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ABSTRACT

 

Internet is a huge technology that has brought life to computer and its
applications. Most forms of information management and data sharing are
done using the internet. The World Wide Web has made this possible. With
a browser running on your PC, you can get connected to the entire world.
The Internet has been used in different aspects of life most especially in the
area of education. Web portal is that area in which the huge resources
available on the Internet are being tapped. A web portal presents information
from diverse sources in a unified way. Apart from the standard search engine
feature, web portals offer other services such as e-mail, news, stock prices,
information, databases and entertainment. Portals provide a way for
enterprises to provide a consistent look and feel with access control and
procedures for multiple applications and databases, which otherwise would
have been different entities altogether. This research work focuses on
academic portal for the department of Electronic Engineering, University of
Nigeria, Nsukka. The Academic Portal is designed to automate the
Academic processes of Electronic Engineering Department. The
functionality of the portal captures new students’ admission, POST UTME
online registration, online payment using transaction ID model, online result
management, students and staff record keeping etc.
The methodology used in this research work is Object Oriented Analysis and
design (OOAD). The software packages used in the implementation of the
system are Dreamweaver CS6 (for code editing and interface design),
SQLyog for database management and design, WAMP server for offline test
running. The chief server side programming language used in the
implementation and programming of the academic portal is PHP (PHP:

 

TABLE OF CONTENTS

 

