Marshall Computer Science assists with state academic calendar


The Weisberg Division of Computer Science in the College of Information Technology and Engineering has provided assistance to the West Virginia Department of Education (WVDE) to shorten the school calendar submission and approval process.

The academic calendar project was part of the Faculty Mentored Internship Program (FMIP), designed by Marshall’s Weisberg Division of Computer Science and the WVDE, with the support of State Superintendent of Schools Dr. Steve L. Paine, “to provide a stream of well-trained, talented computer science students to provide IT solutions to WVDE under the faculty mentorship,” said Dr. Wook-Sung Yoo, professor and chair of the Weisberg Division of Computer Science.

“The project with the West Virginia Department of Education sets an excellent example of the benefits of involving our students in real-world challenges of our state partners while still under the supervision of their faculty mentors,” said Dr. Wael Zatar, dean of the College of Information Technology and Engineering.

WVDE sought help from Marshall’s computer science program to implement a computer application that would fully automate the West Virginia School Calendar submission process, making both the submission and approval processes more efficient, said Teresa Hammond, assistant director of the Office of Early and Elementary Learning.

“The process was inefficient, taking roughly four months and countless WVDE employees, county school personnel, and hours of review and revision before the school calendars could be published for general use,” she said.

Marshall students Geoffrey Samples, Adam Roberts, Aleksandr Aksenov and Robert Gaum were assigned to the project. In the spring of 2017, a prototype of the project was created by a comprehensive project team. A commercial-level product was developed by the FMIP team in four months, under the mentorship by Dr. Paulus Wahjudi, an associate professor of computer science, and in collaboration with the IT team at the WVDE, led by Tim Conzett.

Before this project, the process of submitting a calendar for approval often took months to make sure that state code was met and instructional days counted properly.

“The new web application automatically validates the calendar by adhering to West Virginia Code and West Virginia Board of Education Policy, drastically reducing the time devoted to the back-and-forth of rejection and resubmission,” Hammond said.

The project was successfully released in March of 2018, and the team is currently working on their next project, an online management tool for special education.

“The school calendar project is an excellent example of how Marshall can work with industry partners to create valuable products to the community,” Yoo said. “The Weisberg Division of Computer Science has been working with various local organizations such as the City of Huntington, Strictly Business, RCBI and Unlimited Future Inc. to provide software and IT solutions as service learning projects.

“We appreciate that the West Virginia Department of Education supports this program to provide an exceptional opportunity for Marshall students to learn through work.”

“Collaborations with local organizations have proven to be of great benefit to both CITE students and the respective agencies, allowing us to participate in the industries and agencies while simultaneously providing growth opportunities for CITE faculty, students and staff,” Zatar said.

The collaboration has been a wonderful opportunity, Hammond agreed.

“We are thrilled to have worked with such amazing students and professors to promote the importance of providing real-world experiences to students, while also creating a platform that will better serve K-12 educators and county officials throughout the state,” Hammond said. “We value the expertise institutions of higher education bring to collaborative endeavors, and strive to demonstrate our commitment by developing lasting relationships that are mutually beneficial.”

For more information, contact Yoo at yoow@marshall.edu or 304-696-5452.