April 28, 2009
My walkthrough was today, and everything seemed to go very well. I created a PowerPoint for my presentation that can be viewed on the 'Downloads' page. The live demonstration went great, and I did not have any problems. The questions I received during the question and answer section were related to how the system will be maintained after I leave. Between Ted Trisco, Dr. Blahnik, and myself, there will be someone who can provide assistance in case of an error. In addition, it is my hope that this project will continue and become another senior capstone project. In my presentation, I provided ideas for future enhancements to make it easier for the next developer. To finish my website, I proofread all the main content, made sure all my downloads were working, and removed personal contact information from all the documents. I will provide my contact information upon request though. Reflecting back to when this project started, it seems like forever ago. I remember feeling lost and overwhelmed, but everything got easier throughout the semester as I became more familiar with the system. All the users of the system have been very enthused with the changes I have made and have expressed their gratitude on a number of occasions. I am happy and proud of the work I got done this semester, and it has been a great experience for me, both in the present and in the future as I enter the work force. I would like to once again thank all the St. Norbert College Computer Science Faculty, my fellow Computer Science classmates, the Office of Academic Support Services, and Ted Trisco for all the help they have given me throughout my work in this project.
April 24, 2009
As you can see, I changed the overall design of my website. I thought the old one was too plain, and it didn't reflect SNC at all. My project is for an SNC office, so I thought my website should reflect that. I also added a new tab called 'Downloads.' This section contains all the different documents I have created throughout the semester. I spoke with Dr. Pankratz earlier this week to find out what all should be included in my project binder. In the VB program, there are a lot of files that I did not alter, so I wasn't sure what I should include. Dr. Pankratz told me that for my project, I should have documentation explaining before and after screenshots and explanations, as well as my 'how-to' guides I created. After he informed me of this, I created an extensive 'how-to' guide on using the VB program. I also created documents explaining and illustrating before and after design changes I made. All of these documents are available in the 'Downloads' section of my website.
April 21, 2009 - TUTOR'S WEBSITE IS LIVE!!!
This morning, I sent an email to all the tutors notifying them that their web interface was going to change. I gave them a brief description of the changes and my contact information. Instead of going in deep detail, I told them to refer to the manual and PowerPoint that are available to download on the Home page of the website. Instead of replacing the old web interface with mine, I decided to just point the index of the old site to mine. This means that when the user types in the old, same address as always, instead of being directed to the old interface, they are redirected to mine. By doing so, we can keep the old site in case there are any problems with mine. It also gives me a point to look back to when creating before and after documentation. However, because I did it this way, it is still possible (although not likely) for someone to get to the login screen of the old webiste. To fix this, I disabled all the login boxes on the old screen, and I put in text explaining that the user was directed to the wrong website. I placed a link underneath this for them to click to be redirected to the right one, my web interface. This isn't necessarily the best fix, but it works for now because we can keep both interfaces at least until we know there is for sure no need for the old one.
April 20, 2009
As stated in my last journal entry, everything was done in the web interface except the fact that it looked and functioned terrbily in Internet Explorer. I had browser compatibility issues earlier this semester when inititally designing the schedule. I reprogrammed a couple small design aspects to get the interfaces to work in both browsers, but the navigation menu was still extremely messed up. For the navigation menu, I built the entire menu using stylesheets. Because of this, I knew IE was having problems reading certain code in my stylesheet. To fix this, I added coded that first checked which browser the user was using. If they are using IE, a stylesheet that I programmed specifically for IE is used. If the user is using something other than IE, the default stylesheet is used. This fixed all the problems, and now everything looks good. The last thing I had to do before going live was to update the tutor's manual and PowerPoint that explains how to use the interface. I have included the PowerPoint in the Downloads section of my website.
April 19, 2009
I am now nearly finished with the web side. I have all design and functions completed, so I plan to go live by Tuesday. However, I opened the web site in internet explorer and found that I have some issues to fix between browsers. Everything works great in Firefox, but some things are really messed up in IE. I am going to try to fix those in the next two days, alter the manual to reflect my new changes, and generate an email to the tutors that informs them of the changes.
