Computerised Course Registration and Result Processing
Computerised Course Registration and Result Processing. Nearly every section of the educational system requires information processing. With the use of computerised information processing.
One of the largest investments in many organizations is the creation, maintenance, and retrieval of information. It has been estimated that in an organization such as a tertiary educational community, information is highly essential for correct students’ record and examination data. Student information, if not properly created and stored, will cause many errors in usage Okonigene, et al (2008). Nearly every section of the educational system requires information processing. With the use of computers for information processing, the following are possible: instant access to students’ personal and course information, instant student information updating, automatic computation of the Grade Point Average (GPA), generation of the graduating students list, monitoring of failed courses, keeping an up-to-date record of the entire student body in the institution, storing course information such as course code, course description, course unit, and scores for the purpose of GPA computation, and producing user-friendly data entry screens for ease of use.
It is unfortunate that all educational institutions in the developing world, such as the Universities, Colleges of Education and polytechnics in Nigeria, still operate under the manual method of record keeping and computation of GPA. Ebonyi state university, for example, still operates on this manual method which is highly prone to errors. EBSU (Ebonyi State University), at its inception operate with three campuses namely; Isheke campus, Presco campus and Cas campus. All of which having students enrolment increasing every year, right from the inception of this great institution, students result has been manually processed. The manual system employed is not very efficient, in that a lot of paper work has to be done which takes a reasonable length of time to prepare.
Due to the increasing number of students in each campus of the institution, computation of the student’s CGPA has been a very difficult task. Therefore, because of this problems and errors arising from such a system, a software-computerized result processing system becomes inevitable; the benefits accruable from the computer-based system cannot be over emphasized.
At present the students grading system used by all Universities of education in Nigeria is the Five-Point Grading System, established by the Nigerian University Commission (NUC). The NUC five-point grading system is shown in Table 1 below.
SCORE (%) LETTER GRADE GRADE VALUE REMARK
70 – 100 A 5 Excellent
60 – 69 B 4 Very Good
50 – 59 C 3 Good
45 – 49 D 2 Average
40 – 44 E 1 Pass
00 – 39 F 0 Fail
Table 1: The NUC Five Point Grading System.
The courses offered in a Degree programme are allocated a number of credit hours which vary from one course to another, because the courses vary in their needs and scope. Hence some are allocated greater credit hours than others. The measure of performance of a student in any course is given by the grade-points obtained in that course. The grade-points (GP) obtained by a student in any course are determined by multiplying the value of the grade (numeric grade) by the credit hours of the course. The total grade-points are obtained by summing up the grade-points of all the courses offered. The Grade-Point Average (GPA) is computed by dividing total grade-points by the sum of credit hours of all the courses offered in that period. Thus;
Total Grade-Points of the courses offered in the year
GPA = ————————————————————————–
Summation of the credit hours of the courses in that year
If a student obtains the grades as shown at the end of, say, Year One, then the GPA is manually computed asIllustrated in figure 2 below:
Course Code Credit Hours Scores Grade Grade Points
GST101 2 45 D 2 x 2 = 4
GST 102 2 60 B 4 x 2 = 8
PHY 191 3 70 A 5 x 3 = 15
PHY 192 1 50 C 3 x 1 = 3
CSC 101 2 60 B 4 x 2 = 8
CSC 102 3 70 A 5 x 3 = 15
BIO 111 3 70 A 5 x 3 = 15
CSC 114 3 70 A 5 x 3 = 15
MTH 101 3 75 A 5 x 3 = 15
Total Grade –Points = 98
Total Credit Hours = 22
Grade Point Average (GPA) = 98/22 = 4.45
Table 2: illustrate how a student GPA may be calculated manually.
The Cumulative Grade-Point Average (CGPA) in any year is obtained by dividing thecumulative sum of the total grade-points over the years by the cumulative sum of the credit hours over the sameperiod. Thus,
Cumulative sum of Total Grade-Points of the courses from Year One to the Present Year
CGPA = —————————————————————————–
Cumulative sum of the Credit Hours of the courses from Year One to the Present Year
The CGPA is a very important measure, as this is what determines whether a student can move on to the next level orbe made to repeat a year or even withdraw totally from the programme. The final CGPA determines the degree Certificate awarded to the candidate on eventual completion of the programme. Obviously, for the first year, theCGPA is equal to the GPA.
Manually calculating and tracking CGPA for each student is rather laborious, especially with increasing number ofstudents, and is prone to error. With a computer the task becomes much easier, faster, and more accurate. All that isneeded is a suitable software application to run on the hardware, and a solution is established. With the appropriatesoftware in place, the system would simply capture raw scores as entered by individual lecturers for various studentsin the different courses, and then process accordingly.
