On September 27th, 2011 the Computer Science Club co-sponsored an event with Stars Lounge as part of their ongoing How2 series. The goal of our event “How2: Be A Techie” was to introduce non-computer science majors to topics in computers which relate to their everyday lives. The event was open format and students were allowed to participate in as much of the activities as they were interested.
The two main attractions were “Make your own Ethernet cable” and “Take Apart a PC”. For the first event we assisted each attendee in making their own 20ft Cat5e Ethernet cable which they could then take back to their dorm and use. From this students learned a little about basic networking and as we explained why each step of making the cable. For example, the twisted pairs inside an Ethernet cable reduce noise and interference on the line as data in the form of electrical signals passes along it.
Students could also choose to see what is on the inside of a computer by disassembling and reassembling a desktop PC. This allowed the students a hands on opportunity to see what techies do everyday. In addition computer science club members explained not only how to take each part out and put it back in, but the role that part plays in the functionality of the computer and what happens can happen when each part breaks.
Star’s Lounge and Student Life provided all the supplies and the venue for this event as well as assisted with marketing. The event was attended by 20 students and 25 cables were successfully made. In total the event cost $55 dollars for 500 feet of Cat5e Ethernet cable(yes we have some left over and plan to run the event again sometime) and the RJ-45 end caps for the cables. This event was chosen by NACA Mid-America as an Outstanding Low Cost Program (under $100).