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Robots vs. Avatars

Winter 2009 | Archives

robot It all began with a single competition. MCC Instructor Jim Wolfe helped a team of Papillion high school students in a robotics competition. A robot was built, and the seed of ´what if?´ was planted.

In Fall quarter 2009 that seed grew into a series of robotics courses. The courses bring together computer science and engineering to create systems that interact intelligently with their environment. During class, students work hands-on to design and construct robots, as well as program them using microcontrollers. The real-world experience students gain gives them the background to apply their knowledge to areas like agriculture, factory automation, healthcare and education.

The Information Technology (IT) Program at MCC saw the value in finding courses that appeal to all age groups but especially excite young people to enter the IT field, and the new Introduction to Robotics course was just one. Next came gaming.

Winter quarter 2009 entered MCC students into the arena of video game design and programming. Through a sequenced series, students learn the technology, design fundamentals and development process of digital games in Introduction to Gaming, Programming Games and Graphics and Advanced Game Development. In these courses, students create game experiences by creating rules, using interactive modes and learning the different types of challenges. To expand on their background knowledge, students also study the history, social impacts and business of games. Advanced students will learn programming for app phones; ´finally, there´s an app for that.´

A beneficial part of these new IT classes and an incentive to students is the free tuition. Tuition for both the robotics and the gaming courses is covered entirely by a P3 (People, Prosperity and the Planet) grant from the U.S. Department of Labor.

Whether you prefer robots to gaming or vice versa, MCC´s IT Program has created a world where robots and avatars can live side by side and students can receive a unique education simultaneously.

For more information on these courses, contact Hugh Schuett at (402) 290-9168 for robotics and Michael Bierman at (402) 457-2322 for gaming.

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