Learning online is not an easy task. The big plus of being able to work at your own pace, on your own time, is offset by the amount of discipline it requires. It also means you do not have access to teachers and classmates the same way on the same schedule as you do for normal learning. It makes it all the more important to have proper habits for studying and absorbing material.
1. The value of a schedule:
This is perhaps the most important to me. It is key to get into the habit of studying. Having a design time and space to study means means you can prepare ahead of time for it and is no longer a chore as much as a habit. It also helps you realize how long each task can and will take time, and time can be distributed properly.
2. Extracting the Important Details
This is a difficult step but I have found it incredibly important. Unlike conventional learning where extracting the details is helped by a teacher during lecture; online learning requires the student to often times figure it out from material. Reading and making the connections between past ideas is particularly important as it facilitates the retention of the material as well.
3. Taking Notes
Normally this is regular business for me. I’m an avid note taker, and often write everything in the board (or take pictures) and jolt down main ideas of what the teacher is saying. Online courses make this a different process, but it will require similar skills. Having the advantage to stop, and playback videos makes it convenient to not take notes, but they should still be taken as the writing portion not only helps to reference material but retain it as well.
Project Management Basics
For all ideas and projects a company may have, only a few make it to the market and even fewer make it out of development. Some of those issues can be tracked to failure in scope, time, or even funding. To succeed, it is important to not only understand the project, but also have someone that can help lead the project. A project manager can be helpful not only in organizing the project, but gathering requirements and scoping work.
It is also important to create breakdown-structures that reflect what it takes for each phase to be accomplished as well as the work on each phase. Using a tree structure, the work can then be represented as a breakdown of tasks and deliverable. For instance, a Project may have a phase, a phase may have a deliverable, and the deliverable a work package. This will help organize a project in such way that each component is accounted for.
However, to further organize work, it would be important to use tools like Gantt Charts. This are breakdowns of the time required to accomplish each work package. They help illustrate the total amount of time per package, for the project as well as the connected dependencies within the timeline. Ultimately, all these tools are aim to make the project structure less chaotic and more predictable allowing the people involved in the project to allocate time and resources and minimize the amount of blind spots to bring a product to fruition.
PUSD IT Management System (Summer 2018)
This was an incredibly interesting and complete project. The presentation was very clean and well thought out. I particularly liked how intimately familiar he was with the problem, the history of the struggle for the school staff and the background he provided even going into the funding the school received previous to this project.
He used a wide range of technologies and created an interface that was very easy to use. I was surprised by the amount of both work and care that went into this project. It’s a comprehensive solution to ticketing and inventory that is further hooked into google for authentication and with the school district student database. The system has a full list of the staff, the tickets and inventory. Finally the system has both import and export of data via CSV which makes it easier to update data and makes that data easy to consume by other external system. It offers a full IT solution for the school district with what seems like very little setup for them to maintain.
Ultimately this system seems to really seems to solve the friction the staff was suffering from previously working through inventory in spreadsheets and complex ticketing system. This sets the minimum benchmark for how I’d like my presentation to go and the comprehensiveness of the project.
Lab Resource Manager App (Summer 2018)
This was an interesting application to me. It solves a very specific issue with a very narrow subset of customers. Mostly that the LRM database is designed to be used on a computer and not a device, making it difficult for technicians to update where items are in the lab/warehouse.
The presentation overall was good. There are some specific things that could have been easily done to improve it. Recording the screen of a cellphone is always problematic. Instead, Jason could have used a screen capture application the browser mobile development version or even a tripod to keep the target cellphone in focus and avoid shaking. Recording the presentation you can hear clicking which can be distracting. However, the presentation shows all the features of the application in action and it’s easy to follow.
The application is at first glance a simple inventory search and tracking management system hooked into the company database and using a REST. But there are two factors that make it stand out to me. The use of the camera to register scan bar codes is a great piece of integration that users would appreciate. Typing on mobile is not always great, specially in the field and with long string of numbers and letters. Last, the fact that it is specifically geared and designed for mobile device as a web interface. Keeping it simple means any device can support it without needing to setup anything. Having safety features like validating the position of items on a shelf is an great, real world case scenario.
I think he also touches some things i’m already dreading about capstone. Mostly working alone and keeping motivation when there is no one to even look at your code. I think the honesty on his struggle for the project was important advice for future students.
To me this is a very successful project because it solves a real problem, it’s practical and clean and combines design, architecture, features, and integration with other systems.
Quicipes (Summer 2018)
Overall, this was an OK presentation. As a whole it was clear and concise and explain well what each part of the website was. The introduction was long and with the static images for each slide that did not change, it made it easy lose attention.
I do think that the project is not very complete. The application is introduced as a mobile solution, but the presentation was done entirely in the regular browser. The feature set is fairly limited with only admins being able to add recipes, no search functionality for ingredients or time required and no filtering for dietary restriction. The demonstration was also very short so I never got a sense of how the application actually worked.
I think there are good takeaways to make stronger presentations as well as what level of complexity I want for my own capstone project.
This week was a bit more work than I expected. Having the outline helped a lot on developing the paper, but I still had to sit down and compile and evaluate all the research about Twitch. I did learn a lot about the company, and diving into the topic helped cement that I want to stay in the gaming as part of my career.
It also provided me with perspective into what it will take to work in the gaming service industry and where it is going. I can essentially future proof myself by picking up the needed skills ahead of time, and focusing my education on those aspects that will make me a more valuable developer.