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Volume 3 Issue 3---Attention: The Geek2Geek newsletter is a quarterly publication for the Geeks by the Geeks. Please submit articles and pictures for publication to Diana Kokoska---August 2010

picture of Dean Joe Szakas

Your Greatness

Some are born great, some achieve greatness, and some have greatness thrust upon them.

On July 1, 2010, the Coordinator of the Computer Information Systems department, Dr. Joseph Szakas, transferred to a new position within the University as Interim Dean of the College of Professional Studies and Associate Provost. I guess the question facing us now is "how do we address Dr. Szakas in his new role?" Do we call him "Dean Szakas," "Associate Provost Szakas," "Your Greatness," or simply "Joe" (the programming instructor that rumor has "gives really challenging tests").

His new office is located at 140 Jewett Hall on the Augusta campus. His e-mail remains the same -- and you may call 207.621.3288 to reach the College office and the Administrative Associate Terry Lawson.

A new, full-time faculty member, Mark Goodridge, will assume some of Dr. Szakas' teaching responsibilities and Diana Kokoska will become the Academic Coordinator for the Computer Information Systems department. Although, "Joe" will not be teaching for the CIS department during the fall semester, he has expressed an interest in returning to the classroom to teach one class in the spring.

Good luck to all three in their new positions!

Mark Goodridge, New CIS Faculty

picture of Mark Goodrige

For CIS students, Mark Goodridge is a familiar face, having taught CIS220 Hardware and Software and CIS240 Networking Concepts on both the Bangor and Augusta campuses, Java at the Augusta campus, and several CIS classes at the URock Center. As a CIS department, we are pleased to have Mr. Goodridge join our faculty in a full-time capacity.

Mr. Goodridge will be teaching CIS220 Hardware and Software and CIS214 Programming: Java at the Augusta campus, CIS240 Networking Concepts at the Bangor campus, and CIS212 Visual Basic at the URock center during the fall semester. He will be holding regular office hours at both the Augusta and Bangor campuses. Mr. Goodridge will move into the Dr. Szakas' former office in the Student Technology Center in Augusta (telephone number: 207.621.3181) and on the second floor of Lewiston Hall on the Bangor campus (telephone number: 207.262.7854).

Summer CIS100 Course Offering a Success

picture of cis100 textbook

Although the course evaluations are not official, Instructor Diana Kokoska is ready to pronounce the first online offering of CIS100 Introduction to Computing a huge success. The summer course began in early May with two live "Welcome Workshops" offered at the Augusta and Bangor campuses respectively. Kokoska developed a "Blackboard Tour Guide" to acclimate first-time students to the course and have them interactively engage with the computer while learning how to navigate the Blackboard content management system. In early May, students received a welcome letter providing them with instructions on how to log into Blackboard.

Kokoska remembers saying "I will never teach CIS100 Introduction to Computing online; how can we teach students to use technology when they need to use the technology to learn?" A year ago, she would have expected to be dragged kicking and screaming at the mere mention of this absurd idea. But as her live CIS100 classes attracted more and more technology savvy students, she realized it was time for a "90-day trial version" of CIS100 online.

With a number of excellent teaching tools (a textbook with an interactive video, a new software that allowed her to videotape lectures, and communication by phone and e-mail), Kokoska feels students in the online class demonstrated the ability to apply the course concepts in hands-on assessment activities, and she is confident that the students have learned valuable skills which they will be able to use throughout their academic experience and beyond.

Initially the CIS department offered two live courses in CIS100 in both Augusta and Bangor for the fall semester 2010 and one online class with a 50-student capacity. It did not take long for the online class to fill, and a second class was opened. Again, this class reached capacity within a week, and a third class was opened and is attracting new students each day. The new classes are being staffed by Carol Welch Churchill and Catherine Demchur-Merry. This puts the CIS program one step further toward its goal of offering all of its classes at a distance as well as live.

Come Out, Come Out, Webever You Are

pictures of all the sites used as a sitemap

Click a thumbnail of a site to visit the gateway site

I am willing to bet that most of you have been an online shopper, but how many have been on the other side of the computer screen -- the owner of an online store that digitally sells goods or services?

