Bringing Design to Life

Senior software engineering students enrolled in CS 451 began their fall semester with an interesting homework assignment: they must apply and interview for a “job” within the class. “The software engineering project class is designed to provide as realistic of a job experience as possible in an academic setting,” explained Dr. Michael Geary, head of the Computer Science department.

After the positions have been filled and the new “employees” trained, the real work begins. Project manager Jeremy Olson (IL) said, “We start with an empty slate on which we have to write all our code, bring to life the design vision we had, and ultimately create something awesome out of nothing. With teamwork and dedication, something amazing can be created.”

This year’s seniors—a class of 22 students—decided on four applications: CheckIT—a dynamic application for customizing a student’s entire course schedule; MyCG—a mobile application for ordering from PCC’s Common Grounds Café; Mystery on Brent Lane—a board game that investigates the disappearance of an umbrella at PCC; and No Horizon—an open-world, nautical adventure game in which the player sails around the globe to collect gold, upgrade his ship, and fight other players and monsters in mini-games.

Annette Droddy (TX), who led the team responsible for creating CheckIt, said that initially they had some difficulty creating the application. “The logic behind a general scheduling algorithm for all majors was incredibly dense,” Annette said. “Until sudden inspiration hit us—check sheets are like chess, which is a classic computing problem. Our challenge was to map courses to terms like mapping chess pieces to chess squares to win the ultimate planning game—your college career.”

Ilana Lim (NY), whose team created the mobile app MyCG, said that she and her teammates learned a lot while working on the project. “It was a growing experience to see myself or my team figure out what went wrong and know what to do the next time it happens,” she said.

The Software Expo, where the teams got to unveil their creations to the public, broke previous attendance records. On April 16, 19, and 20, over 500 attended, including staff, faculty, Campus Church members, and College Days guests. “Phrases such as ‘This is so cool!,’ ‘This should be implemented in the College,’ ‘I could play this for hours,’ and ‘Fantastic job!’ were heard frequently, and made all the hard work worth it,” Jeremy said.

This year’s seniors added a personal touch—“Our class alone represents seven countries, so we really wanted to emphasize our diversity and allow the student body to show where they’re from, too,” Jeremy said. “We had a gigantic world map on which attendees could mark their hometown. The world map was littered with push pins—the Bahamas, Nigeria, Bolivia, Puerto Rico, Mexico, Russia, Norway, China, the Philippines, Vietnam, and Papua New Guinea were all marked, just to name a few.”

Annette summarized what she and her classmates hoped that people would take away from the event. “I hope the Expo showed people that we as Christians can produce quality software in a way that honors biblical principles while still being modern, relevant, and captivating,” she said.

Published 5/3/2018