Bridging the technological gap
Dr. Jim Wyse and Jessica Deering
By Jennifer Kelly
Students are used to receiving advice from their professors, but Dr. Jim Wyse prefers it to be a two-way street.
Last year, Dr. Wyse professor, information systems, Faculty of Business Administration, hired Jessica Deering, a bachelor of commerce student, to help him with his spatial directories project. What began as just another MUCEP position turned into a sharing of knowledge.
Dr. Wyse’s spatial directories are called i-prox. An i-prox directory mirrors a radar screen and features flags for particular locations, which in turn link to a web address or a map. For example, Dr. Wyse created an i-prox Town of Placentia as a community resource.
Using i-prox, visitors are able to pinpoint the locations of key areas around the town. During the past year, Ms. Deering has worked on six spatial d0irectories, including one for Memorial University. She researched essential locations and entered them into each portal so that anyone visiting a particular area would be able to locate key places like historical sites, libraries, town halls and more.
This involved interviewing local community members and staff at key locations. In fact, it’s that connection to community that makes i-prox so unique.
“Unlike similar software, such as Google Local, i-prox captures local knowledge,” said Dr. Wyse. “It offers an opportunity for local experts to import their expertise about where central places are located.”
In addition to helping build the portals, Ms. Deering has provided Dr. Wyse with advice and feedback about what works and what doesn’t -- something he appreciates.
“Developers need to have a perspective from the actual user,” explained Dr. Wyse. “My generation avoided technology; today, people demand it. Jessica gives me insight into the reasons why and helps make i-prox more accessible for today’s generation of technology users.”
Ms. Deering enjoys her work with Dr. Wyse because of the connection to technology.
“I see every day how important technology is and how people crave instant information access,” she said. "Dr. Wyse’s work is really suited to today’s technology and I find that connection really interesting.”
Ms. Deering graduates with a bachelor of commerce degree this May and feels working on this project has better prepared her for the workforce.
“It’s taught me diligence and how to think critically,” she said.
As for Dr. Wyse, he is currently working toward customizing i-prox as an application for smartphones. He credits Ms. Deering as one of the reasons i-prox has been successful.
“The project would not have been at its current stage without Jessica’s diligence,” he said. “With Jessica’s help, I have been able to promote the next step, which is to enable people to access and use it. I’ve really learned a lot from her.”