Local professionals are using NEWORK Space in creative ways. This summer, Denison University professor Tom Bressoud joined downtown Newark’s coworking community to write the book, literally, on data systems.
Bressoud grew up in Springfield, Ohio, and worked in industry research for 14 years before returning home to teach computer science at Denison in 2002. Since that time, he has seen a real rise in the need for “data aptitude” across multiple fields of study: biology, sociology, economics, and political science all increasingly require a basic knowledge of how to collect and interpret data. In other words, data systems aren’t just for techies anymore.
Up to now, however, database courses have been designed for upper-level students who already have extensive knowledge of computer science systems. Bressoud set out to change that. Last year, he rolled out a new class designed to serve this new audience. “It’s a course that is turning [computer science] curriculum upside down a bit,” he said.
Bressoud collected teaching materials from a wide variety of sources, but found that younger students and those from other disciplines had trouble understanding terminology that kept changing from one lesson to another. “One of the challenges of the class is that there is no textbook for it,” Bressoud said. So he decided to write one.
But why did Bressoud, who has a quiet, private office on the Denison University campus, choose NEWORK Space for this project?
“If I wanted isolation, I’ve got a perfect home to do that. But I don’t find, particularly with a writing project, that isolation is the best for my working and thinking,” Bressoud said. Working from home had its own set of distractions, too. Bressoud was making plans to camp out at the library for the summer when his wife, Suzanne, suggested he check out NEWORK Space.
It turned out to be a great atmosphere for writing. “The staff and folks here are so welcoming,” he said. “I can be downstairs when there are the right number of people around, and I find it energizing.” When he needs a quiet place to double down, he headed upstairs to his dedicated desk.
Bressoud also enjoyed working on the square. “I absolutely use downtown businesses more,” he said. “Franks & Sammies is a favorite of mine.”
Bressoud has headed back to campus for the fall, where he’ll teach another semester of his innovative data systems course. He plans to start submitting proposals to academic publishers later this year.