Programs in computer science are frequently oriented towards real-world projects. "Our professors have industry experience," says Jason Shepherd, assistant professor of computer science. "We've been in the trenches. We know what it's like. For example, in the class User Interface Design, I bring in examples of problems I faced while I was consulting. I tell the students to produce a user-interface that they think could solve these problems. Then we take a look at the advantages and disadvantages of the students' approaches and the approaches I actually used."
Computer science alumni occasionally return to campus to share information about how they have used their education in the working world. In December 2009, for example, David Klee (Class of 2004) returned to campus to host a seminar on server virtualization for the Association for Computing Machinery student organization.
"David used the myriad of servers in our Linux lab to perform a hands-on demo with our students," says Shepherd. "Server virtualization is a hot topic in industry. Normally, server software is installed on a specific computer. If the hardware fails, the server crashes and no one can access the server until the hardware is fixed and the computer is rebooted. With server virtualization, the server software is specially contained so that it can be moved easily to new hardware in the event of a hardware failure. The hands-on demonstrations led by David will prove invaluable to our students as they continue to experiment with server virtualization in our Linux lab and their professional careers."