Capstone Project with OU Yields Great Results for the Academy
Vol.7 Issue 8
A recent Capstone project resulted in an alternative visual scheduling software recommendation that will save the FAA Academy time, and will help organize courses taught by instructors.

The Training Services Support Division is the focal point for support of Academy specific programs; everything from the Academy's strategic planning process to student housing quality, from producing the Academy newsletter, to Academy recognition awards, the Division provides these services and more.

The Training Services Support Division support's:

  • Student services
  • Financial management
  • Personnel management
  • Space planning
  • Capital investment
  • Student training records
  • Centralized student travel planning
  • Distance Learning
  • Instructor Training and Evaluation products and services for the entire FAA

This team collaborated with the University of Oklahoma (OU) Management Information Systems (MIS) Department. Since the FAA Academy needed to improve the scheduling of resources throughout the organizations, a Capstone project for organization was requested. The Capstone program had been utilized in other projects with a history of success.

The Automated Training Schedule project covered the Fall of 2020 and Spring 2021 semesters. Each semester had a different student team assigned with five students, for a total of ten. The Fall project looked at commercial off the shelf products capable of auto-populating a visual training schedule to streamline the input and output processes, which are currently captured on excel spreadsheets. The Spring semester team took the recommendations of the Fall team and produced a prototype classroom and instructor scheduling process (based on the ScheduleIT Software). This prototype ingested real-world sample data to demonstrate the capabilities of the Academy environment. Both the Fall 2020 and Spring 2021 student teams completed requirements of gathering, project planning, and producing a final proposal within approximately 3 months.

At the beginning of the project, the student team gathered requirements in the same way that a consultant would. These requirements – formalized and signed by all parties – were used as the criteria for success at the end of the project. The final project reports and presentations involved live demonstrations of recommendations and solutions to the Academy sponsors.

The student teams and their professor were able to overcome challenges during the global health crisis by meeting and seamlessly collaborating with the Academy team, using the FAA’s Zoom and Teams environment. While face-to-face discussions are great for communicating complex information, the requirements for gathering, follow-up discussions, and final presentation were very smooth and effective, having used the collaboration tools which they had at their disposal.

The Capstone program is a very rewarding experience for both the host organization and the students. Applying fresh student ideas and approaches to organizational challenges in a collaborative environment produces amazing results and is a great learning experience for all involved. The host organization receives the benefit of working with top students from university departments oriented toward the specific challenge that solutions are sought. Further, the students are exposed to real-world scenarios and organizational challenges which help them to prepare for careers after graduation. The whole program is very easy to engage in and the efficiency of student work and proposed solutions are extremely cost effective. The program saves a lot of time for the host organizations, a total win!

If you are interested in the Capstone project, please contact Edward Drake for more information at Edward (405) 954-7327.

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