tom sanders

Cal Poly computer engineering and computer science students developed proposals on effective ways to use the Learning Commons in the Kennedy Library as part of a class project during winter quarter. These proposals are being exhibited in the Learning Commons from April 10 through May 12 during regular library hours.

Students and faculty will be available to answer questions about their projects at a special event, named Genius Day, on Tuesday, April 11 from noon to 2 p.m.

“(Visitors of the exhibit) can see how students would utilize the space and some of the infrastructure in the library,” said Franz Kurfess, advisor for the project. “This is an excellent opportunity for people to voice their opinions on how the library can improve the facilities for learning.”

“It’s a great idea (for students to attend the exhibit), since Kurfess’ whole class will be there, to come and ask questions about software being developed for students, by students, in hopes of making everyone’s lives easier,” said Dustin Anderson, a computer science senior.

Christine Le, a computer science senior, explained that the students are basically trying to decide what will be in the Learning Commons and it is important for students to visit the display because it affects them.

“I really liked working with the students, and I hope we can get an idea from this (of how to use the Learning Commons space),” said Catherine Trujillo, assistant curator for the project.

The projects came from a class project assigned by Kurfess, in which students thought about ways to use the Learning Commons area as a premise for the project, Trujillo said.

“The idea is to develop computer-based systems with an emphasis on what the users need, rather than what engineers and programmers can do,” Kurfess said. “The exhibit shows the results of team projects in my class.” said Kurfess.

Students chose their own topics for the projects, which were designs for computer-based systems for tasks that involve learning and related issues, he said. Some of the ideas were technologically driven; others were group-space driven, said Trujillo.

“We started off with storyboards and went on to actually building a prototype,” said Le.

From these storyboards, prototypes for the project could be anything from building a software program to a diorama, depending on the topic.

Anderson worked with his group to develop a “senior project portal,” which would make it easier to share senior project ideas between students and professors and look up past projects to aid students in completing their senior projects.

Additional proposals to be on display at the exhibit include potential tools for clubs involved in ASI and a multimedia area on campus for movies and interactive projects, according to a press release, as well as large, technologically-equipped spaces to help students working on group projects.

Additionally, there are projects not specific to Cal Poly. “Some of the projects don’t relate 100 percent to Cal Poly, and in that case, it would probably just be interesting to see some of the ideas students have about what kind of life technologies they’d like to see built in the future,” Anderson said.

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