At the 16th annual International Conference on Computing and Mission (ICCM) in 2005, Dr. Felix Aguilar shared his goal for an increase in real-world missions-related projects that Taylor students could work on. Dan Anderson, a missionary with HCJB Global, approached Dr. Aguilar about building a Radio Planning and Development Database (RPADD) that would help them keep track of their partnership ministries worldwide. So began the collaboration between HCJB and Taylor University.
Fall 2005 students in SYS 390, Information System Analysis (ISA), began analyzing the project and creating conceptual designs for RPADD. During the spring 2006 semester, students in SYS 394, Information System Design (ISD), took these designs and began developing working prototypes. “The whole thrust of this course,” Aguilar said, “is to learn by doing, to do something real.”
Students Tim VanReenen and Nate Todd worked as interns that summer at the HCJB Global Technology Center, in Elkhart, Indiana. During the fall and spring semesters of the 2006–2007 year, Aguilar taught a special projects class to continue development on RPADD, which had turned out to be much more involved than anyone had anticipated.
“During the first two classes [ISA/ISD], I served primarily as ‘client,’ answering questions and providing information to the design teams as they worked,” explained Joshua Gee, Director of Information Security at HCJB Global. “Over the course of that year, I have been working more closely with the students involved in the project. Despite the fact that this has pushed students far out of their academic comfort zone, they have had a consistent can-do attitude about the new challenges they’ve been facing.”
The summer of 2007 saw the return of Taylor students to the HCJB Technology Center: VanReenen, along with Eric Morse, spent their summer working on additional features for RPADD. As of September 2007, VanReenen became a part-time employee for HCJB Global and will continue working on RPADD through next summer.
Taylor’s involvement with HCJB Global over the years has proved that it is possible to integrate missions work and computer science. “There is a desperate need for technical skills on the mission field,” Aguilar said.
“If it weren’t for the enthusiasm and commitment of Taylor University faculty and students, this project would more than likely still be waiting for someone to have time to work on it,” Gee said. “Their excitement and dedication to seeing this project through to completion has been an enormous encouragement to me, and their efforts have provided HCJB Global with a valuable tool.”
(Article written by Liz Goldsmith ’08)
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