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Volume 4 Issue 1 ---Attention: The Geek2Geek newsletter is a quarterly publication for the Geeks by the Geeks. Please submit articles and pictures for publication to Diana Kokoska--- January 2011

Online.Maine Logo

Online Maine

OnlineMaine is the name used by University College as the Web site access point to all University of Maine System degrees and certificates available through online technologies. The Web site located at is currently being updated to include the new UMA academic programs that have been selected for inclusion.

The CIS program is pleased to be a participant in this University-wide program now offering an online degree in Computer Information Systems at the associate, bachelor and post-baccaulaureate level. Essentially, this means that the CIS program will offer all of its program requirements through a wide selection of distance education options, including online, Web streaming, and Interactive Television (ITV).

In order to be advertised and supported by OnlineMaine, each academic program completed a program proposal form which included a four-year schedule of the courses required for the major. These proposals were reviewed by the Chief Academic Officers and the Vice Chancellor of Academic Affairs who discussed the content and determined that the program was ready to move forward to online delivery.

This does not mean that the CIS program is abandoning its face-to-face delivery -- it is simply making its popular computer-related offerings available to a larger audience through enhanced delivery modes. When you physically cross the stage in May to receive your degree, you may be joined by a virtual graduating class -- students with whom you share a special bond through communicating in discussion forums, working together on group projects, and ultimately earning the same academic credentials.

Professional computer education is available now at a monitor near you!

Although these technology-based degree programs may be tagged "distance education," students and instructors find ways to bridge the distance through audio/visual media and innovative classroom interaction. Increasingly, online classes and entire degree programs are a popular alternative to live classroom instruction.

"I am a non-traditional student. I received my bachelor's degree in Education in 1975 and was skeptical that I would succeed attempting another degree. But in 2006, I took two classes at the Augusta campus and was surprised that I did well. I matriculated in 2008 into the University of Maine at Augusta's Post Baccalaureate program for Computer Information Systems.

Of the 14 classes I have taken in this program, 3 of them have been solely online and web-based. I found the instruction was attentive, complete and interactive. The textbook was followed consistently and questions in email were answered within one day or sooner. It is very important to me as a student that my questions are answered quickly so I can finish homework or projects in a timely manner. I also liked that I could call my instructor and either get her on the phone immediately or have her return my call within hours. It's a lot of work for the instructor, but it's very much appreciated by the student.

Another aspect of the web-based online class was the use of teams or partnerships with other students as a means of support. I loved this concept and made friends that I don't think I would have in a traditional classroom. We set up specific dates and times and login to a conference call using Skype. We could all talk to each other, in turns, and work on our assignments, share files and chat if needed. It provided a sense of community and cohesiveness that, as I stated previously, would not necessarily have happened if we were in a traditional classroom setting.

I am now looking for a Master's program and I am checking into online colleges. I am hopeful I find the same level of attentiveness and imagination that I experienced at UMA."

This fall the CIS program will offer its entire curriculum through a variety of distance modalities, including online, ITV, and video streaming, providing a flexible and professional learning environment. Immerse yourself in our multimedia classroom and embrace a variety of delivery styles: lecture videos with class notes, interactive DVD's, hands-on labs, and live video class captures.

Most classes are housed in Blackboard®, a Web-based content management system. This academic resource center provides links to course materials, communication channels, online testing, and an electronic grading center which uploads completed assignments, reviews graded assignments, and previews posted grades.

Blackboard® also provides a supportive forum to communicate and engage with program faculty and online classmates. The screen-to-screen interaction that takes place during group projects simulates the real-world work experience through information technology. The Web developer may live in California, the content provider in Hawaii, and the graphic designer in Maine!

Put your money where your mouse is, and enroll in your first online CIS class today!

More information about our program is available at the UMA's Computer Information Systems Web page. An Associate, Bachelor, or Post-Baccalaureate degree in Computer Information System is just a mouse click away!!

Networking defines networking as

definition of networking


On October 26, Mr. Mark VanLoan, the Director of Network Operations for Oxford Networks, joined the CIS240 Networking Concepts class in Bangor to speak on Wide Area Networking technology. According to instructor Mark Goodridge, the class was fortunate to be addressed by an individual with over twenty years experience in the industry. Mr. VanLoan is responsible for oversight and management of the technical operations and functions of Oxford Networks, including optical transport, installation and repair, central office switching, and the network operations center (NOC).

class picture

The students had a rare opportunity to meet a businessperson who deals with the problems of providing Internet, cable, and telephone access across large areas of urban, suburban, and rural Maine, for both business and private homes on a daily basis. Mr. VanLoan is knowledgeable not only about the technology involved, but also local and regional political and financial issues.

