Overview of COMPMNGR's judge's marking device system for Internet devices (smart phones and compact tablet computers)
Some of you know that COMPMNGR already has two features
supporting remote marking devices, one for PDAs and one for Windows based tablet computers. So
why did I add a third? Because of problems with the first two. One problem with PDAs is that they will become less readily available as they are replaced by
smartphones, another is that they have a tendency to lose their WiFi connection,
a third is that it is expensive to get enough of them to equip the judges, few
of whom have their own. The problems with Windows based tablet computers are
that they are relatively bulky, heavy, and expensive. And they are required to
run a special application, which requires some training.
The type of Internet devices which COMPMNGR's judge's marking system is designed can operate on either cell phone networks or on WiFi networks. The user can select whichever type of network seems to offer the most reliable network connection in the extant environment. Also, Internet devices use their built in web browser to access marking form web pages created and posted by COMPMNGR instead of a special application, so very little training is involved. Another advantage is that the number of judges who have smartphones, iPads, and the like will likely grow, so that the competition organizer won’t have to provide the devices. The COMPMNGR Internet device based marking system is designed so any number of judges, from one to all, can use his/her device to do the marking. It does require that the scrutineers be able to access the Internet from their notebook computers, but the number who can do that is also growing.
Here is a brief summary of how the system works.
(1) After the scrutineer starts up COMPMNGR he/she clicks on a menu item to “enable” the marking system. At that time COMPMNGR creates and posts a small “sign-in” web page for the judges then tells the scrutineer the address of the page so he/she can pass the link to the judges.
(2) The judges start their device’s browser, go to the sign-in page, enter their ID letter or number, and wait for a signal (a wave or a wink) from the scrutineer that he/she has posted a marking form web page for the next heat.
(3) Just prior to the start of a heat the scrutineer positions the highlight bar on the heat header in COMPMNGR’s on-screen program and then presses the F9 key. This causes COMPMNGR to create and post a web page for marking all the competitions within the heat. The scrutineer signals the judges (with the aforementioned wave or a wink) that the marking form web page is available.
(4) The judges click on a button in the sign-in page to take them to the marking page. They enter their marks, click on the ‘Submit’ button, and return to the sign-in page to wait for the next heat. (For you techies, the submit button causes a small file containing the judge’s marks to be stored on the web page host computer.)
(5) The scrutineer pops up COMPMNGR’s scrutineering data entry dialog box, just as if he/she were going to enter marks recorded on paper marking forms. But the dialog box has a new button labeled “Get marks”. When the scrutineer clicks on it COMPMNGR downloads whatever judges marks are available (from the aforementioned host computer) and automatically enters them into the marking form. Marks submitted on paper are entered manually into the form.
(6) Go to step (3) and do it all over again for the next heat.
To use the Internet device judging feature requires you to purchase the web page creation feature ($100 option), but a lot of folks do that anyway so they can post their heat lists and scoresheets. Once the web page creation feature is enabled you are ready to go.