This summer was a big one at for CDOT (Centre for Development of Open Technology). We had almost 30 RA’s working on many many different types of project. Yesterday was our final cdot presentation day for the summer.
For those unfamiliar, CDOT is an applied research group within Seneca College. Over the years we have worked on many different projects related to open technology in various areas. I am one of the faculty members involved with CDOT. Projects tend to run over the course of a semester or two. Students are hired either while they are studying or just after they graduate.
My team worked on projects related to 3D web graphics. This summer I had two projects. The first was a project with Box, to implement a 3D data visualization tool. The second was with a Gorilla Productions. The project was to implement realistic cameras for three.js. (cameras that behave as real world cameras do). In total I had 4 awesome research assistants working for me (Andrii, Barbara, Dmitry and Koji). They have done a fantastic job on their projects.
However, aside from my two projects, CDOT also hosted many other projects. One of the reasons the reasons that CDOT exists is to provide experiential learning opportunities to our students. A chance for them to work on real projects and develop skills. One of those skills is the ability to talk about their work. Thus, each Thursday was we have “Demos”. During that time, the teams will talk about their project and what they have been working on, problems they encountered, solutions they found. Yesterday, was the last day and everyone had a chance to talk about thoughts of on their summer’s work.
Generally the comments were all very positive. However, there did seem to be a few themes that were shared by multiple students. These were:
- Being surrounded by other very smart people working on interesting projects has helped them develop as programmers
- Demo days helped them learn from other teams even when they were not working on remotely the same thing.
- Demo days made them less nervous about speaking in front of crowds
- CDOT provided opportunities to work on something important with a great amount of freedom to design and implement their work
- CDOT experience has helped them to either find a job (a couple of students will start in new positions right after labour day) or the confidence that they will be able to find one shortly.
I truly believe that CDOT is one of those places that are unique and special. We have students that do very interesting work on a wide variety of projects. Our students are very bright, and I have always admired their ability to exceed my expectation. Many of you have taught me things I did not know. To all the RA’s at CDOT, know that you are the ones that make CDOT special. When I see what you do, when I see what you have accomplished, I am reminded of why I teach. Thank you!