College of Technology Springs Into Action

May 1, 2020

PNW student Hao Xu working on COVID-19 website

PNW student Hao Xu working on COVID-19 website

PNW students, with support from College of Technology faculty, have built a website that references positive coronavirus cases in the regional area to help inform the community during the worldwide pandemic.

After failing to find cross-referenced sources online regarding the COVID-19 positive case count in the Region, Keyuan Jiang, PNW department chair of Computer Information Technology and Graphics, invited students Hao Xu (pictured) and Minghau Zhu to develop a website to track and report this information. Hao Xu is a soon-to-be computer information technology (CIT) student completing PNW’s English Language Program, and Minghau Zhu is a junior majoring in CIT.

“Minghau and I made the prototype of the website in two days,” said Xu. “I am coding and continue to work on that. I have learned a lot from my professor and classmate while working on this project.”

 

I have learned a lot from my professor and classmate while working on this project.

PNW student Hao Xu

Xu is thankful to receive real-world experience working on this website while providing valuable data to the community. He stated, “Professor Jiang has been working with me daily. He gives me many valuable suggestions. He created an issue tracker document citing new features and bugs of the website to help us improve.”

The website was originally developed on March 23, and has continued to advance as more detailed results are available for tracking. “Lake County publishes the case data by city, except Gary and East Chicago, and Porter County is providing the data by township,” said Jiang. “In addition, Illinois is releasing the case data by ZIP code. With all of these data points, we can automate updating case data to a great extent. The only pieces of case reporting we need to collect are the news articles.”

Screenshot of COVID-19 website. Text: Reported COVID-19 Cases in Northwest Indiana

Screenshot of COVID-19 website.

The worldwide pandemic has shown how prevention and knowledge-sharing can make a significant difference in the outcomes of peoples’ lives. “If our local healthcare system collapses as it has in Italy, Spain and New York City, our well-being will be at great risk and less resources will be available to treat and care for each of us,” added Jiang. “We hope the information on this website can help people understand and consider what we can do to help each other.”

This PNW team is not responsible for the accuracy of the case reports. Supporting sources are provided on the website. A user can click the source link to read the related report.

The content on the website is also remotely accessible on both desktop and mobile devices. The project is available to view at covid19nwi.org.