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DePaul Students Collaborate with Visualization Software

Graduate students in DePaul University's College of Computing and Digital Media in Chicago are learning how to prototype applications before they're developed with the aid of a visualization application called iRise from a company of the same name. The usage comes out of an iRise campus program that provides software licenses for eligible students and instructors, as well as sample curriculum for use in courses.

At DePaul iRise is being used by about 200 students in a master level human-computer interaction (HCI) program. Using iRise, the students create a "mid-fidelity" visualization that shows the basic interface and operations of the application to be developed. They videotape user tests and use that feedback to create a "high-fidelity" version of the simulation.

"Our class emphasizes the process of prototyping as a way to provide a richer view of a project not only for users, but also for senior managers who must approve the project," said Associate Professor Adam Steel, who is using iRise in his required "Prototyping and Implementation" class. "It's very rewarding for the students to leverage iRise as a way to create a multi-faceted simulation that allows all the stakeholders to buy-in quickly to the key aspects of a project."

He added that students understood the value of prototyping. "Much of the interest in iRise comes from the fact that many of our graduate students are full-time professionals taking HCI Masters courses," he pointed out. "It helps that having visualization on their resumes is also considered critical to moving forward in their chosen career paths."

Next quarter, he said, 40 in-class and distance-learning students will be using iRise in collaborating on class projects involving an application with both Web and mobile interfaces.

According to the company, iRise can be used to create prototypes in hours without coding to speed up the application specification process.

Other institutions that have participated in the iRise On Campus program include Georgia State University, Ohio State University, and the University of Southern California, among many others.

About the Author

Dian Schaffhauser is a writer who covers technology and business for a number of publications. Contact her at dian@dischaffhauser.com.

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