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CSC 322.01, Class 04: Approaching projects

Overview

  • Preliminaries
    • Notes and news
    • Upcoming work
    • Extra credit
    • Questions
  • GPCF
  • Mayflower
  • Local Foods Connection
  • PALS
  • Callisto
  • Heartland Global Health Consortium
  • A bit of time to rank

Admin

  • Our goal for today is to go over the projects and help you think about which ones might be appropriate for you.
  • It appears that there was some confusion on the assignment for today.

Upcoming work

  • Continue to work on your résumé; you’ll be bringing it to class Thursday.
  • Three interesting challenges for each of the six projects.
  • Three interesting opportunities for each of the six projects.

Good things to do

Academic

  • CS Table today: Doxxing.
  • Rosenfield symposium, this week. (Lots of different events)

Misc

  • Community Hour (Dialogues Across Difference), Today at 11 a.m. in JRC 101.
  • CLS Kick-Off Event, Tuesday at 11 a.m. in North Campus Grove.
  • Les Duke

Questions

GPCF

  • Goal: Finish three projects that are mostly done and get them in the clients’ hand.
    • Volunteer coordination (different than PALS)
    • Board bank
    • Grant management
  • Involves some coding (and re-coding), a lot of working with the client to make sure that their needs are really met, a bit of support, some interesting sysadmin stuff (how do we really deploy), etc.

Opportunities

  • Learning how to handle a codebase that is (almost) finished
  • I find the GPCF project interesting because hopefully we would be able to fully implement our work and see it in its final state.
  • Creating a website that directs people to different databases according to their needs
  • Include database people looking for volunteers
  • Automatically suggests match between volunteers and people looking for volunteers according to listed expertise and skills, and needs
  • To finish projects that are near completion
  • Gives experience with database building
  • To build on the tail-end of others’ work

Challenges

  • The GPCF project presents some difficulties because there are quite a few projects that are close to implementation, which means navigating and learning other peoples code.
  • Working with the legacy codes on the projects near implementation phase
  • Introducing and advertising the databases to the community
  • For Grant Database: Migrating grant information online would be a very long, manual process
  • Same issue of privacy as in Mayflower
  • Issue of maintenance
  • As Sam said, the last little bit can be the hardest part
  • Multiple projects to work on
  • Because almost finished, lots of old code to parse through

Other notes

Mayflower

  • Goal: Finish the directory
  • Goal: Start whatever comes next in the Web of Mayflower (WoM)

Opportunities

  • I find the Mayflower project interesting because the software would be used by people who most likely have had minimal experience with computers in the past, so a focus of the project would be accessibility.
  • Implement a keyword search so that the website automatically finds people with commonalities through keywords
  • Creating a simple edit page so that residents can edit the contact information easily
  • Creating an event section to share and communicate posts on any events around the community
  • Hopefully be able to work with the volunteers of the Mayflower community
  • Experience with mid-project design
  • Experience with privacy-related topics
  • Directly helping people

Challenges

  • Initial registering of the contact information (photo, address, phone number, email, etc) on the server, if it is not already gathered, would be a long process
  • Teaching 150-200 residents about the features and how to use it. Kathryn says “Not our job”
  • Communicating with the stand-in folks in the east coast about the project
  • Digitizing the already already available phone numbers
  • Concern of whether the directory can somehow be accessed by telemarketers
  • Accessibility for people who may be unfamiliar with technology
  • Specialized topics (privacy, etc.)
  • Coming in midway
  • Needs to be designed for non-tech-savvy individuals

Other notes

Local Foods Connection

  • Goal: Build web site to support “local foods to local needs”, focus on geo-based visualizations of where the food is coming from.
    • Education value
    • Fundraising value
    • Grantwriting value

Opportunities

  • Creating a communicating space on the website so that consumers can contact local farmers
  • Posting updates about local farming community
  • Creating events between local community and farmers to raise awareness
  • More directly helping people in need
  • Experience to work closely with web design
  • Specified skills (maps, etc.) to learn

Challenges

  • Building the geo-searhcable database
  • How (and if) to allow others to contribute to this database
  • Since the focus is lower-income people, they may not have the same level of access to the website
  • Connecting the complex search engine with map would be interesting but also challenging
  • It may take more than a semester to finish the website, and thus documenting the code and keeping a log of things to be updated would be important
  • The website will be useful only when people in the community use it. Thus, it would be essential to inform and advertise the people about the features the website provides
  • Specified skills (maps, etc.) must be learned
  • Also start from scratch Many goals wrapped in one, less specific focus

Other notes

  • A chance to think about how best to visualize the data and other stuff.
  • Will it be accessible / how big an audience? Sam thinks valuable.

