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Radu Balan, Jag Sandhar and Malcolm Lalkaka

Computing science undergrads win BCNET challenge

June 24, 2010

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Three SFU computing science students have won first place in the BCNET Broadband Innovation Challenge for a Web application that makes it easier to host live lectures online.

The annual broadband competition looks for innovative student-technology projects with commercial and collaborative potential that rely on BCNET’s dedicated fibre optic high-speed research and education network.

Malcolm Lalkaka, Radu Balan and Jag Sandhar netted the $1,500 top prize for their entry, Virtual Classroom. Now, they’re preparing a business plan in hopes of commercializing the product, which they built specifically to meet the needs of educational institutions. Sandhar says existing conferencing solutions don’t meet these needs.

Virtual Classroom, he says, improves online lecture presentations because it includes features such as hand-raising to ask questions, a chat feature for students and teachers to discuss lecture material and polling so instructors can gauge participating student comprehension.

After receiving positive feedback from lecturers who have tried Virtual Classroom, the students are lobbying SFU to adopt the application.

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