Spring Senior Projects Zoom Forward

As COVID-19 spreads across the world, higher education students find themselves quarantined, some stuck in their hometowns while others still are limited to their college town residences. Cal Poly is among the numerous American universities switching to online learning.  

With the “Learn by Doing” ethos that Cal Poly offers, moving courses to this new form of “distance learning” can be difficult.  

CE/ENVE lecturer and senior design project coordinator Paul Valadao notes that, in light of recent events, guiding student online has its positive qualities. It makes the faculty more accessible to the students.  

“It is important to note from the onset the “Learn by Doing” experience is at its core, best harnessed in-person,” Valadao said. “There is no denying this. Although it is also worth recognizing that transferring the spring quarter and latter portion of CE Senior Design to an online distance-learning format has made the faculty more easily accessible to our students.” 

Similar to most departments at the university, CE/ENVE faculty are utilizing the conferencing platform Zoom Video Communications. Through Zoom, more of the focus lies in team-based project submittals, rather than individual exams.  Students are encouraged to take the opportunity to further develop project communication.  

“CE Senior Design students are most successful if they willingly and effectively work together,” Valadao said. “The refined skills derived from this student-team collaboration will be directly applied to our graduate's first job in industry, allowing them to be ready day one.” 

For Valadao, working with the seniors on their final projects is “one of the coveted highlights” of his job. He’s been involved with CE Senior Design for over a decade, and he still looks forward to it every year. 

“I truly cherish the opportunity each academic year and find it tremendously rewarding to take this journey with our graduating seniors in this valuable course,” Valado said. 

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