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Applied Learning: How IT Can Help Vet Techs

Published on July 25, 2014 by ctannehill

Submitted by Doug Miller, information technology program chair at Broadview University.

Veterinary Technology Program Chair Holly Morss had used a 17 sheet Excel Spreadsheet to track her 1,650 items she might possibly need for inventory and ordering. The system was confusing and cumbersome, and Excel was reaching its limits. Information technology students were looking for a project in their Database Implementation course when the needs of the local veterinary technology department came up.

Miller with information technology student

Morss and Resident Veterinarian Tami Hinderager came to the class, explained their needs, and worked with the students to solve the problem.

The information technology students built the database in Microsoft SQL Server 2010 using a relational model including appropriate indexes, stored procedures and normal forms. In other words, they did it the ‘correct way’ just as corporate America would build a production database to solve a business problem

Concurrently, Denzil Boggs was teaching an advanced Software Development class, and was looking for a real-world application. There was crossover between information technology students, so Denzil and the students decided to write a front-end application in Visual Studio to access the database. The application includes all the forms to read and edit the nine tables in the inventory database.

“I don’t understand any of that IT stuff. All I know is the system works great!” reported Hinderager

In summer quarter, several of the information technology students are taking Business Intelligence, and the plan is to use this same system and develop OLAP Cubes to trend usage.

Databases can be difficult to teach in an academic environment. Linking the people, the business need, the data and a workable solution is rare at this level. The ability to use the same state of the art Microsoft Solutions as are used today to solve corporate America’s business problems will give our students an advantage at interview time. At an interview, our students can say, ‘Yes, I wrote an inventory system, and SQL Server’s Security system can be cumbersome,” and have the hands-on experience to carry on the conversation.

Applied learning projects can solve internal business needs and teach our students real-world business solutions.

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