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Oregon Tech Students use Technology to help Klamath Falls Non-profit Connect Families to their Deceased Relatives

Feb 11, 2015
Students from Oregon Tech's Information Technology team work with Malin Cemetery to create a database of records.

021115 Malin Cemetary When the Malin Cemetery Board needed help developing a database of the location and history of its cemetery plots, Lester Neumeyer, the Board’s President, contacted the Oregon Institute of Technology. The university’s Information Technology students had helped the nonprofit Board before to build its website, and Neumeyer thought that Oregon Tech might be able to develop a database application that would assist the Malin Cemetery with its record keeping system.

After a few weeks of planning, students who are enrolled in Assistant Professor Bren Raffaelly’s Information Technology course at Oregon Tech began working with their newest “client” the Malin Cemetery. “These projects are excellent opportunities for students to experience an entire systems development lifecycle process,” explained Raffaelly, who has been teaching the course for 2 years.

The database application will help Klamath Falls residents and visitors to easily locate their loved ones in Malin Cemetery. It will also help the Malin Cemetery staff create, manage and store the cemetery data. The paper-based system they currently use is not as efficient, searchable or easy to use as an electronic database of information.

Neumeyer said, “We are pleased to have a willing partnership with Oregon Tech’s Information Technology class in helping get our handwritten records brought up to the computer age.” By updating their records, Neumeyer hopes to have a system in place that will make it easier to look up specific plot information, for example. The database will also make it much easier for the Board to store and retrieve information.

The students’ engagement with local organizations to solve community problems is a key component of Oregon Tech’s hands-on, applied approach to learning in the field and on-the-job. “Our class works on local business projects while learning how those projects are managed and completed,” commented Oregon Tech student Floyd Young, a junior who is managing the student-led project. “We are really excited to do this project with the Malin Cemetery Board, and gaining direct experience that will help us once we’re in the workforce.”

The course the students are in, Systems Analysis II, requires teams to work with clients to help analyze and define the business requirements that the project will satisfy. The students then create documentation and models for a proposed system, in this case, a database application. Finally, the students build and implement the application for the client. The skill sets students utilize in these real world projects are systems analysis, database development, computer programming, user and technical documentation, and training. All of the projects the students work on in the course need to be smaller to medium sized projects that can be completed within the 10-week timeframe of the class.

Students are currently in the process of building the database for the cemetery and expect to have the project completed in mid-March.

For more information regarding the project or to inquire about how the Information Technology Department can assist your organization, contact Bren Raffaelly at 541-885-0948 or bren.raffaelly@oit.edu.

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