METU CC User Training Sessions and Seminars
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METU Computer Center holds, within its limits, free sessions and seminars for the users and to the different sectors of the public aimed at enhancing computer literacy. The subject of these seminars and training sessions are set upon the demands from the users, the topics decided by the our colleagues volunteering to provide the training, the topics that software companies are willing to provide at no cost, and within the light of the experience acquired by the training given by the Center so far. Once the topics to be conveyed are decided upon, a schedule is set with the colleagues, experts in the field, and the users are informed via the general announcement list, CC bulletin, This Week at METU flier, department/unit computer coordinators, the main page, of the program.

Registration to the trainings and seminars is conducted through a web interface a week before the courses start. At the completion of every session the participants are asked to fill out a questionnaire in order to get a feedback.


Since 2003 trainings and seminars on the below listed topics have been held, at least for once, for the users. Some of these trainings are provided, depending on the demand from the users, at least once or more during a term. These trainings and seminars can be classified under two main headings:

Trainings and seminars provided by Software Companies:

  • MSC.Adams
  • MSC.Marc
  • MSC.Marc
  • MSC.Nastran
  • MSC.Patran
  • Macromedia Studio 8
  • Ansys

Trainings and seminars provided by the CC staff:

  • Adobe Photoshop
  • AJAX
  • CC Services and Internet Applications
  • Devising Multi User Operation System Installation CDs/DVDs
  • Hardware
  • Effective Windows XP Usage
  • Google and Search Hints
  • Visual Usage and Active Presentation Techniques
  • Security / Viruses
  • HTML
  • Internet and its Applications
  • Java
  • Java Servlet
  • Cryptology
  • Latex
  • Linux-Introduction
  • Linux Security
  • Linux Shell Programming
  • Linux Installation
  • Linux System Management
  • Linux Configuration and Management
  • Macromedia Flash MX
  • Web Site Design with Macromedia Dreamweaver
  • Linux Desktop Usage
  • Microsoft Access
  • Microsoft Excel
  • Microsoft PowerPoint
  • Microsoft Windows XP
  • Microsoft Word
  • OOo Calc
  • OOo Impress
  • OOo Writer
  • PHP
  • PostgreSQL
  • Unix
  • Database

The trainings and seminars supplied by software companies are negotiated and no cost to the CC or the participants sessions resulting from the request from the CC or the firms themselves. The content and the duration of these courses are decided upon by the companies. The CC conducts the organization details of the announcements, the necessary hardware and software installations, for the trainings and seminars.

The trainings and seminars held by the CC staff are provided primarily on a voluntary basis and with the intention of sharing experience and expertise with other users. The topics of these training sessions and seminars are chosen mainly in accordance with the needs and the requirements of the users. The future recurrence of a newly offered or first time session is decided upon the results of the evaluation of the participant and user questionnaires.

In 2006 Fall Term we started to convey certain trainings and seminars to our users by means of the Smart Class Project and by making use of the METU TV live broadcast facilities. We are planning to reach all internet users with three different options, the ongoing live in-campus wide band multicasting test broadcast, off-campus wide band unicast, and a choice for 56K modem users. Furthermore we also continue to provide videos of these sessions on our web pages for those who can not watch simultaneously, so that they can benefit from them.


A seminar web page ( has been prepared for the on-line organization of training sessions to be held and/or held. The seminar page consists of three main interfaces which may be named as the user, the instructor, and the administrator interfaces.

3.1. The User Interface

The user interface is designed

  • to follow the training sessions organized,
  • to apply for the sessions they prefer and get authorized,
  • to access sessions that have already been given and get their course notes,
  • to demand for the sessions they wish to acquire in the future,
  • to get hold of the briefs of the training sessions and seminars held between the years 1998 - 2005,
  • to provide feedback,
  • to get help about the seminar page,
  • to fill in the user questionnaire,
  • to enable the users to watch live broadcasts and training videos.

The following addresses are used to access the user interface.

3.2. The Instructor Interface

The Instructor interface is designed

  • to keep attendance for the given training,
  • to add unregistered users in the rooster,
  • to start and end a session,
  • to start and stop the live broadcast,
  • to cancel the training in case of too few participants,
  • to allow or block filling in the questionnaires for the participants,
  • to fill in Instructor surveys.

3.4. The Administrator Interface

The administrator interface is designed

  • to enable them to access training topics table and add new course topics,
  • to be able to list current or future
    • sessions,
    • sessions being designed,
    • sessions being applied for or accepted,
    • registration completed sessions,
    • trainings cancelled by the administration,
    • trainings cancelled by the instructor,
    • training sessions ready to be presented,
    • ongoing trainings,
    • completed trainings,
    • trainings all processes of which have finished.
  • to follow up training applications,
  • to end the processes of completed or cancelled sessions and to get a report for those,
  • to access
    • general information,
    • instructor questionnaires,
    • user questionnaires
    stages of the finalized trainings,
  • to be able to be informed of the trainings demanded by the users,
  • to be able to cancel trainings,
  • to update instructor and hall information by accessing them.

