Clarksville, TN – When someone asked Dr. Leong Lee, Austin Peay State University associate professor of computer science, to help redesign and re-program the Tennessee Academy of Science’s (TAS) website, he wondered if they were joking.
“I studied the requirements and realized that this would be a relatively big project,” Lee said. “This is a $75,000 professional level web development project involving feasibility study, frontend web interface design, backend database system design and web-database programming.”The 102-year-old TAS organization didn’t have the manpower to update its antiquated website, which featured HTML text-based pages with little to no design elements, and Lee knew the TAS could not afford the fees that professional web designers/database developers would charge for the job.
The redesign project, however, did offer some unique opportunities. The project could be split into two parts, and the frontend web interface design part of the project could provide computer science students in Lee’s csci3350 web user interface design class with a real-world web design project
The database design and web-database programming part of the project could also be attempted by the students in the computer science department’s csci4940 internship in IT class.
So instead of charging $75,000 to fix the site, Lee instructed his students to use the web design principles that they were learning to create a new design for part one of the project.
Arisha Majors, an APSU computer science senior, developed a cleaner, more user-friendly design that so impressed Dr. Gilbert Pitts, APSU professor of biology and TAS president-elect, that he let her redesign and reprogram the whole website as part of a computer science internship course. Now Pitts is involving other students from the internship course to work on backend database design, which is part two of the project.
“She’s one of our top students,” Lee said. “She was the best student in the class, and Dr. Pitts chose her design.”
The redesigned website is available to view at www.tennacadofsci.org
“I’m very proud,” Majors said. “I didn’t expect them to pick me.”
Majors plans to graduate this May with a Bachelor of Science in Computer Science, and she said the web design program was a good fit for her because it satisfied her interest in both art and technology.
“I took a course in high school in web design and I liked it very much,” she said. “I liked having the design aspect of it, but I also liked working with code. I like programming and making things work excites me. And so I decided to make it a career.”
For more information, contact the APSU Department of Computer Science and Information Technology at 931.221.7840, or visit the program online at www.apsu.edu/csci