This is the second year I have been the web administrator of Shuping Scholarship Online Application system. It has always been an honor to be in the family of Shuping, and being able to see the whole process that new students apply for the scholarship and become new member in this family is a special privilege for me. Besides that, in this case, I feel like the top boss in whole foundation, because even the admin account offered to scholarship committee that permits the application result is controlled by database root user, which is me.
However, other than the self-satisfactory of controlling the whole system, I noticed something behind the system which well worth considering.
The system is constantly updating as it is carrying increasingly complicated and comprehensive tasks for the foundation, eliminating many paper documents and heavy manual labor. But the new system is the challenge for some people. The senior committee members of the foundation, who are retired ladies are the newest Internet surfers in this wave of information in China. In addition, students from rural area in China may be the first time to use computer in their online application.
Their participation in the Internet enriches the diversity of online world, but from the perspective of system developer, what I should face is even more challenging.
First, I should consider the convenience and friendly in usage and procedure. That is, the system should be self-explainable. Users should know how to interact with system by intuition without referring to documents or help guide, like what Apple products do to new users.
Second, the compatibility of browsers should be considered. I can never imagine there are so many people using browsers like Sogou, 360 or IE 6, which are famous for its irregularity in web compatibility. But as long as there are people using these browsers, what I need to solve is their success in using the system. For example, in order to get application form in same format, I have to use pdf printing in generating the application form page instead of letting users print the html page.
Third, the immediate assistance should be given to users who still face difficulties. It almost became a joke in technical group of Shuping. One day, the senior committee member came to me to complain that the transcript uploaded by student is only an envelope, but she failed to click to open the envelope. I tried to hold my laughter, but I knew there may still a huge gap between the thought of web developer and Internet beginner. So we added a barcode on webpage for anyone who face technical problems to join in the Wechat group discussion, giving them detailed explainable and solved technical failure as soon as possible.
It is remarkable that China is developing fast, especially in IT industry in recent years, bringing much benefits to the welfare of society. But we still need to focus on the increasingly eminent problem of regionally imbalance. The position in Shuping enabled me to feel the power of information society in transforming the style of life, at the same time deeply feel the unsolved question during the social development.
Another privilege of being web administrator is having access to applicants’ information (except password, which is safely encrypted). Shuping Scholarship is one of the most competitive and prestigious scholarships in China, so the applicants are all elite for the future. This can be seen from past members at work, a third of them are doctors and another third working at top financial corporation.
I saw student who exceled at academic performance, gaining all A scores in Fudan. As a student in Fudan, I knew what it meant for such a wonder on transcript. I also saw students uploading his five certificates of donating blood in the system, and he is only a senior undergraduate. In the more diversified essay, students told their stories and their ambitions. A student studies hard in Opera performance, striving to bring Opera to the world stage. Another student is physically disabled but keeps following his dreamed of being best basketball player. Every application material presented me a unique student with great potential and special ability. I have never realized the Shuping applicants are so full of ideas. They have different life goals and take on a path of their own fearlessly. Most importantly, their endeavors are towards practicing the motto of the scholarship: "what is gained from the society should be returned to the society".
As a senior member in Shuping, I am pleased to see new students joining in, hoping the scholarship is able to encourage them to go on with more confidence.
I will go abroad next year to continue my study, so this is my last year as web administrator in Shuping. I have found my successor, who coincidently graduated from the same high school and chose the same major as me in Fudan. I never regret spending much time in the development of the system and even broke with a good friend because of some accident during the development. What I witnessed as the web administrator was a unique experience to me and I sincerely hope the system can bring more convenience to more people.