PALS

  • Goal: Make it easier to manage volunteers

Opportunities

  • Add work description section so that volunteers can sign up for work they wish to do
  • Include various pictures and information about the animals to raise awareness
  • Post car pool services if there are any people going on same direction
  • Learning how to start from scratch
  • Experience with preliminary design meetings
  • Relatively simple software (not saying easy to make, but simple to comprehend)

Challenges

  • Collecting the volunteer information without discouraging them with complex procedure is important
  • It would be nice to have a reminder system that checks with the signed up volunteers so that if they cannot make it, volunteers in the waitlist can be contacted beforehand
  • Implementing a smart scheduler system so that volunteers in the waitlist can be contacted for any other empty spots to make sure animals are supported 365 days per year.
  • Starting from scratch
  • No prior work or ideas to rely on
  • Not going to see the project completed, probably not even recognizable as a product

Other notes

  • Do we have to interact with the animals/volunteer?
    • Probably not/no.
  • The GPCF Volunteer Thingy will provide you with a starting resource for you to think about.

Peer Advocates / Callisto

  • System for confidentially recording sexual assault (or similar issues)
  • Kind of scary that we’re doing this
  • Python/Django
  • Some indirect contact with the developers
  • Will it be installed if we build it? Almost certainly.

Opportunities

  • The deep encryption system it will be interacting with
  • Real impact that I can see it having on the Grinnell college community.
  • Implementing different ways to report or file an incident
  • Creating an anonymous community post place where people can talk or express their feelings
  • Allowing individual password protected page so that they can file or withdraw their reporting at anytime without privacy concerns
  • Supporting OSS (If I heard correctly). (Sam says: “Yes”)
  • Working with the people of the CRSSJ.
  • Again, more directly helping people
  • Experience starting a project
  • Needs to be user-friendly in design, emphasized

Challenges

  • I think the peer advocates project would be challenging because of the back end system that it would be interacting with, it would mean learning a new system with an unknown level of usability/documentation.
  • Issue of privacy: will we have to deal with information that may identify students who file reports?
  • Finding required documentation on Callisto
  • If it is hosted with a third party, whether that third party can be trusted that information.
  • Privacy and permission issue on who has access to the database for reported incidents. (Sam says No one! All data should be transmitted and stored in encrypted form.)
  • Deciding on how much information is required for reporting an incident through the system (Sam says: This may already be in place.)
  • Working with part of the interactive online platform that already exists
  • Very specific work, needs to be fairly precise
  • Just starting fresh
  • Very somber topic, not going to be so enjoyable to work with
  • Python on Django rather than Ruby on Rails.

Other notes

Heartland Global Health Consortium

Opportunities

  • Allow read only permission and provide website information to other college students to raise awareness about global health
  • Link various global health related website so that visitors and members can access more resources if they wish to
  • Create a back-up system so that all changes are documented and no data are lost in the process
  • Experience in website design
  • More national/global perspective
  • Thinking about robustness through changing of users/administrators

Challenges

  • I think the heartland global health consortium would a challenging project overall because it would be working with large amounts of data
  • It seems like the partner does not have a super clear idea of what she is looking for, all in all it seems super open-ended.
  • Maintaining permissions on changing the website among the administration
  • Overcoming the institutional barriers and allowing all members to post on the website
  • Working with the existing website (code base)
  • Finding a hosting provider
  • Multiple aspects
  • First Grinnellians to work on it, but outsiders did, so possible difficulties entering in
  • Very broad terms

Other notes

  • Open-ended means that you can probably take it where you want it. That’s a good opportunity.
  • A chance for you to transform thinking.
  • Good for people okay with big risk/big gain.
  • Opportunity to think about how to migrate data (from their old site, from the rapidly disappearing governement Web sites)
  • May be having to satisfy a variety of people, but only have contact with one.
  • Do we have access to the other stuff?

Wrapping up