Title Page ….. ….. ….. …..….. ….. ….. ….. ….. i
Approval Page ….. ….. ….. ….. ….. ….. ….. ….. ….. ii
Certification ….. ….. ….. ….. ….. ….. ….. ….. ….. iii
Declaration ….. ….. ….. ….. ….. ….. ….. ….. ….. iv
Dedication ….. ….. ….. ….. ….. ….. ….. ….. ….. v
Acknowledgement ….. ….. ….. ….. ….. ….. ….. ….. vi
Abstract ….. ….. ….. ….. ….. ….. ….. ….. ….. vii
Table of Contents ….. ….. ….. ….. ….. ….. ….. ….. viii
CHAPTER ONE: INTRODUCTION
1.1 Background of the Study ….. ….. ….. ….. ….. ….. 1
1.2 Statement of the Problem ….. ….. ….. ….. ….. ….. 5
1.3 Objective of the Study ….. ….. ….. ….. ….. ….. 6
1.4 Significance of the Study ….. ….. ….. ….. ….. ….. 7
1.5 Scope of the Study ….. ….. ….. ….. ….. ….. ….. 8
1.6 Limitation of the Study ….. ….. ….. ….. ….. ….. 8
1.7 Project Methodology ….. ….. ….. ….. ….. ….. ….. 8
1.8 Plan/Organisation of Thesis ….. ….. ….. ….. ….. ….. 9
CHAPTER TWO: LITERATURE REVIEW
2.1 General Overview of Web Portal ….. ….. ….. ….. ….. 11
2.1.1 Classification and Types of Web Portal ….. ….. ….. ….. 12
2.1.2 Qualities of a good Portal ….. ….. ….. ….. ….. ….. 20
2.2 Basic Concept of Web Portal ….. ….. ….. ….. ….. ….. 21
2.3 Web Portal Architecture ….. ….. ….. ….. ….. ….. 23
2.4 Academic Portal at the Department of Electronic Engineering UNN….. 26
2.4.1 Problem of existing Academic Portal ….. ….. ….. ….. ….. 26
2.4.2 Features of the new Academic Portal….. ….. ….. ….. ….. 27
2.5 Quick Review of Other Web Portals in Use ….. ….. ….. ….. 28
2.6 Portal Security….. ….. ….. ….. ….. ….. ….. ….. 31
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CHAPTER THREE: METHODOLOGY AND SYSTEM ANALYSIS
3.1 Research Methodology ….. ….. ….. ….. ….. ….. 33
3.2 Design Procedure and Analysis ….. ….. ….. ….. ….. 34
3.2.1 Design procedure ….. ….. ….. ….. ….. ….. ….. 34
3.2.2 Program Modularization and Analysis ….. ….. ….. ….. 36
3.3 UML diagrams of the academic portal ….. ….. ….. ….. 39
3.3.1 Use case diagram of the system and analysis….. ….. ….. ….. 40
3.4 Class diagrams ….. ….. ….. ….. ….. ….. ….. 41
3.5 Weakness of the existing System ….. ….. ….. ….. ….. 45
3.6 Proposed New System ….. ….. ….. ….. ….. ….. 46
CHAPTER FOUR: SYSTEM DESIGN AND IMPLEMENTATION
4.1 Objective of Design ….. ….. ….. ….. ….. ….. ….. 51
4.2 System Block Diagram and Analysis….. ….. ….. ….. ….. 52
4.3 Specification ….. ….. ….. ….. ….. ….. ….. ….. 54
4.3.1 Database Specifications ….. ….. ….. ….. ….. ….. 54
4.3.2 Program Modules Specification ….. ….. ….. ….. ….. 65
4.3.3 Input / Output Specification ….. ….. ….. ….. ….. ….. 68
4.3.3.1 Input Specification and Design ….. ….. ….. ….. ….. 68
4.3.3.2 Output Specification and Design ….. ….. ….. ….. ….. 73
4.4 System Flowchart ….. ….. ….. ….. ….. ….. ….. 78
4.5 Choice and Justification of Programming Language Used ….. ….. 87
CHAPTER FIVE: RESULT ANALYSIS AND PROGRAM DOCUMENTATION
5.1 Hardware and Software Requirement ….. ….. ….. ….. 89
5.1.1 Software Requirement ….. ….. ….. ….. ….. ….. 89
5.1.2 Hardware Requirement ….. ….. ….. ….. ….. ….. 90
5.2 How to Install the Web Application ….. ….. ….. ….. ….. 90
5.3 User Manual ….. ….. ….. ….. ….. ….. ….. ….. 91
5.3.1 Running the application ….. ….. ….. ….. ….. ….. ….. 91
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5.3.2 Quitting the application ….. ….. ….. ….. ….. ….. 93
5.4 System Implementation ….. ….. ….. ….. ….. ….. 93
5.4.1 Changeover Procedure ….. ….. ….. ….. ….. ….. 93
5.4.2 File Conversion ….. ….. ….. ….. ….. ….. ….. 94
5.4.3 Training and Retraining of Staff ….. ….. ….. ….. ….. 95
5.4.4 System Testing and Integration ….. ….. ….. ….. ….. 96
5.4.5 Debugging ….. ….. ….. ….. ….. ….. ….. ….. 96
5.5 Results Analysis ….. ….. ….. ….. ….. ….. ….. 97
5.5.1 Login module Testing….. ….. ….. ….. ….. ….. ….. 97
5.5.2 Change Default Password Testing ….. ….. ….. ….. ….. 99
5.5.3 Transaction ID Generation Testing ….. ….. ….. ….. ….. 100
5.5.4 Filling of PUME form Testing….. ….. ….. ….. ….. ….. 100
5.5.5 Course Registration Testing ….. ….. ….. ….. ….. ….. 103
5.5.6 Result Checking Testing ….. ….. ….. ….. ….. ….. 105
CHAPTER SIX: SUMMARY, CONCLUSION AND RECOMMENDATIONS
6.1 Summary ….. ….. ….. ….. ….. ….. ….. ….. 107
6.2 Conclusion ….. ….. ….. ….. ….. ….. ….. ….. 108
6.3 Recommendations ….. ….. ….. ….. ….. ….. ….. 109
Appendices
References

CHAPTER ONE

 

