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Sophomore QUEST students build and design computers to develop technical and team building skills

By Stephanie Weaver
On October 18, 2010

On the first day of class, Dr. Joseph P. Bailey introduced students in his class to their first assignment: to design and market a state-of-the-art Windows 7 computer with a $500 budget.

"The four teams that are voted to have the best product design will build their computers in the QUEST lab," Bailey told his students – all sophomores.

Members of Bailey's BMGT190H class — composed of business, engineering, and computer, math and physical science QUEST students — delivered their computer design presentations during the third week of classes.

"[Students'] ideas were new, novel, and interesting, and something I would have never thought of," said Bailey.

One team chose for their computer to have two monitors, while another added a backrest to the chair. Another team added Oregon Trail to their computer.

Bailey, who is also the QUEST executive director, said that the budget brought an exciting and interesting aspect to the competition, as teams had to determine what was most important for the customer. The students worked as a team, combining all their distinct skills to satisfy the customer. Time constraints were also enforced, as "time is a critical resource," according to Bailey.

Working together as a team is another main learning objective, according to Bailey. Students from different majors must combine their abilities, although difference may get in the way.

"Differences of opinion frequently arise when working with students in different disciplines," said sophomore computer science major Jessica O'Keefe. "We agreed on many of the aspects of our design, but when we got down to that last $40, there was a big debate over spending it to increase our computer's features or its technical capabilities. I think that seeing both the technical and the business side helped us to create a product that appealed to everyone. In the end, we had a product that we all really liked."

O'Keefe's team, Tam Rafiki, is one of the four design winners. Their project will be in the QUEST lab in Van Munching Hall. 

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