For the third year, Major League Baseball (MLB) has partnered with Syracuse University’s School of Information Sciences to give students real life experience, and the league new ideas for fan engagement. The annual contest provides students the opportunity to pitch their ideas for real challenges created by the MLB. This year’s challenge was use the trend of “gamification” to create an application, webpage, or other form of technology that MLB.com’s community can use.
“The winning project, presented a way to merge all of the social media documents that a single game might produce — smartphone photos, tweets, Facebook status updates, etc. — into a single interface. The project’s creators, though, didn’t actually build the project, rather presented it through a series of mock-ups. “It’s not the most technical project that wins — but the best idea,” Rubin stated, adding that this approach makes the competition an interdisciplinary challenge that’s open to students of all backgrounds, rather than just engineers or computer science majors.
Students were presented with the challenge in the evening and worked throughout the night to develop proposals to present to the MLB staff the next day. History has shown that all their hard work pays off. In past years, the contest has led some students to job opportunities, while alerting students to the way technology now factors into virtually all academic disciplines.
“This year’s winning team, which devised a novel spin on fantasy baseball, was composed entirely of sophomores, so it won’t be immediately clear if the competition’s legacy of spurring job opportunities will continue. But with students from varied backgrounds encouraged to participate, Syracuse’s program represents a fine model for helping students find jobs, as well as encouraging technological innovation to flourish in more places.”