1.2 Statement of the Problem
The current method of appraising staff either in an organization or institution is face with following problems:
I. Improper course registration.
II. Late release of student’s results.
III. Inaccuracy due to manual and tedious calculating and retrieval.
IV. Time wasting, inaccuracy of results and even open to fraud.
V. Cases of missing results have been recorded thereby, making examination processing more difficult and untimely.
1.3 Aim and Objectives of the Study
The aim of this project work is to develop an online course registration and result processing. The objectives of this study are as follows:
a) To develop an application that will enable student register their courses online
b) To develop an application that will enable the admin input student scores.
c) To design and implement a platform that will automatically compute student CGPA, GPA and the system will display how the CGPA or GPA is been calculated.
d) To provide a reliable solution to results processing that is corruption free.
e) To ensure that normal credit load in line with the school is maintained.
f) To provide a software that will generate results that is accurate, timely and error free.
1.4 Significance of the Study
The project work will help the university, to register the student’s carryover courses first before the fresh course and also make easier to check results and generate the student’s transcripts.
1.5 Scope of the study
This research work will concentrate on course registration and results processing system using Ebonyi State University (Computer Science Department) as a case study. The system develop will only cover course registration of students and results processing and computation.
2.1 Overview of Web Based Applications
According to Samakwe (2009), Web-based information displays many benefits of multimedia technology. Using today’s fast broadband connections, it is possible to stream sophisticated content to a computer anywhere in the world. This is an advantage for many people as the information can be received and read wherever and whenever it is convenient for them, which can be a crucial factor for a busy executive. A significant amount of interactive multimedia content is now delivered via the internet.
Web information system, or web-based information system, is an information system that uses Internet web technologies to deliver information and services, to users or other information systems/applications. It is a software system whose main purpose is to publish and maintain data by using hypertext-based principles.
A web information system usually consists of one or more web applications, specific functionality-oriented components, together with information components and other non-web components. Web browser is typically used as front-end whereas database as back-end.
2.2 Benefits of Management Information System
According to Enwere (1992), the disintegration of record management program in organizations has led to the inefficiency in administration and loss of vital information needed for decision making. Therefore to ensure reliability and transparency in the computation of results and development of ad hoc reports, the design and implementation of a Computer-based Result Management Information System must be integrated into the institution.
• First let’s look at the benefit or the advantages of having a computer-based management information system. Just as a database management system aids in the storage, control, manipulation and retrieval of data. The question is how such functions can be carried out.
• Database is seen as a warehouse of information, where large amount of data can be stored. (O’Brien, 1999). The common examples in commercial applications are inventory data, personnel data, etc. It often happens that a common man uses a database management system, without even realizing, that it is being used. The best examples for the same would be the address book of a cell phone, digital diaries, etc. all of these equipment’s store data in their internal database. In this study, we see database as a warehouse that contains all the whole students result uploaded through the use of the designed software. Through which we can have access to those result, manipulate it, and make retrieval any time. DBMS enables easy and convenient retrieval of data. A database user can view only the abstract form of data; the complexities of the internal structure of the database are hidden from him. The data fetched is in user friendly format.
• Secondly, the unique data field in a table is assigned a primary key. This takes us to another advantage of database which is assigning attributes. A unique data field in a table as expressed is assigned a primary key which helps in the identification of that data. This primary key helps in checking for duplicates of data storage in the same table and thus help in reducing data redundancy. Example, “students’ registration number”. According to Date (2003), There are tables, which have a secondary key in addition to the primary key, the secondary key is also called ‘foreign key’ and it refers to the primary key of another table, thus establishing a relationship between the two tables.
• Another unique advantage of database is systematic storage. The tables consist of rows and columns. The primary and secondary key helps to eliminate data redundancy, enabling systematic storage of data.
• Changes in schema: The table schema can be changed and it is not platform dependent. Therefore, the tables in the system can be edited to add new columns and rows without hampering the applications that depend on that particular database.
• Seltzer (2008) stated that, in database there is No Language Dependence.
The database management systems are not language dependent. Therefore, they can be used with various languages and on various platforms.
• The database can be used simultaneously by a number of users. Various users can retrieve the same data simultaneously. The data in the database can also be modified, based on the privileges assigned to users.
• Data Security: According to Kenny (2008), data is the most important asset. Therefore, there is a need for data security. Database management systems help to keep the data secured.
• Privileges: Different privileges can be given to different users. For example, some users can edit the database, but are not allowed to delete the contents of the database. In this study, we introduced the use of privilege to grant trusted people the opportunity to edit, make changes in the database.
• Craig (2002), states that the major purpose of a database system is to provide users with an abstract view of the data; he further stated that the system hides certain details of how the data are stored and maintained. Therefore, data can be stored in complex data structures that permit efficient retrieval, yet users see a simplified and easy-to-use view of the data.
• Having understood the advantages associated with the use of database management system, we should examine closely the components of a database management system.
2.2.1 Components of a Database Management System
Codd (1970) explains that DBMS engine accepts logical request from the various other DBMS subsystems, and it converts them into physical equivalent, and actually accesses the database and data dictionary as they exist on a storage device. He further stated that the Data Definition Subsystem helps user to create and maintain the data dictionary and define the structure of the files in a database.
