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Lunch & Learn: Machine Learning Techniques

October 5, 2017 • Written by

Machine Learning - HaiderHaving a conversation with a machine is no longer a figment of our imagination or science fiction. We are having intelligent conversations with machines every day. AI (Artificial Intelligence) or Machine Learning techniques have made this reality possible.

The personal assistant in your smartphone, video games, and the marketing industry have been all using Machine Learning to analyze and predict the actions of their clients for a long time now. The ultimate goal of machine learning is to predict something based on pre-existing conditions. Sometimes this prediction is as easy as answering a question with yes or no, but sometimes the prediction could be as complicated as identifying the model and manufacturer of an airplane flying 36,000 feet above our heads.

New Media ManitobaRed River College and The Ace Project Space are happy to present this informative Lunch+Learn that will try to explain some of the techniques used in machine learning.

Portrait of Haider Al-Saidi

Haider Al-Saidi will be presenting Machine Learning Techniques

Come join us for conversation and light lunch as Haider Al-Saidi, our Applied Computer Education Department Chair, presents an introduction on Machine Learning Techniques.

When: October 20th, at 12pm
Where: Red River College, 160 Princess Street, Room P107
Cost: Free, Light lunch provided

Register at eventbrite here: https://www.eventbrite.ca/e/machine-learning-techniques-tickets-38298531940

Hops Pizza

September 8, 2017 • Written by

Hops PizzaPartners Terry Davison and Angelo Palleta started the company in November 2016 after a year of planning and license negotiations with the MLCC. Angelo owns the Holiday Inn Express on Ellice Avenue, in Winnipeg, and Terry owns Global Office Software. Currently, Hops has five locations and is growing rapidly. As being first to market was critical, the technology for Hops Pizza was developed quickly. The trade-off was that with many areas of their application required improvement.

The students added a Google Geo-Location system that works with order placement. Upon placing an order, the website can dynamically select the kitchen closest to the customer’s location, instead of the user manually selecting their area in the city. They also added functionality to allow users to buy and use gift cards, using Stripe payment integration. Sign in and sign up functionality was added, so customers do not have to enter their information for every transaction.

Technologies used: WordPress, PHP, Javascript, Google, Stripe

GigOrDo

September 8, 2017 • Written by

GigOrDo Screenshot

For entrepreneurs, time schedules and full time jobs become major hurdles. Fear of loss discourages small startups.

GigOrDo will helps to connect employers and contractors for small to medium sized jobs. This eliminates the hassle of finding help for small day-to-day jobs that don’t require full time employees.

GigOrDo is a simple and secure web application that handles the process of looking for work and connecting employers and contractors. Designed with a Mobile First attitude, the application is easy and effective at job searching. Features include: real-time messaging; secure online payments; and a rating-review system.

Gigs can be applied for or bid on if the price being offered is not satisfactory. A built-in messaging system facilitates communication between users to discuss details of a job.

Technologies used: Digital Ocean, Stripe, mailgun

Manitoba Association of Food Banks – Part 2

September 8, 2017 • Written by

Over recent months, two of our students have continued work on the web application project for the Manitoba Association of Food Banks. Each student worked on a respective project, as follows.

One of the student projects was an investigative analysis of options for small scale computers that could be used at participating food bank locations.

While the other student worked on fixing and cleaning up the web application, making it launch ready.

This web application is presently in use at the Selkirk Food Bank and anticipated for use at more rural food banks in the future.

For the first phase of this project, please read more at this link: Manitoba Association of Food Banks

CanU Canada

September 8, 2017 • Written by

CanU logo

CanU is a local organization that organizes camps and workshops for students from grades 5 to 10. They had a need for an attendance application and automation of some tasks.

The project sponsors wanted staff to be able to assign students to teams and buses. Along with this, they wanted better organization and reporting features, where users can query who is on what team and what bus at all times.

The students created a complete and customized salesforce experience for CanU to use. It is anticipated that this will reduce downtime and increase accuracy of attendance tracking.

Technologies used: SalesForce, Zapier, Google

Indigenous Place Names

September 8, 2017 • Written by

IPN Application ScreenshotA project for Sustainable Development, of the Province of Manitoba, Indigenous Place Names maps to geographical locations. The work going into the Indigenous Place Names database is very much groundwork focused with an ultimate goal for the province to interface with elders in recording place names.

