An Enhanced Online Result Processing System For Information Management Technology Department

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ABSTRACT

The end-of-course grades assigned by lecturers are intended to convey the level of achievement of each student in the class. These grades are used to make a multitude of decisions. Unless a sufficiently accurate and efficient method is used  for  the  grading,  the    grades  are  apt  to  convey  misinformation  and  lead the decision-maker  astray.    In  itself,  the    processing  of  results  is  found  to  be
rather  tedious,  especially    when carried    out manually, and when the number of students is large. It is time-consuming and error prone. The process, however, becomes a lot easier and much more accurate when carried out with a computer running a suitable software application. To find a sufficiently fast and accurate method of carrying out this processing is a problem that is both challenging and interesting. In this work, a computer software application was developed to facilitate the automated processing of the results. The software was developed in Java programming language in the form of a database, employing PostgreSQL Relational Database Management System. The developed software performed well and produced expected results on completion. With it, it was possible to compute Grade Point Average and Cumulative Grade Point Average for each student based on examination scores entered being the core idea behind the design.

1.0    INTRODUCTION

1.1    Background of Study

The errors associated with the existing manual method of processing of students’ results in most universities in Nigeria, including the Federal University of Technology, Owerri, make it not only desirable but imperative that computerized approach be used to the full in measuring students’ academic progress. The manual methods being employed suffer a number of set-back. They make the process to be time-consuming and prone to errors even as they lead to late publication of examination results. Worst still, sometimes wrong grades are being entered and students’ grade point averages are computed wrongly. Consequently, the cumulative errors being generated are ultimately linked to awarding of erroneous class of degree. Some students could end up with undeserved good classes of degree, while others could be unfairly victimized, bringing about frustration. In this case, the image of the department(s) concerned and the whole University alike could become tarnished. The problem, therefore, that arises is to find a method of processing examination results that would be sufficiently accurate and reasonably timely.Result processing is a routine activity. Every semester in the higher institution calls for assessment of the performances of the students. This assessment usually comes in the form of examinations, tests, practicals, labs, and the like. Without an assessment of the students, there will not be the need to work hard.

Assessment takes the form of a reward system. Students are interested in a competitive environment. Tracing this to the primary and secondary school systems where the students are graded in positions; each student works very hard to make the best results. The higher institution system is no difference. At the end of each academic semester, the results of the semester academic activities are computed. The issue here is in the conversion of the levels of involvement and expertise of the students into relative figures which ranks the students.

There are over forty (40) departments in the Federal University of Technology, Owerri (FUTO), each having an average of over four hundred students. A simple calculation here surfaces that there are over sixteen thousand students in FUTO; excluding the post graduate and pre degree students. Each of the students in every level has results to be computed. The task of result processing and other academic activities mandates the assignment of course advisers to take care of such functions.

Result, by way of definition is the consequence of an action; the conclusion of a problem, or experiment after a period of time. At the end of each academic semester, the results of the exams, tests, practicals and labs are calculated and the grades are correspondingly computed. This is done by the various course coordinators of the courses. The next phase of the result processing process is done by the level course adviser. Each level of every department has its own dedicated course adviser. The course adviser acts on the list of results of all the students in his/her level and those of other students who sat for courses in other levels; either as borrowed courses or as carry over courses. The task ahead of the course adviser is to convert the grades of the students submitted to him into grade equivalents.

The Federal University of Technology, Owerri (FUTO) is characterized by six faculties. The faculties with the associated number of departments are tabulated below.

Table 1.1: FUTO Faculties and associated number of departments

S/NO    FACULTY    NUMBER OF DEPARTMENTS
1    Engineering and  Engineering Technology    9
2    Sciences    11
3    Management Technology    6
4    Agriculture and Agricultural Technology    7
5    Health Technology    5
6    Environmental Technology    6

In Universities like FUTO, the need for automated method of keeping data has been there. There have been several attempts to develop systems for automating result processing, but most of the work of this project will be on the processing of the results of the students at the undergraduate levels; and also span across other course advisers’ functions. With Information Management Technology department as the organization’s case study, this work is focused on providing alternative solutions to the general problems associated with result processing, adding and dropping of courses, registration of extra course units, timely computation ofstudents’ grades, course registrations, and above all, security issues which hinders unauthorized access to results by students and lecturers.

