Today, I visited Shantou Univeristy‘s “Network Center.” I had a vague notion that this group was a few programmers locked away in some shack on the east side of campus. However, I was pleased to find a miraculous building that looked a whole lot like Microsoft headquarters (which I visited two years ago). Inside there were tens of workstations with people typing away, using Skype, using QQ, etc. The first question I had was, “what do all these people do?”
As it turns out they work in teams to develop, launch, and maintain the University’s information techology systems from email to the website. However, I don’t really see very many tangible things they work on so I had this preconceived notion that IT doesn’t really exist at this school.
I visited the Network Center to look into the possibilities of online ticketing for Pippin. I met with some group leader who seemed rather confident at taking a 1700 seat theater and mapping it out for a ticketing interface in the matter of a week or two.
While originally I was told about the possibilities of simply having reserved seats, I introduced the notion of assigning single user/audience member to single seat. That seemed very feasible to the group leader but we had a hang up on the fact of how to do seat confirmation. I recommended having an email confirmation sent to the user which he would print out and use as a “ticket” at the door. The problem with that was that student users often don’t have printers here. The IT folks pushed the idea of a text message confirmation which didn’t strike me as particularly great as I envisioned people showing their cell phones to ushers.
Eventually, I settled upon going without confirmation and no hard tickets, since this is a free event. The online ticketing is more to get an idea of how many people are coming and how many seats are free. We decided upon doing a cross-check confirmation just in case someone forgot their seat number. We would look up their student ID or cell phone number to look up their seat number.
The IT group is currently putting together the details of the proposal, ready by later this afternoon!