On the outset of this project, the client’s database and application existed as a FoxPro application. As a legacy application, it was incapable of supporting new features and frequently presented unexpected errors when using it.

Developing largely in Visual Studio 2015 supported by a SQL Server 2014 database, the students wrote an improved application to replace it’s legacy predecessor. The students created new user interface, migrated the old database to SQL Server, and restructured tables. Additionally, working with technologies accepted by the province, the students worked with ESRI to develop a new map with precise coordinates. Unexpected errors are now fixed and handled and new features can be implemented.

Technologies used: ESRI, Visual Studio, Microsoft SQL Server

Relnos

September 8, 2017 • Written by

Relnos is a platform with the motive of informing students about the different events happening on or near campus. By helping students to keep track of upcoming events, this helps the campus to become a more fun and engaging place.

The team was made of a mix of Business Information Technology and Business Technology Management students. On this project, were tasked with creating a tool that can act as a singular communication channel to receive information on upcoming student events. Additionally, it helps to bridge the gaps in collaboration between student clubs and different engagement points. This helps student users to not miss out on great opportunities.

Event hosts can: create events for students and analyze events. Student users can: rsvp to events, submit payment for events, receive reminders about events of interest, and receive news about all events on and near campus.

Midway through the project term, the student sponsors of Relnos presented their ideas and progress at the North Forge Ramp Up Weekend 10, in June 2017.

Toolibaba

September 8, 2017 • Written by

Tool Search Screen Tool Rental Screen

The concept behind Toolibaba is to provide a platform for individuals to rent tools that they own to other individuals who are looking for tools to rent. For many individuals, when they need a tool, it isn’t always worth the investment to purchase a tool they will only use for a short while. While individuals who own tools may not use them most of the time. This service would connect these different users together.

On Toolibaba, users could rent their own tools to others and earn extra income, or they could rent somebody else’s tools. As this is a peer to peer model, renting tools this way can be convenient based off of location and price. For peace of mind for the customer and renter, insurance is built into the site as well.

Over the project term, the students developed a minimum viable product that demonstrates proof of concept.

Technologies used: PHP, Javascript, JQuery, Bootstrap, Auth0, Git, CodeIgniter, Digital Ocean, SQL.

Essential requirement for successful technology learning in Manitoba Indigenous Schools

August 4, 2017 • Written by

Ben Akoh, Ph.D(C), M.Ed., B.Tech
Instructor, Applied Computing Education, RRC

In 2013, I travelled by road for the first time to Thompson 760 kms north of Winnipeg, Manitoba, to present a paper at the Manitoba Education Research Network (MERN) conference held at the University College of the North  (UCN) Thomson campus. It was my very first trip to the “North” and I was very excited. This trip would eventually define the course of my life. My initial stop over was at the UCN’s Center in Misipawistik Cree Nation (Grand Rapids), 430 kms north of Winnipeg, where I experienced, for the first time, the technological challenges that Indigenous learners faced; not only with accessing content, but in pedagogy, planning, and in the delivery of learning. While I fell in love with the North and its people, I was disgruntled by the challenges that they faced, reminding me of my own humbling indigenous backgrounds. Ever since this trip, I decided I would dedicate my entire doctoral research to addressing a specific area of need – helping Indigenous learners become more academically successful. I became interested in the intersection of learning, culture, and technology among adult learners.

Since this trip, I have been to Thompson, The Pas, and lived for several periods of time in Bunibonibee Cree Nation (Oxford House), which would eventually become my research home. There, as part of my doctoral studies, I began to build deep relationships and to explore the research question, “How do adult post-secondary learners adapt and orient to learning in an Indigenous Canadian post-secondary context”.

The study was methodologically phenomenological, utilizing narrative inquiry as a means of gathering and analyzing data. Participants used digital technology (tablets, mobile phones, computers) to produce documentation illustrating their learning and adaptation. The negotiation of cultural identity, and the development of personal strategies to persist in their learning was a central finding in the study.

The study findings also indicate that there are still technological demands that could benefit learners in the North, if implemented. For instance, the Digital Canada 150 strategy document promises high speed Internet to 98% of Canadian households by 2017 could benefit homes and schools, yet the existing infrastructure is far from this target. A functional underlying telecommunication infrastructure that supports future economic growth and educational achievement is a fundamental and an essential requirement for learners in the North.

