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University of Michigan School of Information


Ideal Projects

We welcome all project ideas, but there are certain qualities that make a project a better fit for UMSI client-based opportunities. Below you will find more information about which attributes make for an ideal project, and others that are less suitable for client-based courses and programs. Contact [email protected] with any questions you have about UMSI project opportunities.

Qualities of an Ideal Project

  • Compatible outcomes - Because projects are scoped for a specific course or program, projects must result in a deliverable that is aligned with UMSI learning outcomes in order to be matched to a student team. Projects related to user experience research/designdata analysiscivic or community engagement, or libraries/archives/digital curation are well suited for UMSI project opportunities.
  • Organizational capacity - We require both a primary contact and a secondary contact from your organization to be provided for a project. This is necessary so that the secondary contact can communicate and support the students in the event that the primary contact is unavailable.
  • Clear communication - Consistent communication between clients and their student team is essential for a project’s success. You should be prepared to meet with your student team on a weekly or biweekly cadence and answer emails in a consistent and timely manner throughout the project.
  • Suitable timing - UMSI students will provide deliverables in accordance with the academic pacing of their course or program. Projects should have a flexible timeline, or a timeline that aligns with UMSI’s academic offerings.
  • Sustainable - Ideal projects result in an outcome that can be utilized by your organization. Therefore, it’s important that you have resources to implement and maintain the deliverable without the students’ support after the project concludes. Note: Hiring a UMSI intern is a great option for additional support after the project is completed.
  • Accessible - As soon as the project begins, students will need access to any systems, data and users that are integral to the project scope. Any barriers or uncertainty surrounding students’ access must be resolved before a project can be matched to a student team.
  • Stable - It is important that the systems and tools central to the project scope remain stable throughout the project’s timeline. Any anticipated product launches or shifting iterations could disrupt students’ progress on a project.

Projects Typically Not Suitable for UMSI Courses And Programs

  • Projects that require professional-level work. UMSI student teams are not interns or employees for your organization, so they should not be expected to produce work at the same frequency or volume as someone you would hire onto your team. Note: If hiring a UMSI student intern is better suited to support your organizational needs, you can learn more about internships here.
  • Projects that are mission critical. If the core mission and day-to-day operations of your organization depend on the success of a project, then it is not a good fit for a student team. 
  • Projects with too small of a scope. Projects that result in deliverables like data entry, data collection, scanning documents or updating website content are not advanced enough to align with the learning outcomes of UMSI client-based courses and programs.
  • Projects with too large of a scope. Projects that involve students in large scale application deployments or building entire websites are too intensive to be completed within the timeline of UMSI client-based courses and programs. 
  • Projects that do not align with UMSI learning outcomes. Projects that are focused on deliverables like social media content creation, videography, conducting market research or leading focus groups do not align with the expertise of UMSI students.

Explore our project opportunities and previous project examples to learn more about how UMSI students can support your organization through client-based courses and programs.

Interested in hosting a project? Submit a project idea for consideration.