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

At 91, Marvel creator Stan Lee continues to…

By Piya Sinha-RoyLOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Marvel Entertainment's chief emeritus Stan Lee may be in his ninth decade, but it hasn't stopped him from adding…

National

Islamic State says beheads U.S. journalist, holds another

Islamic State insurgents released a video purportedly showing the beheading of U.S. journalist James Foley, who had gone missing in Syria nearly two years ago.

Local

VIDEO: NYPD seeks shooter in East New York…

Cops are on the lookout for an unknown shooter who aimed and missed hitting a man on a bicycle, instead nearly striking a nearby officer in East New York.

Local

NYS state forces thrift shops comply with ban…

Nine New York City thrift shops were reprimanded by the state attorney general for selling children's clothes with drawstrings around the neck and waist.

Television

'Pretty Little Liars' recap: Season 5, Episode 11,…

Caleb's not a ghost. Spencer might still be an attempted murderer. And Hanna's going to die next week. In other words, we actually got some…

Movies

At 91, Marvel creator Stan Lee continues to…

Marvel Entertainment's Stan Lee is adding outposts to his creative empire to interest a new generation of children in super heroes of all shapes and sizes.

Television

Mira Sorvino explores immortality on 'Intruders'

Mira Sorvino's new show "Intruders" centers around a secret society that achieves immortality by taking over the bodies of other people.

Television

5 things you need to know about new…

"Doctor Who" returns Saturday with a new star, Peter Capaldi. Here's some things to know about him (mainly his turn as sweary spin doctor Malcolm Tucker).

MLB

Shane Greene travels unlikely road to Yankees stardom

Shane Greene was throwing a bullpen session on a quiet field at Daytona Beach Community College one day when the ball started moving.

NFL

2014 Fantasy Football: Rankings, list of top NFL…

2014 Fantasy Football: Rankings, list of top NFL tight ends (TE)

MLB

MLB Power Rankings: Angels supplant A's, Nationals climb

MLB Power Rankings: Angels supplant A's, Nationals climb

NFL

David Wilson returns to triple jump, sets sights…

Giants fans know David Wilson can jump. They are just more used to seeing him go for backflips, not distance.

Style

11 timeless gifts for registries or just because

Gifts to prove you're a style maven once and for all.

Parenting

How everyday moments can inspire kids' creativity

"The Artist's Way for Parents" author Julia Cameron gives advice on how parents and children can be creative together.

Tech

How to stay safe online

Stop worrying about keeping your online passwords safe, and start worrying about keeping your username a secret. Actually, worry about both. According to Shaun Murphy…

Tech

OpenTable now lets you pay your bill via…

The restaurant app OpenTable added the ability to pay your bill (and tip) with your phone, thus cutting back on a few dining annoyances.