During the past 15 weeks, 24 online Web entrepreneurs from the online CIS438 E-commerce class spent a semester designing and developing a gateway site and online store for a real or pseudo client. Although many of these students had never physically met, they formed four Web development teams with diverse skillsets and learned the dynamics of teamwork as they used technology (e-mail, chat, and skype) to digitally communicate with each other. In addition to the hands-on skills required to install and configure the osCommerce shopping cart students learned team etiquette, researched a variety of e-commerce topics (such as selecting and registering a domain name, blogs and the role they play in marketing, pricing strategies for Web design, online payment options, breadcrumb navigation, and search engine optimization), and developed a pricing matrix to vend Web design and development services.

picture of presentation

On Wednesday, August 11, the leader/communicator role member of each team showcased the team gateway site and online store to a panel of IT professionals with experience in the Web arena and an audience of classmates from the CIS438 class. We would like to thank the panel members: DeeDee Reardon, Tom Abbott, and Melody Weeks for critiquing the sites and providing professional commentary.

picture of luncheon

Following the presentations, the Advising Center, through a College Success MELMAC grant, funded a delicious luncheon for the class members and the IT panel. This opportunity to network with professionals in the field and to meet team members was the perfect encore for an excellent performance.

As a class, the students would like to extend a special thank you to the IT panel and to Jan Bunford, College Success Coordinator, in Advising at UMA who planned our luncheon event.

So what follows the final curtain call? For two of the Web development clients (Gnome Kingdom and Kid's Room), it is on to the next performance -- moving the hi-fi prototype from the development site to a live site and transferring the shipping and payment modules from testing to implementation.

What in Heck is a Web Page

picture of PHP book

Professor Diana Kokoska recalls the day in 2000 that Dean Marianne Steinhacker --for those of you who don't recognize the name, she was the Dean of Math and Professional Studies before Dean Bean -- returned her call in response to an application as an adjunct instructor in the Computer Information Systems program at UCB. Diana was between jobs, having left her teaching position at Washington County Community College in Calais when she and her family moved to Bangor. Dean Steinhacker asked if she could teach Web Design and Development in the fall. Diana quickly answered, "I'd love to." The standing joke is that when she hung up the phone, she turned to her husband and said "What in heck is a Web page?" As most of you know, Professor Kokoska now teaches most of the courses in the Web design and development area for UMA.

A long introduction to the rest of the story.... This fall, Diana Kokoska has the unique opportunity to teach CIS333 Web Programming: PHP using the textbook PHP Programming with MySQL // second edition that she co-authored in 2010 with another IT professional (a UMA CIS alumnus), Robert Easterbrooks.

The book is published by Cengage Learning and can be reviewed at the Cengage Learning textbook site. Simply type kokoska in the "Enter author, title, ISBN or keyword" textbox and at the "Select Catalog" prompt, click the down arrow and select "School Catalog," Press the Search button to view a Product Overview of this textbook and its authors..

Women Count

logo for 2010 Maine Women's Studies Conference

A post-baccalaureate CIS Student Martha Williams (Marty) put her Web design and development skills to the test as she volunteered to build a Web site for the Maine Women's Studies Conference. Just put yourself in Marty's shoes -- she has completed all of her English requirements, and then who heads up this conference? -- a group of English professors from the Bangor campus. Now in addition to building a pleasing, functional Web site, she has to be sure she uses the correct language syntax

The link, is a shameless ploy to have you visit the Web site. If you are interested in learning about Women in Curriculum issues, you may find the fall conference an enlightening experience. An online registration form will be available very soon.

Marty's immediate supervisor, Kay Retzlaff, who is the chair of the Women in Curriculum Committee at UCB and co-chair of the Conference Planning Committee, was impressed by her professionalism and her ability to develop a site "by committee." You all know what that means -- everyone has a different idea of how it should be designed and it's up the Web developer to sort through the myriad of ideas and, in the best scenario, please everyone and in the worst scenario, please no one. I think you will agree that Marty's application of html, css, Javascript, XML, and PHP has resulted in a very professional Web site that will serve the goals of the Maine Women's Studies Consortium.

Marty's faculty mentor, Diana Kokoska, was especially pleased that the Computer Information Systems program was able to provide information technology services to another department within the University. If you have a specific project that you think might qualify as an internship experience, please contact Diana Kokoska to discuss your idea. An internship is a learning experience for the student and does not require monetary compensation, but the mentoring organization may choose to award a stipend.

--Your online source for up-to-date information about your geek community--

Professor Diana Kokoska
Computer Technology/Web Programming
Telephone: 207-262-7864
Professor Mark Goodridge
Telephone: 207-621-3181
Professor Robert Roper
Computer Science/Business
Telephone: 207-262-7862