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Student team streamlines staff workflow

A screenshot of a form.

A team of students created coerequest.missouri.edu for submitting tickets for fiscal, human resources and marketing or communication tasks.

In October, MU introduced the College of Engineering’s new administrative work request site – a project largely spearheaded and implemented by a team of students.

The core developing group — Yongfang Qing, Joshua Thompson, Han Song, Mason Breece, Benjarit Hotrabhavananda, and Huiming Sun, as well as their supervising faculty Dong Xu and Nick Wergeles of the IT Department — created coerequest.missouri.edu for submitting tickets for fiscal, human resources and marketing or communication tasks.

According to team member, the project kicked off in early May, and the group was hard at work in the months following.

“We would do a weekly meeting and hang out in the office together and work on whatever each individual’s task was for that day,” he said. “There were a couple of other students working with us, but for the most part it was a team of 10.”

Kieran Chang, Nijaporn Hotrabhavananda and Allen Bradley were additional contributors. Staff members Brenna Naufel and Brandon Rodewald also provided technical help, and the central administrative staff was involved in beta-testing the site’s functions.

“[A] user will submit a form, and the form needs to be verified by some manager or administrator, some upper-level individual,” Breece continued. “And once it’s approved, the other workers can execute it.”

The site typically handles tasks such as extra comp and travel authorization requests, as well as website revisions. For turnaround, a response can be expected within the next business day.

According to Breece, the team roles were split up evenly.

“We had some people working on backend stuff and the data base area, and then we had other people working on the front and user database,” he said. “There was a pretty large variety of technical skills they were using.”

While the group leaned on faculty supervisors Xu and Wergeles, the team of students worked very independently.

“Most of it was done solo,” Breece said. “We relied on each other to ask questions. We probably only went to our advisors maybe once a week. We would bring up any concerns or any problems we had the previous week, and they would address them.”

For Breece, the nearly six month-long assignment was the ultimate growing opportunity.

“I probably learned more doing 20-30 hours a week on it as opposed to taking a class or two of a similar description,” he confessed. “I feel like doing it helped me a lot.”

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