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Computing & Information Services Newsletter
Automation Program for Seminar Registrations

To improve the CC free computer seminar service that is given at each semester to METU members, Computer Center worked toward a project of developing a registration program that would enable the members to register themselves to seminars on-line.

The users had to come all the way to Computer Center at the former seminar registration periods and write their names on the registration lists to register themselves to seminars. However, this would end up with accumulation of people on the first days of registrations; therefore the users that were able to come on the second and third days were being rejected and frustrated.

Determined to eliminate these handicaps and to give each and everyone the chance of registering themselves to the seminars, we thought the process of registration should be automated to the greatest possible extent. Thus, the project of registration program is launched. PHP4.0 was applied during the coding of the program and PostgreSQL was used as the database.

To mention about the structure of the registration program that is developed in a remarkably brief period of time as of one month:

The seminar registration program is made up of three parts, which is a characteristic feature of all the automation projects. A User Interface where the users can register themselves, an Operator Interface where the operators can approve the registrations, an Admin Interface where the system administration tasks could be handled. By using their own interface, the users can get all the seminar information and register themselves to seminars over internet at the address http://seminer.metu.edu.tr

After the users log on to the registration page, they select the suitable option asking them whether they are student or personnel; then, they are directed to the page where there are fields for them to be filled.

The Students should fill out the "student number", "name" and "surname" fields, whereas the personnel should fill out "Personnel Number", "Name", "Surname" and "User Code" and/or "METU Internal Line Phone Number" fields. [The personnel that does not own a user code must fill the "METU Internal Line Phone Number" field during the registration so that the CC personnel can get in touch with them later. If these users are elected after a random selection, CC personnel will telephone them to ask whether they will be able to participate in the seminars or not.] The registration process of the user is completed after he/she fills out the required fields on the page with correct and appropriate information and clicks on the "Register" button. If the information that the user submits is incorrect or insufficient, he/she is prompted to check the information given in the fields and repeat the process.

When the deadline of the registration period is over, a random selection is carried out by the Admin interface among the registered participants, then an automatic message is sent to the primary participants and their substitutes that were drawn. The user is prompted to reply to seminer@metu.edu.tr address to obtain "approval". Those users, who cannot send a reply e-mail message due to some inconveniencies -such as users having no PCs, users with no user accounts, users who experience problems with their usercodes- can obtain their approvals via our Operators at Industrial Eng. PC Room and Physics Department PC Room.

After the process of approving, the users who have not submitted their approvals are deleted from the system by using the Admin interface. In regard with the incoming messages, the approval process can be carried out via Admin interface as well. According to the quota of the seminar given, a second message is sent to a number of people. The final user lists are announced publicly as well.

The www pages have been prepared with the registration program and the informative pages on them. After this preparation process, the registration informative pages have been introduced to the users. [These pages are introduced under the links with the following titles: "General Information About Seminars", "What will I do after the Application Process?", "Information About the Previous Seminars".]

The seminar registration program was introduced between November 5th-7th, 2001 under the "Application Form" link. This process can be named as preregistration.

The "Admin" page of the program carried out a random selection on November 7th, 2001 among the users that have applied for seminar registrations. As a result of the random selection, two groups constituting of primary participants and their substitutes for each seminar were formed. E-mails were sent to these participants and their substitutes. Between November 7th-9th, 2001, approval processes were completed at http://seminer.metu.edu.tr/operator upon confirmation by the replies sent to these e-mail messages, confirmation of PC Room operators who performed application processes, upon confirmation by the telephone calls that CC personnel made with those users who did not own an e-mail address but an internal phone number.

As a result of these approval processes, "Seminar Participants List" link on the main page was activated at the evening of November 9th, 2001, the lists of the seminar participants were announced, and e-mail messages were sent to the users on this list.

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2001 METU CC
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