Alex Stacy is a PHP developer and current developer on the Classroom Capture tool at NC State DELTA. Beginning her role in July of 2019, she was a part of automating the startup of Classroom Capture, a resource that has been heavily relied upon throughout the pandemic and the shift to remote learning.
Being a ‘military brat’, Stacy is from a little bit of everywhere across the country. Born in North Carolina, she then lived in Texas, Colorado, California and Florida. “I’ve been to almost every state at least once,” says Stacy.
How would you describe your position to someone unfamiliar with DELTA?
“I’m a programmer who helps ensure the online lecture capture system is able to be utilized and set up from semester to semester,” explains Stacy. “It’s one of the most important components to online learning and distance education as far as lecture capture goes.”
Classroom Capture is the ‘behind the scenes’ of lecture recordings. It’s an interface that sets up the backend for course recordings, ensuring they’re correctly scheduled for instructors. Classes are set up in Mediasite or Panopto with automated scheduling and recording. Come May, Mediasite will be retiring and replaced by Panopto for NC State.
Though her job involves more background code development on administrative interfaces, Stacy explained how she spends a lot of time in meetings to understand how to fix specific problems for others.
“Before programming something, I do a lot of face-to-face talking with technicians, directors and people both inside and outside of DELTA to make sure the thing we are working on is meeting their needs. I can’t write solutions for people unless I know what solutions they need,” she explains.
What has been your favorite project you’ve worked on?
Stacy described her position as challenging in the way goals tend to be ongoing. Though projects are large and take longer periods of time to complete, her favorite completed project was developing a time reporting tool for Associate Director of Instructional Media Production John Gordon. It was created as a way for employees to record hours working in and out of production, consulting with clients and working in the recording studio through a website spreadsheet. The application gathers information from Google and automatically inputs it into the spreadsheet where mathematical calculations set up by Stacy are completed. Users are able to see specific hours worked, such as how much time a project was spent on. Essentially, the platform Stacy created is a time clock.
“I had worked with APIs before, but never Google’s,” explains Stacy. “I got to learn and implement new things. It’s a neat system I’m pretty proud of.”
What is the most challenging aspect of your job?
“Having ongoing and moving goals was an adjustment,” says Stacy. “I am younger and not as experienced as my colleagues. I don’t have that breadth of knowledge.”
She described the nature of her job as challenging and intimidating but exciting as she’s given the opportunity to do her best at learning on the job. Being able to ask questions and work through difficult and unfamiliar situations has shown to be challenging, yet rewarding.
“There’s so much that I don’t know, but I’ve learned that persistence over time, determination and continuing to move forward is sometimes more important than having that knowledge,” says Stacy.
How was the nature of DELTA shifted in the past year due to COVID-19 and the need for distance education?
Because her job was primarily focused on online and distance education before, the only major shift for Stacy was working remotely due to the pandemic. The biggest change was implementing Zoom for previously face-to-face meetings and not going into the office.
Though no major changes were made with her position, Stacy described a major shift in communication across DELTA staff.
“I’ve noticed that we have more meetings now than prior to COVID-19. People are communicating more and are able to get ideas across more effectively than before,” explains Stacy. “There’s also been more effective documentation.”
What do you like to do in your spare time outside of work?
“I’m definitely the programmer stereotype. I love to play video games and am currently developing my own,” says Stacy. “I like fishing games, so it’s a pet simulator sort of game. I started it a few weeks ago, and I’ve got water and a boat, and they move.”
She detailed the math and programming that go into the development of just the water alone. How it shimmers in the sunlight, moves, makes noise and crashes on the beach is all done with the help of complicated math, scripting and programming.
“Since it’s a fishing game and you’re spending a lot of time around water, the water has to look nice,” says Stacy. “When it comes to game development, I’m kind of picky.”
Outside of programming, Stacy enjoys the company of her two cats, Chewie and Albedo. She also loves to bake because “baking is a science, cooking is not,” says Stacy.
DELTA is grateful to have Stacy’s drive and creativity on our team!