Global J. of Engng. Educ., Vol.8, No.2 Published in Australia
© 2004 UICEE
The Development of Online Conference Management Tools as a Student Project* Özdemir Göl Andrew Nafalski Thien D. Nguyen Quang T. Tran
University of South Australia, Mawson Lakes Blvd, Mawson Lakes, Adelaide, SA 5095, Australia
In this article, the authors describe online conference management tools that have been developed at the University of South Australia (UniSA), Adelaide, Australia, by students as their final year electrical and information engineering design project. These tools have been utilised to manage an international conference. The Web tools allow a host of tasks to be handled efficiently. These tasks cover the whole range of conference related business, including the issuing of call-for-papers and providing information about the conference, methods of contacting the conference organisers, registrations of interest, online submissions of abstracts (and, later on, full papers) and online reviewing of contributions. The project has satisfied a number of criteria in terms of suitability for engendering graduate qualities in senior engineering students.
The advent of Internet-based online systems has revolutionised the management of almost every conceivable form of human activity, ranging from making purchases to handling finances. Indeed, the organisation of professional conferences has been no exception. Gone are the days for calls-for-papers, paper submissions, and registration documents that need to be printed and distributed at substantial cost by regular post. All this, and more, can now be routinely achieved online. It may not be generally recognised how complex a task organising a conference is. Many logistics problems can be solved in a sensitive way by avoiding bottlenecks and inadvertent friction points. If online resources are to be utilised, this requires the mastery of sophisticated skills ranging from systematic thinking to multifaceted computing skills. Regrettably, generic software for practical online conference management *A revised and expanded version of a paper presented at the 4th Global Congress on Engineering Education, held in Bangkok, Thailand, from 5 to 9 July 2004. This paper was awarded the UICEE gold award (third grade) by popular vote of Conference participants for the most significant contribution to the field of engineering education.
is hardly available. These factors make the task suitable as a challenging topic for a final year electrical engineering project. The authors of this paper have variously been entrusted with the responsibility of organising international conferences. This has been one of the underlying motives for designating the topic as a final year group project.
It is a standard requirement at the University of South Australia (UniSA), Adelaide, Australia, for final year students to produce a design specification as a guide that leads to the implementation of the project . The design specification is to identify the constraints on resources for the project and establish criteria to gauge the success of the outcome. In this case, students were given the task of creating a Webbased management system for an international conference. They identified the following as the cardinal criteria for the project: • Information content: The site must contain pertinent up-to-date information related to the stage along the timeline of the conference calendar, including the provision for the registration of
Ö. Göl et al interest, mechanisms to acknowledge and respond to senders of enquiries, the creation of a mailing list and database, the broadcasting of e-mail messages to those on the mailing list and the dynamic updating of the Web site to reflect the current state of conference activities. The submission of abstracts and papers: Provision must be made for proposed contributions to be up-loaded directly via the Web site....
References: 1. Sommerville, I., Software Engineering (6th edn). Reading: Addison Wesley (2001). 2. Sklar, J., Principles of Web Design. Canada: Course Technology (2000). 3. Tran, Q. and Nguyen, T., Internet-based Conference Management. Final Year Design Project Report, University of South Australia, Adelaide, Australia (2003). 4. International Conference on Electrical Machines in Australia (ICEMA), University of South Australia, Adelaide, Australia (2004), http://www.unisa.edu.au/icema/ 5. University of South Australia, Graduate Qualities (2004), http://www.unisanet.unisa.edu.au/ gradquals/staffIndex.htm
Özdemir Göl has had extensive experience as an engineering educator in addition to his substantial industrial experience. His academic career has included appointments in electrical engineering at universities in Turkey and
Ö. Göl et al Quang Thai Tran received his Bachelor of Engineering in Computer Systems Engineering in 2004 from the University of South Australia (UniSA), Adelaide, Australia. Since graduation, he has worked as an Information Technologist at the UniSA. He is now studying for his MBA degree at the UniSA in Information and Communications Technology Management.
In 1989, Thien Dug Nguyen arrived from Vietnam in Adelaide, Australia, where he continued with his education. He graduated in 2004 from the University of South Australia (UniSA), Adelaide, Austalia, with a Bachelor of Engineering degree, specialising in the field of Computer Systems Engineering.
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