- Prepare for and attend class
- Participate in class discussions
- Meet with the Community Partner for 3 hours each week for about 13 weeks. (This can be accomplished in one 3-hour session or two 1.5 hour sessions. The schedule is worked out between you and the Community Partner.)
- Work with community partners to complete a negotiated scope of work
- Complete homework assignments which consist of work you will do for in-class sessions as well as work you will do as part of your consulting partnership
- Submit regular status reports
- Prepare 2 project reports
- Peer review other students' work
- Prepare a professional quality Final Consulting Report
- Complete a final exam and course evaluation
- Prepare and deliver a final presentation with your Community Partner
- Meet individually with the instructor
Through this course you will learn to use a capacity-building consulting model and will have the opportunity to apply it in your work with the Community Partner.
- Designing a Scope of Work
You will work with leaders of community organizations, (i.e., Community Partners) to identify a scope of work that is achievable, given the time allowed and the resources available. Your goal is to leave behind expanded capacity to use, plan for and manage technology. You will solve problems while working with your Community Partner to build computing solutions, helping them to further develop local expertise.
- Utilizing Technical Skills
You already know enough about computers, applications, trouble-shooting, helping users, the Internet, etc. to be useful. More importantly, you know how to find answers and how to figure out what you need to know to solve problems. In your own journey as a student, you have learned "how to learn." Additionally, as Carnegie Mellon students, you have resources available to help you. Among Community Partners, gaps exist at low- and high-ends of the technology spectrum. You will match your background to an organization with corresponding needs. You need to know enough to be able to lead the learning process. Some of the most successful consulting partnerships came out of students learning along side of the Community Partner. We've yet to have a student, regardless of major, that did not find their knowledge and skills useful and appreciated by the Community Partner.
- Developing Non-Technical Skills
It's always helpful to have experience solving technical problems, however, to do well in this class, you also have to be a thinker and communicator. This course combines real world experience with a process and methodology resulting in analytical and communication skills.
As a consultant, it is critical that you be able to analyze, organize ideas and information and communicate well. Subsequently, reading, writing, discussing, and making presentations are major components of this course. It is through writing that you develop the analysis and acquire the consulting skills the course is designed to teach. You will also prepare a final consulting report that goes to the Community Partner as well as the instructor. This report gets published as a set of reports that are then distributed throughout the community. Your report also goes on the course web site. This course is an excellent opportunity to practice the communication (oral and written) skills that will help you in your career. You will be given the outline for the reports you must write. The hard part is simply determining what to say and then saying it!