The OpenWater Blog


Build an Essay Competition in about 5 Minutes

Published September 7, 2022 in Leadership


Hey everyone. My name is Kunal Johar, CTO of OpenWater, and today I’m gonna walk through how you can build an essay competition in open water in under five minutes. So let’s talk about the workflow. An essay competition is typically hosted by a magazine or a newspaper such as a school newspaper, an English department, a theater department, or in our case, places like the New York times use our software to collect thousands of essays, rank them and determine which ones are a fit for print and their newspaper.

So let’s go ahead and see how we can build this together in an open water demo environment. Here I am in an open water demo environment. And to recap, demo environments are freely available to anyone who wishes to learn open water. I can go ahead and click on ad program. I can search for a template in this case.

I see how have a straightforward essay competition. And I have a more complicated literary writing award, which involves multiple rounds of judging and a gallery. But for today, we’re gonna use the simple essay competition that can be used in a nationwide student contest, perhaps for a newspaper magazine or theater department.

Let’s go ahead and install the template, which takes about 20 seconds. Once the template’s installed. I want to go ahead and take a look at the fields. See if perhaps there’s fields I wanna add or remove from the form. So you can see here, I’m asking for an essay title I’m asking for the author’s name.

And then with regards to the instructions here, I’m looking for a 500 word essay that can explain a science or engineering concept. To a general audience, maybe in your workflow, it is, you know, talk about your favorite book or it could be talk about something in any discipline that you’re interested in.

You can see here that we can count the number of characters, the number of words, we can also have advanced configuration with our form builder. You can also see here that we can drag and drop additional fields depending on what you’re trying to collect to make it a seamless process. So let’s go ahead.

Let’s save it. Let’s take a look at my next page. On my next page. I’m asking for the person’s sources. So, because we’re asking someone to write a article about science or math, we wanna see what were the sources of what they based their article off of. And finally, we’re asking them for some inspiration.

For what made them write this essay in the first place you can delete any feels. If you want, if you don’t want the feels here, you can easily add additional feels just by dragging and dropping. All right, let’s take a look at this form in action. Here I am on the front end, where a student can submit their essay.

You can see here. I can save. I can begin my work. I can come back to the. Complete it later. And if I try to submit something without filling it out entirely, the system will ensure that I make sure that I complete everything required and I stay within constraints such as word counts. So let me pick a stem topic that’s near and dear to me building a mobile app.

I just want to use my first name. I don’t want to give this newspaper my full name. I can go ahead and submit my essay. As you see here, I can save. I can come back later. I should provide some sources. So for today, I’ll say I found some information at Apple’s website. I can enter a URL. I can add another source.

Maybe I also. Watch something on TV. So I can say that I watched the science channel. Maybe I wanna give some inspiration. I use my phone every day and I was curious how it works,

save and continue. And I want to acknowledge that this is all my original work and I can go ahead and hit finalize. As a submitter, I will now get a confirmation email. And as an admin, I’ll have all of this information where I can then assign it to reviewers. So let’s take a look at that. On the review side, open water has the capability of bulk assignment, but we can also manually assign things to reviewers.

One by one. The review criteria is fully configurable. So here, you’ll see, in our template, we’re asking for the reading level, the merit there’s comments. And finally, if this is even science or engineering based, which is of course, one of the major criteria. So let’s take a look at the process as if I was the same reviewer.

I’m now logged in as a reviewer. And I see I’ve been assigned one application. I could review the application. You’ll see here that the author’s name is hidden. That’s cuz I could configure certain fields to be blinded or unblinded. I can review the essay. I can also review the sources. And then that evaluation rubric that we saw, which is right here, reading level, overall interest, we can see here that those same questions are being asked.

So in this case it’s difficult to understand. It’s not really that interesting. And it is scientifically based. You can see here difficult to understand. And if I go here, you’ll see that difficult to understand has been assigned a score of zero. I can save this. And as a judge, I can see the score I’ve given.

I can go back and edit my score until a reviewing period is. So you can see just in about five minutes, we’re able to collect applications, add, remove fields, depending on what we’re looking for, assign them to judges, and then set up criteria for the judges to review all this information can be exported reported on and published down the chain.

Let’s take a quick look at that. Here we are. Back in open water, you can see, we have reports and exports of the submissions. Everything’s exportable from the. Then all of the scores are automatically tabulated so that we can easily make decisions, set winners, notify winners, everything I’ve shown you today.

In this video, you can do yourself, just head to Get our practice environment, try out building out this essay. Maybe take our more complicated use case for literary awards. Thank you.


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