Batch processing was the traditional way of interacting with mainframe computers. The user would prepare a deck of punched-cards containing his program, data, and job control language. This deck of cards was submitted to the computer operator who would physically feed those cards through the computer when time permitted. If all went well, the computer would compile the program, link it with the system libraries, and execute the resulting machine-language program using the data provided. Output, in the form of wide-format greenbar printouts would then be delivered to the user. The total turn-around time could be anywhere from several minutes to several days.
In the case of student programmers, things rarely went well the first time around. Any errors made in the course of preparing the card deck would cause the entire process to abort and produce no output except for a printout of the errors. If the program was actually successfully compiled and linked, logic errors would often abort the run and the result was a lengthy "crash dump" consisting of hundreds of pages of hexadecimal code representing the user's memory space at the time of the crash.
Remote Job Entry:
Remote Job Entry was a system whereby jobs could be entered from a remote location. At Edinboro State College, there was an RJE facility located across campus at Doucette Hall. This consisted of an operator's console, card reader, and line-printer. From a user's perspectives, the process was identical to batch-processing in the main computer center: programs, data, and job control language were punched on cards and submitted to the operator. The advantages here were that the RJE facility was closer to the math and computer science classrooms in Doucette Hall and that the RJE operator wasn't as busy as the main computer operator, allowing for faster submission of jobs and the return of output.