This tutorial is a companion to the blog on the online contest judging and vote counting tools, which includes a video demo that is more of a “commercial” for how it works and why you might want to use it.
The video and bullet points below provide more how-to details on the use of the contest tools. These instructions are specific to the standalone version of the contest tools (users of WordPress for Toastmasters contest websites can access the same tools by clicking the Contest Scoring Dashboard item under the Agenda menu for any meeting).
An area, division, or district leader who would like to use this tool can set up one or more scoring dashboards by following these instructions:
The process is:
- Create a toastmost.org user account if you do not already have one.
- Log in at contest.toastmost.org
- Enter a title and date for your contest
- Invite judges and other contest organizers to join you. If they do not already have a user account, one will be created for them.
- Judges will be sent a unique, coded link for their digital voting form.
- “Dashboard users” (chief judge, ballot counters, other authorized users) will be sent the link to the scoring dashboard where the results will be displayed. Only authorized users can access this screen (see screenshot below).
- Enter the list of contestants for the contest.
- At the appropriate time, set the speaker order. The online system can randomly shuffle the order of contestants for you, or you can only set the order manually.
- Verify that all judges have the coded link to their voting page and are able to access it. You may wish to email that link to them shortly before the contest begins.
- There is a separate coded link for the Timer’s report tool. Send that to the timer or timer.
Have a Backup Plan
This tool has worked well for multiple contests. Still, you should have contingencies for technology glitches. If a single judge is unable to vote online, but relays votes to the ballot counters or Chief Judge, contest organizers can record those on the judge’s behalf using the coded link on the scoring dashboard.
The contest scoring dashboard is password protected. Be careful that you distributed the coded links for each judge and the timer to the correct individuals.
How the Club Website Version is Different
On a club website, members already have user accounts, so you would typically assign roles to existing users rather than creating user accounts for purposes of participation in a contest. It is possible to put in the name of a guest judge from another club (rather than picking a user name from the list) and manually email the coded judging page link to that person. The chief judge and ballot counters must have user accounts to access the password-protected contest scoring dashboard.
The initial setup of a contest dashboard is accomplished by selecting “Contest Scoring Dashboard” under the “Agenda” menu for any event. Initial access to the judging dashboard is limited to users with administrator or editor rights. Once the dashboard is set up for a specific contest, access can be added to other users who will be filling contest roles such as ballot counter.