April 17, 2009
We already encountered a small error this morning, but it wasn't from my program. Carole emailed me telling me that the program would not open on the office computer. I ran over, logged in, and it worked just fine. However, no one was around for me to talk to, so I planned to check in later as well. When I returned that afternoon, another student was logged into that computer, and I realized that, in fact, it was not working. I realized at this time that the desktop on a computer with 'Deep Freeze' is user specific. This means that my program was successfully installed, but the shortcut I put on the desktop only worked on my profile. To fix this, I had to get Tech Services to temporarily unfreeze the computer. From there, I had to set up the shortcut for all users. After doing so, I had a couple different students log in, and everything worked great.
April 16, 2009 - VB PROGRAM IS LIVE!!!
I fixed the help menus to reflect the new method of obtaining pictures. I also set it up so that pictures are deleted from Carole's computer as she uploads them. I installed my new program on her computer, Karen's computer, and the office computer. Carole loved everything I had done this semester. She was constantly thanking me for all the work I had put into it, and she was offering to write recommendations. This felt very nice after a long semester of working on this program. It is now a waiting game to see if there are any errors.
April 15, 2009
I met with Carole today to have one last walkthrough of the VB program. We were able to get the tutor pictures from Campus Card, instead of her taking them herself. This was a huge relief. First off, Carole has less responsibilities which makes it easier for her and leaves less room for error when taking and uploading pictures. It also saves their office money because they don't have to buy a digital camera. At the beginning of the semester, Carole sends Campus Card an email with a list of tutors. Campus Card finds the pictures and places them on the J drive. From there, Carole copies and pastes the pictures into her computer. After we figured this out, I knew I had to alter my help menus to accomodate this new method of obtaining pictures. Also, I decided that it would be nice that once she uploads a picture from her computer to delete it off her computer. This would be automatic maintenance, and it would make it easier for her. She wouldn't have to scroll through a huge folder of pictures because as she uploads them, they will be deleted. I am going to fix these two things, and I am going live tomorrow.
April 13, 2009
Over Easter Break, I was able to work on my project a little bit. On the web side, I finished up the new design layout. The one obstacle I had to finish was with my new navigation system. There are buttons across the top, but the user never knew which page they were on. I needed to set up some method so the button for the current page was differentiated from the rest. By altering my stylesheets, I was able to fix this. In the VB side, I worked on the help menus a little more to make them more concise.
April 8, 2009
I met with Professor Rohm to discuss an error I was getting when I tried to upload pictures larger than 1mb. We were able to fix this problem by changing the max allowed upload to 4mb. I had attempted to set this myself, but it turns out that when I changed it, it only changed it for my program. The server max was 1mb, so even when I tried to set it higher, I could only reach the highest server capacity (1mb). Now that we switched it, it works great. I did major design work on the web interface. I used stylesheets (with assistance from Joe Cohen) to implement a new navigation menu and overall layout. It looks much better now. The only obstacles I have left in the web side are to finish connecting my schedule to the database and implement a better method for adding/deleting courses. I will try to work on this during Easter Break. I meet with Carole and Karen tomorrow, so hopefully, I will go live with the VB program by early next week.
April 6, 2009
I met with Dr. Pankratz and Dr. McVey today to give them one last more walkthrough of my VB program before going to Carole a last time. They liked and approved all the changes I had made. I schedule a meeting with Carole and Karen, two administrators at Academic Support Services. We are meeting Thursday morning, and if they approve all the changes, I should be able to go live with the system the following week, at the latest. Because I am so close to going live, I decided to finish anything I had left to do in the VB code. I did notice a small error where the picture box on the main page was not clearing if I deleted the tutor. One line of code fixed that error. In addition to this, I organized all the functions inside the three main forms I worked with. I also added internal documentation, so it is much easier to find functions and get a quick idea of what they do. Now that I am done with that, the only thing I have left is to add a help option explaining how to upload pictures from the camera to her computer. I will do this after my meeting with her, when I decide the appropriate method for her to do this.
