Teaching Philosophy

My teaching philosophy is to blend theory and practice together through a series of group problem-solving projects. Through this approach, I have seen students who would ordinarily have little interest in material become very excited and engaged in the process. The theory helps to ground the student to the material while the practice reinforces learning by allowing the student to see how theory can be used. By placing the theory and practice into a group-problem solving approach, it provides students with a support system where they are more comfortable in taking risk, thinking outside of conventional means and arriving at interesting solutions they would normally not arrive at on their own.

For example, in an undergraduate Internet Applications course, I had the students form two groups of approximately six students each and gave each group an iRobot Roomba, the robotic vacuum cleaner. Their goal was to take this vacuum and adapt it to perform remote surveillance of a premises, meaning that a user can control the robot’s movement through the Internet and receive live video feedback, and to do all this for under $200. This was not a trivial assignment for the students as setting up customized miniature webservers and controlling the roomba’s movement wirelessly through them was relatively a new area at the time. Throughout the course of the semester I taught the students the relevant theory concerning networking protocols, topologies and java programming, however, it was ultimately up to the students to conduct the practice by evaluating ideas, implementing and testing them out. Along the way, both groups had numerous setbacks, however, through the process they learned how to conduct research, programming, robotics, hardware modifications, problem-solving and much more. I am proud to say that both groups succeeded in the project and gave presentations to the rest of the college on their solutions. One group even decided to write an article about the process for MAKE magazine which was published July 2011 in volume 27 and was even featured on the magazine’s front cover (https://makezine.com/27/). The students involved in this project have told me that this was one of the most rewarding experiences they have ever had and I am quite proud of them.

I also employ this philosophy directly in Capstone. This class represents a unique blending together of our 3 different majors; Computer Science, Computer Information Systems and Information Technology, where students from all three majors work together for the first time on a seminal project. This year that project theme was Internet of Things or IOT. Their charge was simple, to create an IOT device that people would buy and form a company around it. To be successful, each major would have to use everything they learned in their past four years as well as stretch themselves in ways they probably didn’t think was possible. Here are the presentations and reports from Spring 2020 Capstone.

Make baby steps, safe steps
The safest sit-to-stand baby walker for your toddler! Techni-Toddle is the baby walker for you, the parent who values the safety and growth of their toddler. Unlike other baby walkers, our specialized braking system will prevent toddlers from tipping their walker over, providing a safer sit-to-stand transition. Techni-Toddle also comes equipped with a distance tracker that is connected to the Toddle-Tech website. You can log in to the website and track the progress of your toddler as they learn to walk.
These components of Techni-Toddle will provide a better growing experience for your toddler!
Report and Presentation

N-VENSensors help you keep track of the small things, so you can focus on the big things
N-VENSensors produces an IoT device that functions as a weight scale to help you manage your inventory, eliminate stock-outs, and organize your raw materials. Not only will you begin to meet your project deadlines, your productivity and manufacturing efficiency will improve. Once your inventory falls below a specified threshold, a “low inventory” notification will be sent to you via a Web application. We will also offer an all inclusive after-the-sale support department to help setup, maintain, and troubleshoot your N-VENSensors.
Report and Presentation

Modern Pool Maintenance Solutions
Take the guessing and eyeballing out of the equation when it comes to maintaining your swimming pool. PerpHect Pool allows you to keep your pool clean and safe by monitoring your water’s data 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, using a simple app on your phone! Have the precise readings of you pool’s temperature and chemical levels on the tips of your fingers at any given moment. So, sit back, relax, and let PerpHect Pool do the hard work, knowing that your pool’s information is always just a few button clicks away.
Report and Presentation

Sportal. Your Sports Portal to ensure you never miss a score
With more games than ever, it can feel overwhelming to keep up with everything going on with your sport. Sportal eliminates the need to ever turn on the TV, check your phone, or waste precious time on your computer by providing convenient updates for any team. As long as your Sportal is connected to the Internet, you’ll be able to use the interactive touchscreen display mounted within a sport-specific base to rep your favorite team. Whether to show your Sportal off at the office or use as a flex for your man cave, you’ll be the center of attention with all the guys. Sportal makes sure you never miss an update for your team or sport you wish to follow; from trades, draft picks, free agents, and more, you’ll have any news for your team instantly. If your favorite player ever gets traded, seamlessly switch between teams using Sportal’s touchscreen display to follow all the latest news on your new team. Sportal lets you be a fan whether you’re at work or at home to guarantee you never miss a score again. Be the fan you want to be with Sportal your personal sports portal.
Report and Presentation

Care for your home, because your home cares for you
From one home to another, we know that home maintenance can be a challenge. Sometimes life throws punches at you. The lights go out, then the gutters need cleaning, the lawn needs to be mowed, and the list goes on. We hope to alleviate potential stress to you by giving you an outlet to monitor how your septic system is functioning. Aerobicon offers homeowners the following benefits:

  • a clean, web-based user interface
  • access to records of pump activation history
  • email notifications when tanks become too full
  • user-specified pump schedules
  • manual pump activation
  • live weather integration
  • greater affordability than the classic timing circuit

Report and Presentation

Caerus Sensors – Revolutionary Fire Detection Systems Built to Protect the Wildnerness
Built to combat the spread of forest fires and their devastating effects, Caerus Sensors are always on stand-by. Raspberry Pi, long-distance radio technology, and heat sensors comprise this small, transportable box. A grid of these devices can help pinpoint and alert the authorities of emerging fires more efficiently than traditional human surveillance. Our company will offer in-house assembly, 24/7 technical support, and handle all installations for the customer. Perfect for large landowners needing to protect their assets – our systems watch over what others cannot.
Report and Presentation

Aside from turning otherwise dry theory into something fun and engaging, I feel that giving students assignments that use a group problem solving approach gives those students an edge in the job market, because it demonstrates teamwork and the ability to solve difficult tasks.