The second-year students of Washington County Community College’s Computer Technology program recently completed their individually-designed capstone projects and shared them with one another. The efforts of students were varied and ranged from publishing websites, creating printer servers, building a roleplaying game, and writing a book on computer terms.
For Eben Slicer of Columbia Falls, the capstone project was the perfect opportunity for him to combine two of his interests: art and computer design. Slicer had previously taken art classes at the college. “After the first semester of art here, I really wanted to share my art,” Slicer explained. He utilized an online hosting service called Yooco to build www.artyou.yooco.org with the goal of creating a professional site that would serve as a social network for artists of any skill level and medium to share their art. Users are able to comment on each other’s pieces, send private messages, post on a forum, and chat with one another. Slicer’s website is open to the public and he encourages all artists to post. “I can’t promise I’ll like it, but I will look at it and give feedback.”
Johanan Tapao of Calais similarly used the capstone project to explore one of his personal passions: roleplaying games. Tapao explained that he has been interested in games since he was five, and that he recently discovered RPGMaker. Using RPGMaker, he created a game with a custom storyline, map, events, and vendors after studying online tutorials extensively. While the game is small and still in need of bug-removal, Tapao is pleased with his first attempt at game-making. “I’m really interested in making games,” Tapao emphasized.
For both Ryan Mumme of Eastport and Adam Lanahan of Princeton, the capstone project represented a way to demonstrate what they had learned over the past two years. Mumme created a printer server to consolidate all of the college’s printers into one location. By doing so, the college would be able to see the status of each of its 26 printers, including whether it is printing a document, how many documents are in queue, if it is running the latest drivers, the ink status, or if the printer is offline. Mumme completed the task of creating the server in a virtual environment. Lanahan made a Powerpoint with multiple videos about how to use and access Windows 10 hidden features, such as Task Manager, Sticky Notes, and the notification center. Nine features were showcased altogether in the presentation. Lanahan also planned to offer WCCC’s first-ever livestream of the graduation ceremony.
Michael Remillard of Grand Lake Stream, who describes himself as “twice as old as one or two of the students and three times as old as the rest”, wanted to create a capstone project that would have enduring meaning for himself and others. Noting that most computer textbooks are “written by computer geniuses using genius language”, Remillard decided to write a book using simple language. Writing the book helped him in classes as it gave him the opportunity to refresh his understanding gained over the last two years. He has self-published books before and plans to publish this one as well.
One student, Mike Perez of Brockton, Massachusetts, found himself deeply engrossed in his project after he decided to not only integrate what he had learned over the past two years but to take on unfamiliar elements as well. As a fan of basketball, Perez has recognized that some statistics were computed in ways that he found less than adequate for a proper recounting of the player’s performance in the game. Perez compiled his own basketball statistics from watching five games, using a definition for possessions as any “instance a team gains full control of the ball and the shot clock is reset to 24 seconds.” Perez’s task was then to feature the data he collected; he proceeded to design a website from the ground up using HTML code written into a simple Notepad document. “It started out as a small idea but as work began it manifested into a multilayer project,” Perez said. Perez had never worked with HTML code and estimates that between the coding and creating a short introductory video on the website he spent at least 80 hours on the project. “I was able to show a little bit of skill and knowledge in the things we covered in addition to learning a bit more,” Perez said. “I’m the better for it. It wasn’t part of the plan, but it was good for me to have that kind of exposure.” Perez’s website is now viewable at www.allstats.biz.