April 5, 2009
I went through all the documents I had that showed what Carole requested, and I think I have finally finished all of them! I decided to run throught the entire program a few more times to see if there were any more changes I wanted to do. The only thing I found was that in order to use the pictures from the database, I have to convert them into image files and save them to the computer. I save them in the C: directory as .jpg files. I realized that these files just sit there even after the program closes. Its not a big deal though because it is only three files, and even when new pictures are used, they just replace the current one of the computer. However, to clean this method up, I wanted to delete these image files when the user closes the program. To do so, in the Form Unload event, I check to see if the files exist, and if they do, I delete them. This wasn't a big change, but it cleans my program up more.
I sent Ted my new program, and we discussed all the new changes I have made. He really liked everything I had done. This was a huge relief because I was worried he wouldn't like it, and since he had such a large stake in creating the initial program, I didn't want to let him down. I plan to meet with Dr. Pankratz and Carole early this week, and depending on their opinions of the new program, I might go live with this system earlier than I had planned. I will discuss this more with Ted once I get feedback from Dr. Pankratz and Carole. I hope to go live as soon as possible because it will give everyone more time to test and give me more time to troubleshoot any errors they run into. Also, I can then focus all my attention back on the web interface.
April 4, 2009
To fix the problem with showing the user which cell they clicked on the Module form, I highlighted the entire row. Since the cells are wide, it is very easy to tell which row and cell you clicked on now. I also fixed the problem with the Delete method. Now the delete option only comes up if you right click on a cell with a date in it. If there is no date, the delete option isn't displayed. Once I got these fixed, I decided it was time to connect it to the database. I had to create another table and run queries to save, delete, and update records based on user input. Everything is working great now - saving, deleting, updating, and switching tutors all works just as intended. In the Picture Management Form, I added in a couple error handlers and better prompts. If the user tries to delete or assign a picture when there are no pictures left, the user is notified. Additionally, before assigning or deleting, there are now prompts asking the user if they are sure this is what they want to do. During my testing, I found that if I deleted a tutor, only their personal information was deleted. The connections, schedule, etc. was still stored. I fixed this by running more queries to delete their information out of every table.
In addition to these changes, I added Help menus on the main screen, Picture Managment Form, and the Module Form. Within the Help menu, there are a variety of options that she can view the help for. Most of the Help options are geared towards the new changes I made, so it is easy for her learn them. Also, by programming in the Help menus, she doesn't have to find the manual, either on her computer or a hard copy. These are just quick references for a specific task, so they should be very easy to use and very beneficial, especially when she first starts using the new program
April 2, 2009
Since my last journal entry, I have fixed the suggestions I received from Dr. Pankratz and Dr. McVey on the Picture Management Form. Now, pictures are displayed and removed from the appropriate picture boxes depending on what the user is doing - uploading, deleting, or assigning. I also continued work on the Module Form. Now, if you click on a cell, the module title is highlighted, and the calendar control pops up at the location of the mouse. You can then select a date, and the calendar disappears until you click again. I had to program the calendar, so that it flips on the x or y axis if she gets close to the form borders. This way, the calendar is always on the screen when she clicks; none of it is ever hidden off screen. I also added a delete method. For this, you have to right click on a cell. A delete option is then displayed, and clicking on it erases whatever was in the cell.
I also addressed Carole's request for a way to print the Quick Search Results. My initial funtion to do this worked great on the first page, but each page after that, there was only one record displayed. I found that this was because the printer was not being told to go to a new page or return to the top. For this, I had to calculate where the printer was on the page, and once it reached a certain point, I had to tell it to switch to a new page and go back to the top. After doing so, it printed just as I had planned. I added both headers and column lines to make it easier to read. The printout is displayed exactly how she sorted it in the program.
