Charles's Proposal to Create a Membership Database
Proposal for Official OCESS Member Certification System
For most of its history, Spacesim has been a small organization, often having problems filling roles of the mission. However, in recent years, Spacesim has more than doubled in size, including many people that only occasionally attend and others who, not being Lisgar students, are unable to attend the administrative lunch meetings. This leads to a new conundrum – keeping track of the number of members, as well as their various certifications, and general worksession/lunch meeting attendance. In order to solve this problem, I propose, first of all, a set of criteria that defines an ‘official member’ and their rights, responsibilities and privileges; and second, an index of members on the local Spacesim computer network that includes their certifications and progress. This index would be similar to that of the wiki, but would be restricted to the local network only, and therefore only accessible by Spacesim members at 440 Albert Street. Also, by applying some basic programming, the index can be searched with keywords such as ‘ENG instructor’ or ‘solder cert’ to find the information you are looking for.
While the automatic reaction to the concept of member prerequisites might initially be negative, some sort of system must be established; and none of the criteria is unachievable or dependent on conditions that cannot be helped. Spacesim is and always will be an inclusive rather than exclusive club. The suggested criteria would take a form somewhat like this checklist; The person in question has attended four worksessions at 440 Albert Street. The person in question, if a student at Lisgar Collegiate Institute, has attended four lunch meetings. The person in question has begun station training and has at least an ‘In Progress’ certification on two stations or more. The person in question is aware and capable of CAPCOM and AUXCOM procedures. The person in question can sign the American Sign Language alphabet through once with minimal prompting. The person in question knows rudimentary First Aid and CPR Membership expires if the member in question has not attended either a lunch meeting or a worksession in four months (a full semester). When a membership expires, the member’s folder is moved into an ‘Expired’ folder. If they re-attend a worksession, their folder is moved back in with the active members, and the timer is reset. At the end of the year, the folder is deleted permanently.
This checklist would, of course, be dependent on the two commanders of the year. In short, a ‘member’ would be whatever a commander decides it is, compiling some sort of checklist at the beginning of the year to use to complete the index.
The member index would take the form of a database on the 440 local network system, with a folder for each person determined to be an official member of Spacesim. This folder would include a document with information on the member, as well as their certifications card for programs and skills. (Having the certification card as a separate document makes it easier to print out for mission reference.) The member information document (saved as lastname_firstname.doc) would include the following information: basic statistics such as a photograph, full name, common nicknames/callsigns, their current school, current age and current grade. It would also contain Spacesim-related information, such as current position in Spacesim, previously held positions, noteworthy task forces headed and missions participated in. The certification card would include EECOM, CAPCOM, Engineering, Flight/Telemetry and AUXCOM, as well as certifications for soldering, First Aid/CPR, and power tools. (These new certifications have been added after the Eric Leighton tragedy to make sure that all members understand the tools they are using and the proper safety procedures for them, as well as ensuring that all members are capable of basic First Aid in case of an emergency.) Finally, with some basic programming, a search engine can be installed in the index, making it easier for the user to find the information they need quickly and efficiently.
Keeping track of the number of members, as well as their grades and qualifications and equipped with a search engine, comes with many benefits. First, it becomes far easier for someone wishing to be trained to see who is certified at an Instructor-level for any given station. The installation of a search engine especially will make it a simple process to search for ‘ENG instructor’ (Instructor-level in Engineering). Inversely, an instructor not otherwise occupied and looking for someone to teach could simply enter something along the lines of ‘orbit in progress’ in order to see which members needed training. Secondly, having a solid number of members (as well as a comprehensive list) opens up new possibilities for funding. An organization is far less likely to donate money or tools to an undefined amount of children as they are to a well-organized, well-defined and precisely numerated club. Finally, having the certification cards on hand in an easily printed format means that, once we have a working printer, they can be printed out during mission times and stuck next to the person’s name on the shift whiteboard – or alternatively, pinned to the person’s shirt. This turns the task of assigning people to stations into a relatively simple job, easing the load on the Flight Director. In conclusion, an Official OCESS Member Certification System would solve or otherwise minimize various problems caused by the new rise in interest and membership in OCESS. I believe that the implementation of this program would be a positive addition to Spacesim, and am perfectly willing to take charge of its creation.