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Geo: A Web Based Event Registration And Communication Tool

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2008 Annual Conference & Exposition


Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Publication Date

June 22, 2008

Start Date

June 22, 2008

End Date

June 25, 2008



Conference Session

Computer Education Management Tools II

Tagged Division

Computers in Education

Page Count


Page Numbers

13.642.1 - 13.642.10



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Paper Authors


David Bowman Clemson University

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David R. Bowman is a Lecturer in the General Engineering Program within the Department of Engineering and Science Education at Clemson University. He is also a Computer Science Ph.D student in the School of Computing at Clemson University. His educational background includes a B.S. and M.S. in Computer Engineering from Clemson University.

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Elizabeth Stephan Clemson University

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Dr. Elizabeth Stephan is the Director of the General Engineering Program within the Department of Engineering and Science Education at Clemson University. She earned BS and PhD degrees in Chemical Engineering from the University of Akron, and worked for four years as a Production Engineer at Dow Chemical in Traverse City, MI. She is the District Director for Tau Beta Pi and Chief Advisor for SC Alpha Chapter of Tau Beta Pi.

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Lisa Benson Clemson University

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Lisa C. Benson is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Engineering and Science Education, with a joint appointment in the Department of Bioengineering, at Clemson University. Her research areas include engineering education and musculoskeletal biomechanics. Education research includes the use of active learning in undergraduate engineering courses, undergraduate research experiences, and service learning in engineering and science education. Her education includes a B.S. in Bioengineering from the University of Vermont, and M.S. and Ph.D.degrees in Bioengineering from Clemson University.

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NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

GEO: A Web-based Event Registration and Communication Tool


The first-year engineering courses at Clemson University involve various out-of-class requirements, such as departmental tours, exams, team projects, and presentations. Enrollment in the first semester course typically exceeds 850 students, and the number of students who can attend any single out-of-class event has physical and logistical limitations. Additionally, because these students are unfamiliar with course guidelines, procedures, and each other, straightforward communication tools are vital to their success. A web-based system, GEO (General Engineering Online), was developed using PHP1 (a programming language used to dynamically generate web pages) and MySQL2 (a relational database management system). The system allows pre- registration for required out-of-class activities (department tours, advisor appointments, and team project work sessions). It also provides a portal for communication between students, instructors and advisors (peer evaluations, surveys, email confirmations of appointments, and student/team management). This study examines the capabilities of the GEO system from the viewpoint of students and faculty, as well as its pedagogical implications. The program and data structure are described, along with sample statistics generated by the system. Future directions include the development of GEOPort, an individual and team work documentation tool. This will transform GEO from a registration and communication tool into an education research tool. Team members will be able to post text, pictures, or video in response to instructor-posted materials, and to document their progress on projects and assignments. Rubrics can be developed to grade online submissions, and to track student approaches to design, problem-solving, and team dynamics.


GEO (General Engineering Online) is a web-based software system developed for use by the first year engineering program at Clemson University. The intended goal of GEO is to assist instructors in classroom management to allow the instructor to focus more time on developing educational materials. As more features are added to GEO, it becomes apparent that the system has potential for assisting instructors research the performance of students in large enrollment classes, and the effectiveness of instructional innovations.

GEO utilizes a web-interface created with PHP1 (a programming language used to dynamically generate web pages) and MySQL2 (a relational database management system) running on an Apache3 web server to eliminate the need for students or instructors to download any extra software. This also allows students and instructors running different web browsers and operating systems to access the same tools in GEO from in or out of the classroom. In the Fall of 2007, 75% of the students were running Windows XP, 15% Windows Vista, and 10% Mac OS X. Given the distribution of operating systems of first year engineering students, robust web-based solutions in the classroom are crucial for simple implementation in the classroom. This paper discusses the current features of GEO along with details about the functionality of each feature. The future features of GEO are discussed as well as a strategy for their implementation in the classroom.

Bowman, D., & Stephan, E., & Benson, L. (2008, June), Geo: A Web Based Event Registration And Communication Tool Paper presented at 2008 Annual Conference & Exposition, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. 10.18260/1-2--4188

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