D. Edelman, E. Cutchins

North Carolina State University (UNITED STATES)
As a major research university in the United States, North Carolina State University has a large number of doctoral graduates each semester. Each doctoral graduate has a faculty sponsor who walks and sits with them at the ceremony. A walk list must be prepared in advance providing the order in which each graduate will walk to the podium and receive her/his degree. In addition, the Graduate School Dean must be prepared to announce, with correct pronunciation, each student's name including the many international students. We have developed a mobile web app which can handle the elements of the graduation ceremony process expeditiously, successfully and has substantially reduced the amount of time required by the ETD Editor/Graduation Coordinator and the Graduate School Deans to prepare for the ceremony.

The mobile application has streamlined the submission and review process, eliminated paper, and negated the need for in-person practice sessions. This saves the students and staff valuable time during graduation deadlines and celebrations. This application has also ensured accuracy that the preferred graduate name will be used and spoken properly.

The mobile application provides the opportunity for graduates to submit required information anywhere and at any time using their preferred mobile device. In addition, the Graduate Dean can preview, rehearse and replay graduate name pronunciation recorded directly by the student. The ETD Editor has noted that students spend a substantial amount of time and money earning their doctoral degree; the least the university can do is properly pronounce their name as they walk across the stage. One happy graduate said after the ceremony "That was the first time my name was pronounced correctly!"

The web app is written in PHP and HTML, utilizes a Linux (CentOS5) server and uses Shibboleth authentication for security.

The paper will present the methodology and design principles used for the development of the app, including analysis of the previous method used for development of graduation ceremonies previous to the development of the app. In addition, a comparison will be presented of the time requirements for the students and Deans for preparation for the graduation ceremonies before and after the introduction of the app. In addition, ongoing work taking place to modify the app to include Masters degree students from all the colleges at North Carolina State University will be discussed, as well as how the app can be used at colleges and universities around the world.