USG Exam Seating/Printing system

Purpose

  • to provide ISG instructional support co-ordinators the mechanism to create exam-seating plans ("people in seats") and to print customized exam papers based on the seating arrangement.

Current development plan

Last reviewed: 2012-2-16, IJM

This week [2012-2-6], I re-worked Java code for generating the PDFs so that it now generates blank spare copies of examinations according to what is specified in the database, and it includes the simplex/duplex specification in the file names of the output files. As a result, the PDF to PS conversion script no longer has simplex/duplex versions and no longer takes a "number of spares" parameter. This eliminates a potential source of error and also makes it easy to print all papers for a sitting all at once even if there are multiple examinations involved (e.g., OPD sittings).

Note: by "seating plan", I mean a plan of which seats are to be assigned and which are to be rush seats, based on how many candidates are registered for the examination.

After the above, there are all sorts of other things to do, but I think the above will address the main concern ISG has.

ST items

ST items are all linked from ST#69507.

Development notes

Milestones

2012-02-16

  1. implement automatic creation of a default seating plan: 2 hours
  2. allow course staff to specify number of spares in each room: 2 hours
  3. allow course staff to see and approve seating plan: 2 hours
  4. enable on-demand seat assignment: 7 hours
  5. allow course staff to create extra sittings and assign candidates to them: 7 hours
  6. allow course staff to specify the sequence/seat assignment order: 2 hours
  7. handle duplicate/merged WatIAM credential: 7 hours

2012-03-02:

  • prior to above, reorganized the seat and candidate information display, and the "spares count" - difficulty was unanticipated - took a couple of days
  • can now proceed with previous milestones

Part of this work led to the notion that rush seating generalizes to all exam seating (i.e. unassigned means "all seats rush")

2012-03-09:

A beginning of documenting how the system thinks about examination candidates and seats is available at http://odyssey.uwaterloo.ca/teaching/ems/classify. After much thought I adopted consistent terminology (which also applies to the database field names) and found a way to classify candidates and seats according to very similar taxonomies. Although there is something for users to learn, I'm confident this won't need to be changed.

2012-03-29

Automatic seating plan creation is now working and was used to assign seats for final examinations. This is actually more useful for midterms which tend to be run in numerous rooms but the effect can still be seen in CS 246, for example, where the two rooms are equally full. I also wrote a routine to automatically set a reasonable spare count for each room.

Also, the room display now uses three shades representing undesignated, designated but unused, and used seats, and the notations "Rv" and "Rh" are used to indicate reserved and rush seats respectively. This in combination with the improved statistics display gives course staff the information they need to approve the seating plan.

So the upcoming milestone list now looks like this:

  1. allow course staff to override number of spares in each room: 2 hours
  2. allow course staff to approve seating plan: 2 hours
  3. enable on-demand seat assignment: 7 hours
  4. allow course staff to create extra sittings and assign candidates to them: 7 hours
  5. allow course staff to specify the sequence/seat assignment order: 2 hours
  6. handle duplicate/merged WatIAM credential: 7 hours

2012-09-13

Printing simply has to be streamlined this term, in order for me to have time to work on other tasks (and so that I can be away next term). Therefore, I will now be finishing automating of sending jobs, including creating an interface for Graphics to use to request spooling of jobs to the printers. Once that is working, I can return to the above list of milestones.

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Topic revision: r8 - 2012-12-10 - TrevorGrove
 
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