The MSc in Electronic Commerce at DCU is very firmly grounded in the reality of the Information Age, and this fact is evidenced nowhere more so than in the Practicum". Running from mid May to August, the practicum represents one of the most challenging, yet rewarding aspects of this Masters programme, and gives students the opportunity to put into practice the skills they have developed over the first two semesters. Here, students from both streams collaborate to build a prototype e-commerce system to solve a real-world problem (innovative) or to exploit a real-world opportunity (entrepreneurial).
The projects undertaken may be provided by corporate clients or involve some of the students' own ideas. Students are organised into appropriately sized teams comprising individuals of varying backgrounds and skill sets to cover both the business and technical aspects of the problem being addressed.
Although the exact nature and schedule of the practicum will vary from team to team, indicative activities have been identified. These activities are likely to include some of the following: interviewing client personnel and potential solution users; conducting market research; transforming client needs into a requirements document; determining the financing required; establishing project feasibility; producing a business plan; building a project plan; identifying any strategy and structure implications for the organisation; designing the new or re-engineered business processes; developing a system design that includes hardware, software and a human interface component; and building a working prototype suitable for hand-over to and testing by the client.
Following completion of the practicum, the solution arrived at by each team will be presented to the program participants and lecturers.