The Living Lab experience is a resume worthy experience. Many of our students have acquired jobs based on their experience in the lab.
In The Beginning:
With the creation of new Web development and programming courses in 2001, the CIT faculty needed access to a server that ran Microsoft’s IIS 4.0. Deemed a security risk, university computing centers would not install it in any of their labs. So the department acquired their own servers that they could use for their courses. The first two machines were set up by the CIT systems engineer who was also a faculty member (and program coordinator). Then a grant for Citrix server software and hardware was received, and two additional servers were set up to allow students access to software that was not provided by the university in the labs, all of which were administered by the program coordinator
CIT’s networking curriculum was also growing, and the program coordinator was busy designing hands-on laboratory experiences for the new networking classes. Students in these classes approached the program coordinator and commented that they felt awkward while searching for jobs and internships because they did not have any experience and employers required it. How could they get the experience they needed? At the same time the CIT server farm continued to grow to support the burgeoning number of online courses and faculty requests for testing space. Help was needed, and the first CIT student was recruited. With mentoring on systems engineering, the student was able to take over the day to day administration of the systems. From that one student, the idea grew and the Living Lab was born.
The first Living Lab group started with 6 students and grew to 24 students in the spring of 2005. Currently an average of 15 students participates in the Living Lab each semester, and the Living Lab has expanded to include support for other departments at IUPUI. Today, students in the Living Lab support 2 CIT networking and security labs, 18 servers providing a variety of services.
Now, The One Stop Shop:
The Living Lab allows students to apply networking, security, database, website, and application development concepts and techniques learned from prior CIT courses to internal and/or external projects. The Living Lab emulates an industry IT department in which students work on one or more projects as part of an IT team. CIT 48500 can be taught with variable credit hours from 1-6.