance of becoming a tropical depression or storm in the next 48 hours, U.S. forecasters…

National

U.S. hospital to discharge doctor treated with experimental…

An American doctor who contracted Ebola treating victims of the deadly virus in Liberia has recovered and will be discharged on Thursday by the Atlanta hospital that treated him with…

Music

polyphonic

Movies

Review: 'When the Game Stands Tall' is both…

The high school football saga "When the Game Stands Tall" fumbles around for a focus while Jim Caviezel offers the most low-key coach in history.

Movies

Girlfriend in a coma: Chloe Grace Moretz

Chloe Grace Moretz is the best cheerleader "If I Stay" could ask for. As the star of the film adaptation of the successful YA novel…

The Word

The Word: Summer lovin' for Zac Efron and…

Ah, the summer romance. So intense, so fleeting. With Labor Day fast approaching, it should come as little surprise that the incredibly surprising romance between…

NFL

Fantasy football draft guide: How to draft your…

Many are wondering if we’re entering a new age in fantasy football drafting — one where running backs take a backseat.

NFL

Jets vs. Giants: 3 Giants storylines to watch

The Giants have plenty to work on as they reach the dress rehearsal preseason game Friday night against the rival Jets.

NFL

Jets vs. Giants: 3 Jets storylines to watch

Metro looks at three Jets storylines to watch as they play the Giants Friday.

NFL

Giants expected to work Corey Washington into first-team…

The day of reckoning for the Giants' fringe players will fall upon them Friday night against the Jets.

Sex

Big weddings may lead to long-term happiness

Dreaming of a big wedding? A new study indicates that the longer your guest list, the happier you’ll be in the long run. l A…

Sex

Online dating for every generation

Frank Jackson and his mother Maggie are like lots of modern families: They have dinner together regularly, keep each other updated on their lives —…

Wellbeing

Going green could be the key to getting…

If we could just pursue the things that would actually make us happy, we could help the environment too, according to a New York researcher.…

Tech

Siren: A new dating app that puts women…

Online dating can be brutal, especially for single women. Noting that many women hate wading through inappropriate messages and photos, two tech entrepreneurs decided to…