The web interface we have prepared has been employed actively for all the trainings we have provided as the CC since January 2004. Owing to this interface the users, the instructors and the admin can access the information about the trainings and seminars on-line and perform the processes, summed up above, without any trouble.

3.5. Seminar Web Page Usability Study

It is imperative that the METU CC seminar page be used effectively and efficiently by the users since it is an interactive web page. For this reason, the seminar page which has been started to be tested at the Human Computer Interaction Research and Application Laboratory established within the METU CC will also be subject to heuristic analysis for further improvements.

For the usability study of the seminar page, the target audience of which is the university students and staff, fourteen subjects were chosen from among students and research assistants who have not made use of the page. Seven of these have tested the page as it was. The other seven will test the page after it will be further developed relying on the results of the first group. In this way the bugs of the existing page will be debugged and the testing of the debugged page will be possible.

Eight tasks were expected of the seminar page and the subjects were asked to perform these. In order to test frequently accessed information for users, the tasks were set in the light of the opinions collected by the instructors during seminars interviewing the users face to face, relying on the surveys conducted at the of the seminars, the feedback forms on the page and the messages sent to the electronic list about problems and suggestions.

An eye tracker was incorporated during the test to record information like where, how long, and how often the users looked on the page. In addition to this, procedures like users' thinking aloud, and recording of the number and location of errors which stand for the classical usability study have also been employed.

As a result of the usability study the number of errors, location of the errors, thanks to thinking aloud the problems encountered, and user opinions and the analysis of the visual and numerical output from the eye tracker, the problematic sections and functions of the page were pin pointed the stage of troubleshooting was put into effect.





1. Checking the dates of a current training session and registering.




2. Providing information on the state of ongoing seminars.




3. Accessing the detailed info on the notes and the content of a training topic (Macromedia Flash MX).




4. Accessing a live broadcast if there is any, if not watching an existing video.




5. Watching the video of CC Services and Training Applications.




6. Making a demand for opening up seminars for Excel, Latex and Noldus.




7. Displaying the trainings provided by companies in the year 2002.




8. Accessing info about why trainings may be cancelled.




9. Finding out when and at what time the MS Word training is given.




When taken into account, we observe that the completion of the tasks 'two', 'six', and 'one' have taken the most time in that order. From all the data analyzed together it is apparent that the reason for the prolonged duration of the second task arises from not clearly understanding the nomenclature of the buttons presented on the interface. The sixth task is to make a choice from a list of tasks or to enter a topic which is not on the list to the given field placed at the bottom. Although the users face no problem at this, the problem arises from them not being able to see the need to fill in the fields at the top for the department and the user type. Although the first task requires a longer time compared to the others since it includes registration and notification procedures, all the users were able to complete it with no errors. The task where most errors were encountered was the task where the date and time for a certain training topic was required. Here, the errors were made due to the fact that there were two ways to proceed and the instruction on the "i" (information) button on the main page not being very clear.

In addition to the data of number of errors, success rates and durations, the data recorded from the eye tracker shows us the problematic sections of the interface.

After analyzing all the tasks in this manner, it is planned to join all the data from this study, from the data of the eye tracker and heuristic studies known as Nielson's ten rules, in order to make the necessary changes and further improve the interface.

The most prominent of these changes are, changing the definitions on the educational status section at the training program table, making the sub information under the "i"(information) button more comprehensible, changing the name of one of the pages since there are two pages named the training program, putting training topic, and training film options on the same page or alternatively correlating them, rearranging the live broadcast page making the necessary alerts more pronounced, similarly enhancing the necessary alerts on the demand form page, updating all information, using the word communication instead of feedback, such similar changes. Besides the directly page related changes it is planned to add back to "METU Main Page", and "CC Main Page" options, last update info, and for the non-native users a notice informing that the page and the trainings are in Turkish.

After the changes done, the interface will be tested again with seven different users and the data obtained will be compared.


Between the years 1998 - 2003, 2516 people participated in trainings and seminars we held aimed at computer literacy. Since January 2004, 53 administrative, 502 academic personnel and 1693 students have applied and a total of 1098 persons have participated at the 116 trainings and seminars we have provided on the web interface. 668 participants have filled out the participant questionnaires. To the trainings and seminars we have grouped under 28 headings, 5674 demands and 181 demands that may classified under different headings were received.

In the light of the demands, surveys, and participation at the trainings provided, the duration of some trainings were prolonged and the content extended to higher levels, some were repeated in the same term, and some were discontinued and are not offered any longer.


Between the years 1998 - 2006 different groups were supplied with trainings aimed at increasing computer literacy, Internet and desktop security. 1988 persons participated at these trainings. These can be listed under the main headings as:

  • Within The Internet Week, Internet Training for the seventh and eighth graders of Elementary Education
  • Training seminars for the Association of Support and Education for Women Candidates (Ka-Der)
  • Basic Security Trainings for the Administrative Units Personnel
  • Basic Security Trainings (Face to Face Security Trainings) for the Academic Staff
  • Training Seminars supplied for the school teachers of the Ministry of Education
  • Other Public training Sessions

Presented on Akademik Bilişim 2007.

Ahmet Fatih Ersoy - Özge Alaçam

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