I implemented a method to allow Carole to search for tutors or classes and jump to that section, instead of just scrolling through the entire list. I added text boxes above the current tutors, inactive tutors, and courses lists boxes. Now, when the user types in one of these boxes, the lists jumps to the matching criteria. In addition, I also programmed it so the user can just hit enter instead of having to click. The user can now type in part or all of the name and hit enter to access the tutor's information. I did run into a VB6 bug when implementing this feature though. Changing the selected index automatically calls the list Click method, even though the user didn't click. To avoid this, I had to change the method to a Double Click method, which is not called when the selected index is called.
I met with Dr. Pankratz today to show him this progress. He thought everything looked good in the Picture Management Form. He liked the Module Form a lot more since the changes I had made. He did have a couple suggestions though. He still thought I needed a better way of showing the user which cell was clicked. Right now, it only highlights the module title. The calendar pops up so close to the mouse location that it is relatively easy to tell which one you clicked, but there is still room for improvement. Additionally, you can right click on any cell and the delete option is displayed. This is unnecessary because there is no need to delete anything from an empty cell. I will make these changes soon and try to connect it to the database.
March 30, 2009
The entire past week, I have been working on the changes I had begun to make as well as implementing any suggestions I got during my walkthough. I fixed the method of showing the professor for each tutor for the selected class. I used a listview that shows each tutor, and right next to them, their professors are shown. She just has to click on the one she wants, and then she clicks 'Done'. The biggest accomplishment of this week was my work on the Picture Management Form. I was able to get it connected to the database. I created a new table in the MySQL database, and I had to use a BLOB column to store the picture. Essentially, when she uploads a picture, it is converted into a binary large object file and saved into the database. When she wants to view a picture, the file is retrieved from the database, converted back into an image, and displayed. After extensive research, I found that this was the only way of saving an image into a MySQL database. After this week's work, she can now upload, delete, view, and assign pictures to Tutors. Also, when she assigns a picture, it is displayed on the main screen if she selects that Tutor. I also began working on the functionality of the Module Form. You can now click on a cell in the listview and then click on a date in the calendar. This then puts the date you clicked on in that cell. The main problem is that I do not have a way of showing which cell you clicked on. This is not connected to the database yet, so nothing is stored or retrieved yet.
I met with Dr. Pankratz and Dr. McVey today to show them this progress. From my interpretation, they liked the functionality and simplicity of the Picture Management Form. They suggested a couple changes such as clearing the picture box once a picture is deleted or assigned. Similarly, when one is assigned, it should be displayed in the Current Assignment picture box. We also discussed ideas of how to show the user which cell was clicked. The main idea I had for this was the one that Dr. Blahnik gave me. This was to move a textbox over top of the cell that was clicked. This is basically just a visual way of showing which one was clicked.
After I met with Dr. Pankratz and Dr. McVey, I met with Carole for a couple minutes to show her my progess. She loved the new screen after I made it larger and spaced everything out. I was going to show her the two ner forms, but when I tried to open them I got an error saying I was missing two .ocx files. Initially, I had no idea why this occurred, but I was going to check with the Computer Science professors later. I also convinced Carole that adding CRN numbers was unnecessary at this time because she still wasn't sure why she would need them. It wouldn't be hard to add them, but if there's no use for them, I didn't think I should even try to add them. She did mention that she would like the ability to print the Quick Search Results, so I will have to add that soon.
Immediately following this meeting with Carole, I ran back to the Cofrin and talked to Dr. Blahnik about the errors I ran into. He informed me that this was caused because she doesn't have Visual Studio on her computer. The two .ocx files are included in the Visual Studio libraries, so to fix this problem, I would either have to add Visual Studio to her computer or manually put the files on her computer. After doing some more research, I found the two files, and by placing them into her System32 folder and running two commands to register the files, the error was fixed.
March 18, 2009
I had my walkthrough today. The presentation went very well overall. I actually ran out of time, but one reason I did was because we had an open discussion during the presentation. For my final presentation, we will not have this, so I will have approximately 10 more minutes to present. Overall, I got a good response from the class about the changes I had made. One change that was suggested was to the method of showing Carole which professor that Tutor had. With the changes I had made, she clicked a class, clicked a tutor, then the professor was shown. The suggestion was to show all the Tutors for the selected class and show the professors right next to them. This way, she just clicks the right Tutor/professor combination she wants without having to click on each Tutor to see the professor.