I learned that the reach of urban education is often minimal, and participation in learning that is both progressive and relevant, is challenging amongst people in Indigenous communities. I observed that Indigenous learners pursue their learning by adapting and orienting themselves between Eurocentric and Indigenous worldviews, and that this movement can be quite difficult.

I noticed that while Indigenous learning is place-based, activity-based, holistic (affects intellectual, spiritual emotional and physical aspects of being), spans life, practical, and is intergenerational, Eurocentric learning is not often so attributed, at least from the perspective of the Indigenous learner. As a result, Indigenous adult learners tend to straddle between Indigenous learning methods and Eurocentric ones. This constant demand to shift back and forth from one learning method to another is not often easy, while it arguably appears seamless to the educator.

Consequently, educators and educational systems that are fundamentally Eurocentric tend not to recognize this added demand for movement that is placed on the Indigenous learners, and also tend not to take their agility into consideration in evaluating student learning. And learners who subsequently feel frustrated in this process tend to drop out and lose interest in participation.

I argued in my thesis that this need for movement between Indigenous learning and Eurocentric ways, that is placed on the Indigenous learner, and the ensuing mismatch of perceptions of the educator and the learners, are substantial reasons for high attrition, low participation and completion rates amongst Indigenous learners.

Thus for indigenous learners to succeed, another essential requirement should concern educators, who should strongly consider Indigenous culture in the pedagogical development, design and delivery of courses and programs meant for learners in Northern communities. As educators, we scaffold learning from the “known” to the “unknown”. Scaffolding from a known Indigenous learning place to a relatively unknown Eurocentric one could help Indigenous learners make the necessary leap from low to high participation, and subsequently to completion. By doing so, we provide culture-centric accommodation for Indigenous learners.

Finally, education technologies such as mobile devices have shown interesting affordances that allow non-interested learners to socially acquire knowledge, digital competencies, and 21st century skills such as research, communication, and creativity. These devices could also help Indigenous learners to straddle their Indigenous learning ways and Eurocentric methods, and to succeed in both. Educational institutions and educators should find ways of pedagogically leveraging this technological affordance by using them as tools to link student learning to community activities that is holistic, practical and intergenerational. Predictably, it could have a strong influence on learning, now and in the future.

Today, I am hopeful and far less disgruntled as new research in the growing field of Indigenous educational technology appears to be asking the right questions about Indigenous learners’ success. My research contributes to knowledge in this field in that it leaves future researchers and educators with a Techno-Culture Adaptive Framework that helps to ask the right questions about the pedagogy of Indigenous educational technology, and to ensure that the right culture-centric frame is put in place for Indigenous learners in Northern Manitoba succeed.

BIT instructor honoured for efforts to promote government transparency and public education

June 27, 2017 • Written by

cods-award-winnerA Red River College instructor has received national recognition for his work creating online resources that promote government transparency and accountability.

Kyle Geske, a Business Information Technology instructor at RRC, was in Edmonton this week to pick up an Open Data for Democracy Award at the Canadian Open Data Summit.

He accepted the award on behalf of Open Democracy Manitoba (ODM), a citizen-run community organization that helps educate voters by empowering them to understand the roles and visions of their elected representatives, in order to create a more accountable and respectful democracy.

Geske (shown above in front row, third from left) co-founded ODM with fellow BIT instructor Jody Gillis in 2010; he now serves as its executive director and oversees operations alongside RRC grad Ken Harasym (Digital Media Design, 2006).

Since its inception, OMD has launched two election portals — WinnipegElection.ca and ManitobaElection.ca — that have allowed hundreds of thousands of voters to research their candidates and learn about local democratic processes.

The sites feature ward/constituency maps and statistics, historical information about past elections, candidate profiles and social media links, and links to media coverage of candidates and election issues.

ODM’s latest project, WinnipegElected.ca, was launched last November to provide Winnipeg residents with easy access to city council decisions on reports, motions and bylaws.

WinnipegElected.ca was developed in partnership with the City Clerk’s office; with only a few tweaks, ODM was able to update the city’s existing record-keeping processes, allowing council decisions to be posted on the city’s open data portal.

In addition to the Open Data for Democracy Award, ODM has been recognized previously by the Canadian Internet Registration Authority, the City of Winnipeg, Mayor Brian Bowman, and a host of national and local journalists and media outlets.

Photo credit: City of Edmonto

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