Data Manipulation Subsystem helps users to add, change, and delete information in a database and query it for valuable information (Seltzer, 2008). Software tools within the data manipulation subsystem are most often the primary interface between user and the information contained in a database. It allows user to specify its logical information requirements.
Application Generation Subsystem contains facilities to help users to develop transactions-intensive applications (Nkiro, 2007). It usually requires that user perform a detailed series of tasks to process a transaction. It facilities easy-to-use data entry screens, programming languages, and interfaces.
Data Administration Subsystem helps users to manage the overall database environment by providing facilities for backup and recovery, security management, query optimization, concurrency control, and change management.
2.3 Automated Students Result Processing Using Oracle’s Database,
In the Early 1970’s the first automated Integrated Student Information System using punch card input is implemented. In 1984 Punch-card system replaced by a database system on an Intercom platform.In 1988 Intercom system replaced by an Integrated Database Management System (IDMS) database system. An IDMS is primarily a network database management system for mainframe computers, (Wikipedia, 2014). Looking from 1988 through 2005 IDMS systems were continually enhanced and modified to meet new requirements and changing technology using the Internet, hundreds of interfaces have been built and extracts created to service a large number of independent systems across colleges and campus, (North Carolina State University, 2006).
Information systems used to manage student data have been referred to in various ways: Student Information Systems (SIS), Student Management Information Systems (SMIS), Student Data Systems (SDS), Student Data Warehouse (SDW), Student Academic Information Systems (SAIS), or Student Information Management Systems (SIMS), (Ngoma, 2009). Barrett (1999) encapsulates the essence of a student information system. He defines SMIS as “an integrated software package that maintains, supports, and provides inquiry, analysis, and communication tools that organize student accountability data into information to support the educational process”.
A result management system (RMS) is only an aspect of a complete SIS package. The U.S. Department of Education (2008) views student data systems as encompassing “hardware and software that provide many different functions to users, such as storing current and historical data, rapidly organizing and analysing data, and developing presentation formats or reporting interfaces”. My aim is to design and implement a University’s RMS, this system will have the capability of storing current and historical data, organize and analyse this data as required and the software will have the ability to be integrated with other SIS packages if the need arises.
Emmanuel and Choji (2012) stated that the introduction of computer into information technology has massively improved the information need of organizations. Anigbogu (2000) defined a computer as an electronic device capable of accepting data and instructions, processing the data based on the instructions to generate results or output in such a manner that is yet to be equalled by any other known machine to mankind. Since the computer is capable of accepting data and instructions, store this data and often time this instructions and then generate an output, it is therefore necessary that we harness this quality and use it to our advantage.
The process of school administration and in this case result processing is as already stated a time consuming and strenuous exercise prone to errors, if done manually, hence the need for us to seek out ways to lift this burden from the individuals involved in this exercise. The increase in students’ population over the years has made the work of administrative officer in charge of processing students’ result a very tiresome exercise to deal with. The rise in the number of students in schools today has made it imperative that we continue to seek out the best and most efficient ways to handle schools and school administration. Mohini and Amar (2011) indicated that Publication of student’s results in the manual system takes a very long time owing to which students remain idle for months together.
Sometimes the delay in declaration of result cause heavy losses to the students as generally they cannot join further studies or appear in competitive exams or join jobs because of the non‐availability of examination result in time. Nmaju et al. (2013) also observed that many higher institutions in Nigeria still adopt the manual method of managing students’ data which is time consuming and demanding, and are often prone to a variety of errors and disasters. Hence, it brings to the fore the need to properly address how these shortcomings could be resolved and improved. They further stated that the solution to these shortcomings lies in an efficient information management system, or simply, information system.
Okonigene et al. (2008) further stated that, with the use of computers for information processing, the following are possible: instant access to students’ personal and course information, instant student information updating, automatic computation of the Grade Point Average (GPA), generation of the graduating students list, monitoring of failed courses, keeping an up-to-date record of the entire student body in the University, storing course information such as course code, course description, course unit, and scores for the purpose of GPA computation, and producing user friendly data entry screens for ease of use. There exist several programming Languages, programming packages and database management systems that can be used to develop result processing software.
Java is a programming language used to build programs that can work on stand-alone computers and on the internet, its primary features are that it is object-oriented and a cross platform language. By cross platform, I mean that the programs can run across several platforms such as Microsoft Windows, Apple Macintosh, and Linux etc. Oracle’s Procedural Language/Structured Query Language (PL/SQL) is the choice of programing language used in the development of this application, because it’s Oracle Corporation’s procedural extension language for SQL and the Oracle relational database.
PL/SQL’s general syntax resembles that of Pascal. It is also one of three key programming languages embedded in the Oracle Database, along with SQL itself and Java. PL/SQL supports variables, conditions, loops and exceptions. Arrays are also supported, though PL/SQL collections. Implementations from version 8 of Oracle Database onwards have included features associated with object-orientation. Once the program units have been stored into the database, they become available for execution at a later time.