March 17, 2009
The last few days, I have been working on the VB program extensively because my walkthrough is tomorrow. I wanted to make sure I had enough to present, so I have been programming like crazy to get some major work done on the VB program. I adjusted the screen size to the maximum size that Carole's computer would handle (found this information out on March 6 - see Journal Entry). Now when she opens the program, it completely fills her screen, giving me more room to work with. After adjusting the screen size, I spaced out everything that was there before. This made it much easier to see everything; it was not nearly as cluttered.
I fixed the timeout problem Carole was having. By making a listbox to show when I connected and disconnected to the database, I found that after sitting idle for a few hours, the database connection would get disrupted causing the program to freeze. To fix this, I added a timer to the program that reconnects the program to the database at a specified interval. By doing so, I am connecting to the database often enough that the connection is never dropped, and the program never freezes.
One change that Carole requested was that she wanted to see the Professor for the class that the Tutor took before she selects the Tutor. The reason for this is because she likes to assign a Tutor that took the same professor as the student. Currently, she has to select a tutor and then she sees the professor. If the Tutor had a different professor, she has to go through the whole process to select a Tutor again. To fix this, I added a second listbox that shows the professor when Carole clicks on a Tutor. Once she finds the right one, she clicks 'Done.'
The two main changes I made were two new forms I created. I built the Picture Management Form, which is where Carole will upload, delete, view, and assign pictures to tutors. I also added a picture box to the main screen where the Tutor's picture will show if she has uploaded one to the database. At this point in time, the layout is completely done, but I have not done any work to connect it to the database. In addition, I created a Module Form, which is where Carole can input and delete dates when the Tutors finish certain modules required for being a tutor. At this point in time, I have just finished the layout as well. There is a list view displaying the modules and a calendar control for her to click on. In the coming weeks, I have to complete these two forms, getting them to connect to the database.
March 9, 2009 - March 13,2009
This week was Spring Break, so I was unable to access the database from home. This meant that I couldn't work on the VB interface this week. In addition, I was very busy working on my Grandfather's house and on my Father-in-Law's farm. I also had to help my mother get everything ready for her wedding. Needless to say, I didn't have a lot of time to work on my project. When I did find time, I began some work on the Web interface, redesigning the navigation menu and picture across the top of the page. I also finished the Course Request Form on the Tutor web page. Tutors can now input a Course ID, Course Name, and Professors on the website they use. This will then be sent to Carole's email, so that she can add the course to the database.
March 6, 2009
During my experimentation, I kept thinking the VB screen was too small. Everything seemed to be crammed together, and I still needed room to implement the Picture feature for each tutor. Because of this, I decided to have a meeting with Carole to look at her monitor. I found that the resolution was set relatively low, but she liked it that way because it made everything larger on her screen. As I looked on her computer though, I realized that the VB screen was not maximized to her window. Because of this, I can set the VB window larger to fill more of her screen, giving me more room to space things out and add the picture box. I also notified her of the two features that I found that she was unaware of. She was very happy to know this, but she also gave me some more ideas she wanted done. I told her that I would consider them, but my primary concern are the ones on our task list. She wanted CRN Numbers included in the interface somewhere, as well as a tutor record put into the interface that shows when tutors complete certain milestones.
March 5, 2009
I have been doing further experimentation in the VB interface, just to get a better feel of how everything operates. I found that when scrolling through the list of classes or professors, you can hit a key, and it will jump to the entries starting with that letter. This was one of the features that Carole wanted me to implement, but it turns out that it is already there. Carole was just unaware of this. In addition, Carole requested a button to delete all connections between tutors and tutees at the end of the semester. However, when experimenting, I found this capability was there also. It is located in the File menu, and Carole was unaware of this feature as well.
