In a Dragon’s Den-style pitch scenario, the students of “Emerging Paradigms in Computing Technologies,” a graduate-level course in the Master of Applied Computing program, got a chance to sell their ideas for using emerging technologies to improve distance education in Ontario.
Instructor Victoria Abboud says she developed the scenario to engage students with a series of learning activities through the semester. It posits the University of Windsor, in partnership with eCampus Ontario, investing $20 million in a five-year-plan to implement emerging technologies for distance learning.
“Students complete a series of artefacts throughout the semester, including a business case, use-case models, and risk assessments, among others, ” says Dr. Abboud.
As a wrap to the semester, the students share all of their work as one portfolio and present their pitch to the fictitious “Emerging Technology Committee,” made up of industry professionals who served as guest speakers during the semester.
“They learn how to translate their technical expertise for professional audiences by using critical review strategies and project management techniques,” says Abboud.
“These students are working remotely across the world right now — creating a strong team dynamic while juggling time zones and a completely virtual environment is difficult, to say the least. The course helps them adapt their technical knowledge and experience to address a current challenge that students and workers across the globe are trying to address.”
The teams unveiled their plans on April 7 to panellists Ziad Kobti, director of the School of Computer Science, and Yousef Jeraiseh, a strategic account manager with Next Dimension, a provider of information technology services in the Windsor area.
During 10-minute virtual presentations, students made an effort to impress the panel in hopes of securing investment from the UWindsor and eCampus Ontario partnership.
Anmoldeep Kaur and Darshil Maganbhai Bhakhar pitched an artificial intelligence (AI) device that would create personalized experiences for teachers and students during remote learning. They presented a business case, use-case model, risk assessment, and mitigation plan.
“Everyone is restricted to their homes and students are struggling to do their best on their own. Teachers also have lots of work and need to manage the difficulties of remote delivery,” says Kaur.
“We would provide a personalized experience, through AI, for teacher and student. The AI can predict the behaviour of the user and create a personalized timetable for them to follow so they can perform at their best.”
Abboud says the final portfolios and presentations are the culmination of the students’ semester of effort.
“This is an intense course where I guide them through different types of artefacts that are typically required of technical experts in business environments — these artefacts include actor maps, meeting agendas and minutes, team contracts, risk assessments, business cases, and budgets,” says Abboud.
“The live pitch presentation adds one more realistic real-life workplace element.”
The pitches may not result in actual investment money, but the teams were competing for the top three spots in the class with gift card prizes of $100 per member of the winning team, $75 for second place, and $50 for finishing third.