Tue, 13 Apr, 2021

DWIT: A College IT Startup Incubator

By Craig Appl

Kathmandu is ripe with tech innovation for Nepalese by Nepalese. We have taken the first steps to ensure our students learn beyond the standard CSIT curriculum by doing. So much, in fact, that we have started a startup incubator based on student project ideas. Ankit Pradhan described our intentions to “being heralded as the best BSc. CSIT college in Nepal” in his July 21st article titled DWIT : A True Technology College. I want to expound upon his article and share some of the academic innovations we developed toward this goal. Every DWIT student is responsible for completing two individual projects and one group project by the end of their 4 year BSc. CSIT program. To best facilitate students, we created a non-credit synthesis course that goes beyond the standard CSIT curriculum. Students meet weekly to develop and foster their individual product ideas. This synthesis course combines pieces from all classes with new material on product development. As we learn, we are walking through the product development lifecycle from idea generation through completion and eventual destruction at the end of the product’s useful life. The synthesis course curriculum begins in the first year with idea generation, brainstorming and defining the market. The second year focuses on translating the market research into functional produce requirements, software requirements specifications and building the minimum viable product. The third and fourth years focus on iterating and maintaining their products. This entire process is built on trial and error. We expect products to fail and include instruction in securely destroying systems that have been built. However, when they fail, we coach students toward developing their next idea. This structure is just like startup incubators across the world. DWIT and Deerwalk Services provide experts with vast IT experience, project work is engrained in the curriculum and students are encouraged to develop their ideas in small, zero cost environments until they are ready to deploy their first minimum viable product. DWIT has become a college startup incubator.