March 4, 2009
Because of the questions that arose when giving Dr. Pankratz a walkthrough of the web interface, I scheduled a meeting with John Rappel, who was the main developer for the course management feature. During our meeting, I found out that the first list of classes is only those classes that tutors can tutor. This means that classes that are not registered for a tutor will not be displayed. This is why not all classes are listed in both list boxes. The second list box contains all the classes, but the first is only those that are registered with at least one tutor. I also found out the proper method to adding a course. When showing Dr. Pankratz, it turns out that I was not using the Add method correctly, but Rappel cleared this up.
During my meeting with Dr. Pankratz, he mentioned that Professor Rohm was very good at Perl, so she might have a method for me to use in the web interface to notify Carole when a class that a tutor took is not in the available list. I emailed Professor Rohm about this issue, and she sent me a link to a good tutorial on using PHP to email someone without opening their default email client. With the help of this tutorial and further assistance from Professor Rohm, we were able to get a test page working with this functionality. I will implement this into the Tutor page soon.
March 2, 2009
After talking to Professor Rohm and Computer Services, I found out that I could not connect to the Tutor Database while I was home for Spring Break. Because of this, I decided that I needed to work on the VB side for this week and next. I will continue my work on the web interface while home on spring break because I can access it anywhere. Initially, the VB side was not connecting to the database properly from my dorm room. After speaking to Professor Rohm and Computer Services, they were able to put in an IP exception for my dorm room connection, so I can now connect to the Tutor Database through the VB side. I met with Dr. Pankratz today, and I showed him some of the changes I have made in the web interface as well as giving him a walkthrough of the VB interface. He gave me some design pointers for the web interface that I definitely want to get to, but at the moment, I am more focused on Carole's functionality because she is the primary user. While giving him a walkthrough of the VB interface, I realized that there were a lot of questions I still had concerning its use, primarily with the course management feature.
February 28, 2009
The first bug I addressed was that when the user enters the graduation date (i.e. Spring 2011) and saves it, it always reverts back to the current date. After examining the database and the web code, I found that the correct date was being stored in the database. However, when retrieving it, it was not being parsed apart correctly. After making the adjustment, it worked just as intended.
The next feature that I addressed is that when the user attempts to add a class, they first select a discipline, then the course ID, and finally the professor. Once they have selected all of this information, they can add the course to their list. It is at this point that the user finally sees the course name. In one of my consultations with the tutors, I found that this was a problem because many of them did not remember the course ID. Therefore, to find the right class, they would have to completely add the course to their list, view the course name, and if it was wrong, they would have to delete it and start over. I wanted to implement some way for them to see the class name before completely adding it. To do so, I set up another query to the database retrieving the course name when the user selects a course ID. Now, the user selects the discipline followed by the course ID. At this point, the course name is displayed, and the user can select their professors or go back one page to select a different Course ID. This eliminated the need to completely add the course just to view the course name.
Another feature that I needed to implement was some way for the tutor to notify Carole if a class that they are able to tutor is not listed in the list of classes. My initial thought was to create a form on the web page, which allowed the user to enter the Course ID, Course Name, and up to two professors. After this was filled in, the user would click Submit, and an email would be sent to Carole with this informatoin notifying her of the change requested. However, after I set this up, I found that to send the email, the user's default email client has to open in order to send it. This created a problem because on all the SNC computers, Outlook would try to open, and none of the students configure Outlook when they are using them. They simply open Zimbra through a browser, so this idea would just create more problems for the user. After talking to Ted, we decided that the best way to go would be to create a XML file with the form data in it. Then, the VB program would open it, parsing out the data, and notifying Carole that there are changes that she needs to approve.
For this upcoming week, I am going to continue to work on the Class Request feature. I am also going to continue working on getting a tooltip to show as stated above. Once I get that completed, I will actually put this new schedule system into the web interface. I will have to set up my queries at this point to save and retrive the user's data. I hope to have all my web interface work done by the end of this week. Then I can focus soley on the VB interface portion.
February 19, 2009 - February 25, 2009
During this time frame, I have been working on the scheduling aspect of the web interface. Click Here to view more information.
