brahm neufeld

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SCI-FI PAWS Tab

Problem:

  • 30 staff members
  • 550+ classroom workshops in a two-month timeframe, plenty of travel involved
  • Lack of immediate access to schedules

Solution:
A web portal interface that talks to SCI-FI's registration system and workshop database, to deliver immediate and up-to-date schedules to staff at anytime from anywhere.

In the summer of 2008 I wrote a simple staff portal for the staff of SCI-FI Science Camps. It started with very simple features: a classroom workshop schedule and some hard-coded useful links. Over the course of the summer, more and more useful features appeared, like a system for providing feedback on SCI-FI's volunteers and a way of returning data and feedback from anonymous camper surveys to staff.

During the school year of 2009 the portal evolved into its current form: a tab on PAWS. Users are authenticated via their University of Saskatchewan NSID (network services ID) and only current staff members have access to the tab's features and information. The final featureset includes:

  • A full classroom workshop schedule, with support for filtering down to an individual instructor's schedule
  • Some neat workshop statistics, like totals and who has reached the most campers.
  • A full summer camp schedule with enrollment indicators
  • A number-of-campers-registered-by-date graph, which updates automatically through Google Charts
  • Hours and overtime tracking (personalized and always current)
  • Volunteer feedback mechanism (for providing volunteers with "did-wells" and "next-times" at the end of the summer
  • Personalized per-camp feedback from campers for the staff who delivered that particular week of camp (this tied into a larger survey system project which I'd like to write up sometime).
  • Authentication integration with SCI-FI's staff wiki using CAS, the University's Central Authentication System.
  • More! There are tiny, interesting improvements being added all of the time.

Integrating the old staff portal features into PAWS also required giving the old system a makeover to meet University of Saskatchewan image requirements. The transition was successful with the help of the PAWS Team at the U of S, who were very receptive to my proposal to add the tab in the first place, and provided me with tons of useful feedback and suggestions along the way.

Last Modified March 3, 2009