Following the classroom presentation, Mr. VanLoan hosted a plant tour of Oxford Networks Central Office facilities in Bangor. The presentation and plant tour was open to all UMA students, professors, and networking professionals, and Mr. Goodridge was pleased with the college involvement.

When I began researching this company on the Internet, I realized that Oxford Networks was a "Networking" organization in the truest sense of the word. In October, 2010, they were honored for the fifth consecutive year as a "Best Places to Work" company in the state of Maine. But it was the community involvement aspect that caught my attention with headlines reading Waterfront Concerts rocked the Bangor Waterfront with help from Oxford Networks, Oxford Networks Donates Bicycles to Benefit Local Children, Oxford Networks Team Responds with Fast and Flexible Service, Oxford Networks Receives Congressional Record Commendation.

Welcome Workshops

picture of cis100 textbook

CIS100, Introduction to Computing, is a basic computer literacy course taken by students in almost every academic discipline. During the spring semester, this class is being offered face-to-face and via the Web. To introduce first-time online students to the Blackboard content management system, instructor Catherine Demchur-Merry will be hosting an optional "Welcome Workshop" in both Bangor and Augusta prior to the start of classes. Ms. Demchur-Merry will offer three online CIS100 this spring.

This is the perfect opportunity for self-proclaimed "computer illiterates" to meet their instructor, walk-through the Blackboard Tour Guide (a required text for CIS100 students), and enjoy some social interaction (a pizza party) with other students who will soon become their virtual classmates.

During the course, students will be encouraged to actively engage with the learning video and participate in the interactive "Geekardy" game that is part of the computer concepts learning activity. Students have an opportunity to move from a "Geek Wannabe" to a "Certified Geek." Those who make the Top 10 list will be sent Geek Certified keychains.

An Old Friendship Renewed

picture of Web site

For the past five years the Computer Information Systems internship program has enjoyed an esteemed corporate partnership. Eastern Maine Development Corporation has provided valuable Web design and development opportunities for our students. This relationship has proved mutually beneficial; the students gain experience working with a real client and the client receives a professionally designed Web site to promote his/her business.

Melody Weeks, the Project Director of the Disadvantaged Business Enterprises Supportive Services, (DBE) recently informed us that she has received continuing funding and will continue to support one or two Web-related internship positions each semester.

During the fall semester, Shelly Ingall's client, Janet Williams of Tactical Management Resources, needed a corporate Web site to promote her Maine-based business. Through electronic and direct communication, Shelly and her client agreed on a "look and feel" and Shelly went to work designing a banner, developing a layout and button navigation that works for a document and editing firm. According to her organizational sponsor, "The interaction provided a great opportunity for Shelly to get hands-on experience as not only an account executive, but also as a web designer and developer."

Shelly's familiarity with Web 2.0 technologies allowed her to incorporate a newsletter feature using a "blogging" software called WordPress. To view the published site, click Tactical Management Resources, LLC.

This spring semester, two students in the Computer Information Systems program are gaining hands-on experience in Web Design and Development through our academic/professional partnership with Eastern Maine Development Corporation.

Tech Trends

Web banner

Eliminate the catchy name, and web 2.0 is simply a new generation of web sites that relies on user-generated content and online collaboration, such as file sharing, blogs, social networking, wikis, podcasts, and RSS feeds, to create a rich user experience. This shift in focus for web design became popular following the first O'Reilly Web Media 2.0 conference in 2004.

But there is another side to web 2.0... and that is the design trends reflected in the most popular Web sites. Staples of this paradigm are a simple, noise free site with bold, bright colors, enormous fonts, rounded corners, tab browsing, glossy buttons, badges, image reflections and icons with a 3-D effect.

How could one not notice the shift to vibrant colors, such as orange and neon green (which some have jokingly dubbed the "official color of Web 2.0")? Mini-headers have been replaced by large text-rich headers -- the bigger, the better. (Banner above the outcome of online tutorial at <>). Page backgrounds are characterized by the use of subtle gradients and stripes. Menus in web 2.0 have a trendy new look that allows users to easily navigate the site. Buttons tend to be large and clearly labeled. The major design principle is simplicity. Table layouts have been supplanted by layouts formatted exclusively with CSS. The text content is usually a fixed width, centered horizontally on the page, with plenty of whitespace on either side.

And what does all of this have to do with you? The Computer Information Systems program is currently developing a new course, "Web Authoring Tools: Web 2.0 Design and Graphic Development, which introduces students to web 2.0 design principles. Hands-on video tutorials (called the "Coyote Clips") demonstrate how to create visually appealing web.2.0 graphic elements with GIMP, an open source image manipulation program. These graphics will be incorporated into headers and navigation menus and integrated with CSS to design a user-centric interface that is characteristic of a web 2.0 site. This would be a great class for those who have taken CIS131 Web Applications and simply want to learn more about Web design and creating personalized graphic elements.

--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