"It is the supreme art of the teacher to awaken joy
in creative expression and knowledge."
I am a software developer and an educator. I'm also the founder and chief developer of Reazon Systems, Inc., a software development company that specializes in academic systems. Education and software development have been passions of mine, so I'm glad to be doing what I love to do for living.
I started Reazon as a software consulting company. Reazon (pronounced "reason") was suppose to concentrate on smart systems. But it was hard to find contracts that required smart or intelligent agents. So I began developing what I had a need for over the years - an Education Management System. Nowadays, Reazon is the provider of a number of solutions including a Course/Learning Management System, an ePortfolio System, Tutor Connection, Book Exchange, Rubric Studio (for building and assessing with rubrics), Internship Connection, Class Finder, and more. Collectively, they're called Reazon Academic Solutions and they're available over several websites - RCampus.com (our main site), facultyCentral.com, classCentral.com (the old main site before RCampus), and TheBookExchangeNetwork.com.
If you have any suggestions to enhance these applications/websites, please let me know.
Even though my business keeps me extremely busy, I enjoy teaching on the side. I try to teach at least one class a semester - actually I don't have the time to teach more than one class these days. I started teaching computer science in 1993. Since then I've taught a number of courses and developed a few courses as well. This Semester (Spring 2007), I'm finally teaching Electronic Commerce, a class that I helped designed almost a decade ago, but I never had a chance to teach it. I'm also teaching Microsoft SQL Server - another course that I've been wanting to teach for years. Due to my hectic schedule, teaching more than one course is usually too much. But these are two of my favorite classes... it was really hard to say 'no'.
So the story goes:
In the late 1990's, during the dot com boom, I began developing my brainchild, facultyCentral.com, to be my classroom assistant. Having been weary of collecting projects on floppy disks or via email and FTP, I began facultycentral's development as a tool to make my life easier. Soon after I discussed the idea with a good friend, great educator, and the developer of an online testing program, John Hinds PhD., and he decided to join the effort. Then came the dot com bust and we slowed down the development for a while. I began consulting, and John began a lot of traveling and other fun stuff. While consulting, I kept adding more features to factulyCentral and began using it. In early 2004, I refocused on fulltime development of the product. The system has since mushroomed into a number of tools and services on top of the original idea of a "course management system." Reazon Academic Solutions is now a suite of services that includes course management system, book exchange program, tutor connection, class finder, internship assistant, and the latest, campus community builders which allows students, faculty, clubs, and departments to build their websites and webfolios (ePortfolios). This website (that you are visiting right now) has been built using the faculty website builder. If you want one for yourself, sign up at facultycentral.com and begin using it for free. If you are a school administrator interested in these services, please contact me.
Most of our applications are free to public or have a free version. Our philosophy is to provide as many free services to faculty and students as possible. We have been funding most of the services and are continually looking for schools to sponsor and license our services and continue the funding.
TBXN.com or The Book Exchange Network, will remain as a free community service. The idea behind the book exchange was always there. But I didn't give it much attention until two of my students decided to drop the class because they couldn't afford the books. Having been a starving student (literally) and having put myself through college, I felt an obligation to help. So after a few prototypes and about six months of research and development and contacting various booksellers and the library of congress, the Book Exchange program was born. It is now called "The Book Exchange Network" and resides at TBXN.com. If you want to adopt a book exchange program for your school, feel free to contact me. It's a great service to students, provided by many schools.
I received Bachelors in Computer Science (magna cum laude I should add) from Cal Poly Pomona, and Masters in Computer Science from Cal State Long Beach. My interest in biology, genetics, and psychology fueled my interest in unconventional computing techniques such as artificial neural networks, artificial intelligence, evolutionary programming, DNA computing, and artificial life. So I decided to do my Masters thesis in one or more of these topics. My thesis, titled "Cooperative Conscious Learning in a Multi-Agent Environment," began by a study in machine consciousness. That lead to studying human consciousness and the attempts to mimic a tiny part of our brain using AI and ALife methods. The end result was a database driven implementation of tiny creatures (called agents) with a little bit of brain (using neural networks) that controlled their leg movements. Genetic mutations (using generic algorithms and evolutionary computing concepts) controlled the faith of their asexually reproduced offspring - the least mobile and the least smart would die of hunger. The goal was to let them learn how to walk and share that knowledge with (or teach it to) each other. If you're interested in discussing that, drop me a note.
This is a quickly outdated section as the software industry changes on a daily basis. I keep learning new things and forgetting old stuff. My professional software development ventures have been in a variety of environments using a variety of tools. They include PC-based to Client/Server to web applications to real time systems using ColdFusion, Java, Delphi, Visual Basic, ASP, MS SQL Server, Oracle, MySql, Paradox, and many other tools. The reason for starting the list with ColdFusion is due to the fact that Reazon Academic Solutions are developed in ColdFusion.
I've always put a lot of emphasis in good software design. If you're a programming student reading this, I don't grade by whether your program runs or not, I grade based on the quality of code. I thought I should mention that here because I carry the same principles at work.