Students continue 2011 mission with Bible Translation & Literacy Kenya

Friday, May 25, 2012

 

During fall 2010 and spring 2011, three Corban business students created software that made the jobs of missionary Bible translators in Kenya easier.

Throughout the 2011/2012 school year, three Corban students accepted the challenge to improve the software created for Bible Translation & Literacy, Kenya, and make it available for free to missions organizations around the world.

It wasn’t an easy undertaking, but Ben Funkhouser, Kevin Straw and Jordan Keck took the existing 6,000 lines of code and made it stronger.

“We used the basic framework and standardized it,” Keck said. “This makes it easier for BTL to get support and for it to be standardized for other nations.”

The program, dubbed HyperSnail HRM, is an open source program that allows human resources personnel in areas with very low bandwidth or sporadic internet to stay connected with its missionaries in the field. The program works with as little as 1 kbps, far less than dial-up connections of the early 1990s in the U.S.

Conversations about how to improve the previously installed program started in summer 2011.

“We collected a lot of data and research from them,” Keck said. “We assessed their current and future needs. The biggest change was to normalize it so BTL could get the support they need from other resources.”

In late January, the trio left for Kenya to install the new program and develop relationships with those who would use it.

“We tried to learn as much as we could about BTL’s culture and atmosphere,” Keck said. “We didn’t want to bring our assumptions of what they needed or what would work best, but instead to meet the needs they actually had.”

The HyperSnail HRM program is currently available as open-source software and can be adapted by any organization that needs it. It can be accessed through HyperSnail.com.

Following the mission in Kenya, the three students traveled to Amsterdam to attend a technology conference before returning to Oregon. They highlighted their work to Corban business faculty, students and guests as part of their graduation requirements during the Corban Consulting Partners presentations on April 19

On May 5, Keck and Funkhouser received their degrees during Corban’s Commencement celebration.

Keck graduated from Corban with a degree in business management and is currently planning a wedding. He is looking to begin a career in business and marketing. Funkhouser graduated with a business degree in Computer Information Systems.

Straw will return to Corban as a senior in fall 2012 and is also planning a summer 2012 wedding. He owns Onkoi Studio, a web development company and will continue as a BTL volunteer supporting the HyperSnail HRM program.

  • Kevin Straw, Benjamin Funkhouser and Jordan Keck modified and installed software to help BTL, Kenya stay in communication with missionaries.

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