|Volume 3 Issue 1||February 2010|
Two upper-level Computer Information System students, Bryon Sibley and Arlyenna Michaud Cary, spent the fall semester collaborating on a PHP and MySQL project that would provide the CIS faculty with the ability to submit a digital Substitution/Waiver form for approval by the Academic Dean.
A critical part of the application development process was to identify an information technology project that required software development within the scope of the students' academic experiences. Dr. Szakas suggested that the students develop a software application that would automate the CIS Course Substitution/Waiver process and provide a way for faculty to review prior substitution/waiver approvals.
To determine the requirements of the project, the software team interviewed the end users (the CIS faculty) to identify the requirements of the proposed project. During this phase, the students reviewed the current user documents and the process in place to determine the features and functionality that needed to be included in the electronic application. At the end of this process, the students were able to write a proposal for a independent study project detailing the software product that would be generated.
Upon acceptance of the proposal by the CIS faculty, the students determined which programming tools should be used to develop the software application. Initially they considered XML for its data transportability, but ultimately determined that the PHP and MySQL duo would provide the most efficient interface between the Web and the student data. During the development phase, the students coded the Web forms and designed and developed the MySql database.
Once the Web interface was complete, the students entered "test" data to assess the functionality of the application. Then the students asked the faculty to comment on the user-centric elements: the navigational experience, form completion times, ease of use, etc. As a result of the reviewers' comments, the students modified the code to meet faculty requirements.
Once the application was approved by the CIS faculty, the files were transferred from a development server to a production environment. At this time, the students considered data security and decided to prohibit direct Web access to the files. A user manual with screenshots of the program was developed to help the end users interface with the new application.
The ultimate goal of a CIS independent study programming project is for the student to actively engage in the complete software development process (planning; implementation; testing and documenting; and deployment and maintenance) and to appreciate the importance of completing each phase of the process. When students complete a functional project that is used by the intended audience, it transforms the project from a lab assignment to a real-world application.
CIS Students Sponsor Geezer2Geek Senior Literacy Classes
Click Geek Gallery to view Geezer, Geek, Geexor and Geek Goddess photos
Geezer2Geek class with student volunteers
Sunday, February 8, 2010, marked the 8th year that the students in the Computer Information Systems program at the University College of Bangor have sponsored a four-week series of Geezer2Geek computer literacy classes. This year, we were able to extend the number of participants from 20 to 30 in our newly expanded computer classroom located in Eastport Hall.
Volunteerism reached a new high as 10 student geeks joined with Her Geekness Diana Kokoska to teach basic computer skills to local area seniors. Volunteers came not only from the Computer Information Systems program but also from many other programs at UCB as well Husson University. Two Geek Goddesses, Jess Cushman and Nevaeh Snow, joined their volunteer parents to sign in the participants.
The first week's curriculum taught basic windows functions such as booting the computer, mastering the mouse, working with windows, starting a program from the start menu, shutting down the computer, handling disks correctly, and managing the desktop. Team 2 were the winners of a competitive Windows Jeopardy game, providing the correct response to "This always displays when you right click the mouse." If you answered "What is a shortcut menu?" you would be correct. The winners received a three-week, all-expense-paid vacation to Geekdom!
Week 2, the "geek wannabes" were exposed to word processing concepts using WordPad, a program that is installed with the Windows operating system. Participants learned to create, edit, and print a document; to format a document; and to save an open a document on flash memory. The reinforcement activity, WordPad Bingo, required the students to recognize the icons that perform many word-processing tasks. Winners received mousepads to tame that computer rodent.
During the third week, the cyber students held the world in their hands as they learned to research information on the Internet using Web addresses and search engines. Did you know that there were actually "Rules of the Game" for searching the Web? A really good tutorial is called Bare Bones 101: A Basic tutorial on Searching the Web. The first Web researchers to find the correct answer to 10 questions on the Internet Scavenger Hunt checklist received a "Geek Certified pin" and Lindt chocolate. Did you know that John's Wayne's given name was actually Marion Mitchell Morrison?
The fourth and final week revolved around electronic mail (e-mail). Many seniors were interested in learning how to send and receive e-mails with attachments. Students were introduced to Google's free e-mail service called Gmail and learned to set up a Gmail account, access Gmail anywhere--anytime, compose and send e-mail messages, read and reply to messages, forward messages, and create group accounts. Participants attached a digital photo of themselves at the Geek2Geek workshop to an e-mail and sent it to a family member.
Each week, refreshments were provided by local area businesses, such as Tim Horton’s, Bell's Orono IGA, Hannaford’s Supermarket, Shaw’s Supermarket, and Dunkin Donuts. Computer-related supplies and prizes for the reinforcement activities were donated by WalMart.
On Sunday, February 28, 30 participants graduated from Geezer 2 Geek and earned the coveted title of Geexor that, by the way, urbandictionary.com defines as "any 'old' person engaging in nerdy activities."
At the ceremony, the Campus Dean of UCB, Gillian Jordan, presented graduation certificates and four gift certificates from local restaurants (Nicky's Cruisin' Diner, Pizza Gourmet, Captain Nick's, and Governor's Restaurant) were raffled. The picture at the right shows our two Geek Goddesses presenting one of the winners with her certificate.
On the left, Joan Hunt, one of the graduating geexors walked away with a quality, recycled laptop, which she intends to use to keep in touch with friends and family.
In the picture on the right, one of the graduating geexors is presented with a certificate. Where's the cap???
For more information about the Computer Information Systems program at the University of Maine at Augusta and to read our Geek2Geek newsletter, visit our program Web site at http://cis.uma.edu.