Even with Quest -- the college’s annual celebration of scholarly and creative activities -- not taking place in person, the show goes on virtually, with the computer science department kicking off festivities on the originally planned April 1 date.

Computer science faculty member Bastian Tenbergen, who coordinated the session, said the students were already preparing to present and the different format still gave them an opportunity to shine.

"Usually, in our department we see that if you enable students to do something special, you will not be disappointed," Tenbergan said. "I think everyone was new to presenting online like this … but in our department, most courses are still synchronous and project-based, requiring students to present often. "

Three live remote team presentations took place, as well as five poster sessions, all through the college's Digital Library (DL). The presentations included:

  • “FindingFive Story Store -- an CSC480/HCI521 Class Project,” by Nayhro Molina, Casey Galloway, Nikki Brown, Bharati Mahajan and Ben Groman
  • “TRANSition - A Prize Winning Hackathon Project to create a wholesome environment for people to gain a deeper understanding of their gender identities and sexual orientation” by Mahajan, Anisha KC, Tonia Sanzo and Alexis Indick
  • “A Collaborative Robot Coordination System based on XBee - An Independent Study,” by Yehua Zhang, Nathan Gillette and Shaun Godfrey

"FindingFive Story Store" connects with FindingFive, a startup founded by SUNY Oswego graduate Ting Qiang with a web-based platform to simplify the creation of browser-based experimental studies for all kinds of behavioral researchers -- including faculty and students in every level of college. The students presented on their project to develop a “study store,” a virtual location that can host, sell and manage study templates for authorized users.

"We project that the 'Study Store' will help current and potential users create more behavioral-based research experiments as well as connect researchers together that may have similar research topics/interests," Mahajan wrote on the behalf of the team.

Honing skills

The students navigated the unusual situation by using a Discord application to have discussions and share files, among other adjustments. The process, while not originally planned that way, still offered preparation for future collaborations.

"While working on this project, we got to hone our presentation and teamwork skills," Mahajan, a master's in human-computer interaction student, noted. "Although it is standard to give a presentation face to face, there are many organizations that have employees present to potential clients and team members over video conferencing systems, so this was a good opportunity to get used to that method."

Posters presented included “Piptopia” by Christian DeVito; “What does a Software Engineering degree from SUNY Oswego look like?” by Matthew Fernandez; “Paper Game: UI - A fantasy tabletop RPG played with a Computer interface” by Tonia Sanzo; “Pick Me Up: The Carpooling App” by Alexander Lawrence, Ethan Messer, Nahyro Molina, Narayan Neopane and Ryan Collins; and “Natural Language Understanding of Clinical Practice Guidelines” by Rose Fontana, Kate Gordon, Adrian Naaktgeboren and Dan Schlegel.

"One student shared with me that they appreciate being able to now link to their presentation in OswegoDL," Tenbergen said. "They are applying for jobs and this will make a nice addition to their resume. Another student, who is currently doing an independent study with me and presented at our virtual Quest, said that he appreciated the opportunity to reflect (during the process of making the presentation) over what he has done up to that point. This helped him plan the rest of his study better … and also made him realize how much he accomplished. And I couldn’t agree more."

The success reinforced organizers' commitment to ensuring Quest would go on in a digital format. 

"I think many agree that during these times of many unknowns, it is critical to maintain some level of normalcy and tradition, and Quest is a tradition and an amazing opportunity to showcase student learning," said Dean of Graduate Studies Kristen Eichhorn, who leads coordination of Quest. "We also knew that for some departments, Quest presentations are tied to capstone projects and graduating seniors final grades--providing this platform would provide an avenue for students and faculty to carry on."

Quest submissions are welcome through mid-April, to be presented via Penfield Library's Digital Library. For more information, visit www.oswego.edu/quest.