February 18, 2009
I had a phone conference with Ted to discuss what I had talked with Carole about. I asked him more questions concerning the database itself because, up to this point, I do not have any experience using a MySQL database. He gave me a quick tutorial on how to use Putty to view the database tables. He also helped me clean out my development area for the web interface and VB interface. In both, there were files used just for the Live version of each, but I only needed the development ones. While talking to him, I decided that I would start my work in the web interface because I was more familiar with it at this time, and the changes needed were smaller relative to the changes needed in the VB interface.
February 17, 2009
Over the weekend, I developed a project proposal to have Carole sign. It can be viewed/downloaded on the Project page under the Download section. I met with Carole today to discuss the proposal. I showed her the task list I had developed, so she knew what was going to happen throughout the semester. She was very excited about everything during our meeting, and she signed the proposal. She also gave me a few more ideas to consider, but I will push those down my priority list for now. I want to get the initial ideas done first.
February 12, 2009
I met with Dr. Pankratz, and we discussed all the new information that I received from Carole and the tutors. We decided that it was best to leave the database and interfaces as they are. My new project goal is to implement the new features that were brought to my attention and fix the bugs that have been noticed. My next objectives are to get a little more clarification from Carole on a few features, and once I complete this, I will develop a project proposal to give to Carole.
February 11, 2009
I met with two tutors to get their input on the web interface. I found that both tutors like the web interface, but neither use the database very often. They did have ideas for a few features or bugs that need attention. These can be found in the Task List Excel Spreadsheet found on my project page. I spoke with Ted Trisco, and he helped me assign difficulty ranks for every feature that the tutors and Carole gave me. With this, I will also look at the priority rank to decide which features should be implemented.
February 9, 2009
I met with Carole this morning and developed a list of features that she would like to see added to the VB interface she uses daily. These can be found by downloading the Task List Excel Spreadsheet found on the project page. I did find that she is an avid user, and she loves the interface the way it is. Because of this, my project goal has switched from upgrading the interfaces to implementing as many of the new features that she requested as I can.
February 5, 2009
I met with Dr. Pankratz to iron out some more details of my project. We asked Professor Rohm to set up a separate, independent area of the web interface, so that I could begin testing and modifying code without damaging the current system. Dr. Blahnik set up a separate copy of the tutor database on the G drive, but I still need to make sure it is not directly connecting to the database. Dr. Pankratz and I decided that my immediate goal is to talk to Carole and some of her tutors, so that I can draw up a work flow diagram. This will also give me an opportunity to witness the system being used and here feedback on what changes need to be done. I set up a meeting with Carole for Monday morning, and I got a list of her tutors. With this list, I will be able to contact a few of them and get their opinion of the web interface.
February 3, 2009
Ted sent me directions on how to access the tutor database on the G drive. I experimented in the development environment to get an overall feel of the system. It became apparent to me that I definitely need to watch Carole Basak (the main administrator) use the system, so I could see how she uses it everyday. I began building my website in PHP. I also mentioned to Ted the idea of converting the VB6 interface into C# because I have more experience using it. We are still pondering the idea because it depends partly on what Carole wants done to the system.
January 31, 2009
I met with former St. Norbert College Computer Science Major Joe Cohen, and I bought a few books from him to help me further understand the languages I would be using for this project. I got one on VB6 and another one for PHP and MySQL. I began reading them just after our meeting, and I will continue to rapidly progress through them.
January 29, 2009
I was confused as to the overall purpose of this system, primarily because I hadn't got to truly dive into it yet. I asked Ted if he could give me a genearal idea of what the system is, and his response was "This system assists the tutor office in efficiently finding the best tutor / student (or "tutee") matches based on both tutee need and the tutor's current workload, expertise and availability." From his response, I now understood why the system was needed, and I also found out that there are only two users, the administrator and the tutors. In the project description, I was under the impression that the students being tutored had access as well. Ted also recommended that I use PHP to build my website because it would help me get acclamated to using it for the web interfaces of the tutor system.
January 28, 2009