1.2    Statement of the Problem
The problems posed by manual methods of result processing are enormous. The situation is the same in Federal University of Technology, Owerri and correspondingly, Information Management Technology department. The issues here can only be addressed by employing upper hands. The effort expended in the process of registration of students and computation of their examination results is tedious. Quite worrisome is the fact that these processes are carried out every academic session, putting the operators in a continuous and ever demanding cycle. The computation of examination results and registration of students is obviously an object-centered activity, the student being the dominant object in this case. Hence, the need to evolve not just a computerized process, but an object-oriented software design and implementation that will effectively and efficiently capture all the important objects associated with the registration and examination result processing within the University and the interactions among the object. This genuine and noble desire necessitated the design and implementation of a result processing application for a course program, with Information Management Technology as the organization in question.

So many softwares have been developed and even sold worldwide to solve this problem but most of such softwares have been discovered to be inefficient. Another problem which these softwares have posed is non-user specific problems as they are rather general use softwares, than specific use softwares. Students as well has researched and developed their own software but they could not give or develop error free software that will assist in result generation, automated course registration to keep or build a database of results in the university that will facilitate students’ transcripts.

This problem has been procrastinating the results of graduating or graduated students hence, delay in leaving for the National Youth Service when they ought to have gone. This problem has dominated the system especially in the department of case study, Information Management Technology Department.

To arrest this problem, there is a need to develop software that is accurate, error free, and that can run on the web (using real time) in order to give students access to their results as at when needed. This will also help reduce the queue usually seen
at the course advisers’ office during result’s check and in turn tackle the so much stress on both exams and record and the management in Universities.

1.3    Objectives of the Study

The objective of this project is to design and develop system that can:

1.    Provide a reliable solution to result processing that is corruption free.

2.    Ensure that normal credit load in line with the school is maintained.

3.    Provide a software that will generate result that is accurate, timely and error free.

4.    Maintain a reliable database for storage of students’ records and update as the need arises.

5.    Restrict unauthorized access to the students' record.

6.    Provide an advice engine based on the current status of the student advices the student result which on the next course of action to take in his/her academic pursuit.

7.    Produce relevant report of students’ general performance at the end of every academic semester, presented in the form of tables, charts and graphs, etc.

1.4    Significance of the Study

The project work will help in a good number of ways to ease the delay in manual examination processing. The software developed will help schools management to achieve efficient Information Management System. There are many other advantages, and some of them are listed below.

1.    It saves time during examination processing.

2.    Database for course registration and examination result is maintained.

3.    References are very fast and delays can be avoided.

4.    It allows easy access to stored information.

5.    It provides a medium for the students to interact and discuss their results and the way forward of their academics.

6.    It helps in reducing the costs such as labor, inventory and stationery.

7.    Generation of accurate results/information on transactions is ensured.

8.    It guarantees the students unshared access to their individual results.

1.5    Scope of the Study

This research work will concentrate on course registration and examination processing system, as well as course adviser functions provided in an automated
format which enables the course adviser, the Head of Department, seen here as the enroller and the validator respectively, as well as the student to interact with the application effectively. This work will also use Information Management Technology department as the organization in question for its development. The system developed will only cover registration of students, course registration, result processing, advising functions, course creation and mapping and security of students’ record functions.
 
1.6    Limitations of Study

In the course of this design, some factors led to constraints in the effective actualization of the project.

•    The duration for this project was too small for the study to be carried out in a more complex scope. There were some other programmes like exams, to be attended to which curtailed the time spent on the project. The above constraint led to limiting the application functionalities.

•    The limited resources available for carrying out this project posed a major constraint. There was much work to be done but, limited cash was available. The available related materials in this research topic were insufficient and some of the respondents were unwilling to supply useful information.

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An Enhanced Online Result Processing System For Information Management Technology Department

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