INTRODUCTION
1.1 Background of the Study
Initially the term Web portal was used to refer to well-known Internet search
and navigation sites that provided a starting point for Web visitors to explore
and access information on the World Wide Web[1]. The term Internet Portal
or Web Portal began to be used to describe such mega-sites such as Yahoo!,
Excite, AOL, MSN, Netscape Netcenter and others because many web
visitors used them as a starting point for their Web surfing. Since then, portal
technologies have significantly matured and specialized and a diverse range
of portal types have been developed and used in different contexts[2].
A web portal is not a single technology[3], but it brings together a wide range
of technologies and enables them to work together for the benefit of the
individual. A Web portal can be defined as a Web site for a specific
audience that aggregates an array of content and provides a variety of
services including search engines, directories, news, e-mail and chat
rooms[4].
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According to the analyst and consulting company Ovum- as described in
their study “Enterprise Portals: New Strategies for Information Delivery”,
2000 – the ideal portal is based on eight functionality areas[5]:
· search and navigation
· information integration (content management)
· personalization
· notification (push technology)
· task management and workflow
· collaboration and groupware
· integration of applications and business intelligence
· infrastructure functionality
Although most of the functionality is not new, what is new is the idea that
the business value of the whole is considerably more than the sum of its
parts. Thus, a successful portal does not only consist of either a good
collaboration support or a good integration of the information sources.
Rather it consists of – just like a successful cooking recipe – a well-integrated
mixture of the basic portal functionalities.
Academic portal is a typical example of web portal which concentrates more
on school activities rather than entertainment or social network information
sharing. In the quest to automate every activity of a college/university or any
tertiary institution, academic portal was born. Academic portal is a platform
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for keeping school records, result management, computer based
examination, e-learning system[6][7], online registration, admissions, online
payment of school fees and so on. Web portals are based on cloud
computing [8][9][10][11][12]. Cloud computing[13][14][15] is a computing platform
that resides in a large data center and is able to dynamically provide servers
the ability to address a wide range of needs, ranging from scientific research
to e-commerce[5]. Cloud computing is a set of IT services that are provided
to a customer over a network on a leased basis and with the ability to scale
up or down their service requirements[8]. Cloud computing emerges as one of
the hottest topics in the field of information technology. Cloud computing is
based on several other computing research areas such as virtualization,
utility computing and grid computing[12][13]. Cloud computing is a solution to
many problems of computing[14].
In academic record keeping, portal is very useful because it allows
information to be stored electronically in the cloud for wide range access
and 24 hours availability to the entire school. The department of Electronic
Engineering academic portal helps to automate virtually all academic
processes in the department starting from POST UME registration down to
computation of final year results of the students.
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This project work is targeted at building a well secured web application[16]
for managing both staff and students’ information in the department. This
web portal allows the prospective Jambites to register for POST UME
online. The registration process starts from generating transaction ID for
bank payment using branch collect. After the confirmation of payment, the
student proceeds to fill the online form. On completion of the registration,
both SMS and email alerts are sent to the applicant to confirm the
registration. It is worthy to note that this package does not make provision
for online POST UME. It is expected that after manual examination, the
administrator will upload successful candidates so that they can start making
use of the academic portal in full.
The admitted students can now go online and pay their fees such as school
fees, hostel fees etc. The bank payment system is handled by a third party
web application[17] called branch collect. Branch collect is used in the bank
to automatically update the academic portal when any payment is made
unlike other banking applications where the student still need to go online to
update his/her payment. Branch Collect works hand in hand with the
banking institution and the academic portal. Branch collect is an epayment/
e-banking system with highly secured firewall [18]. Each designated
bank has their login access for proper security measure. The providers of
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Internet banking services must be more responsive towards security
requirements[18]. Just like e-commerce [19][20], payment[22][23] is usually
authenticated online for further transaction. E-payment system[24] is fast
growing and many organizations and institutions now use it but the
security[25] challenges are in the rise as well. The description of
functionalities of Branch collect is totally out of the scope of this thesis, we
only made mention of it because it was used for the payment gateway
therefore, let us focus on the subject matter.
When students have paid their school fees, the next academic activity is
online semester course registration. It is expected that at the end of the
semester, students can login, view and print their results including the
Course Great Point Average (CGPA).
The administrator of the portal handles the work of uploading Jambites,
admission list, result publication and staff record creation. The staff on the
other side can also publish their individual course results and view students’
results.
1.2 Statement of the Problem
Till date, most academic records and result processing are done manually
thereby causing unnecessary delay. Missing result is a common problem for
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graduating students because of the manual storage of results. Wrong CGPA
computation is another problem being encountered in traditional manual
computation. Other problems encountered in manual data processing
include:
· Records to be kept in educational system are often too large,
diversified and complex to be processed manually.
· The record maintenance and operations required on a day-to-day
basics are extensive.
· Varieties of services carried out in different departments of the
institutions necessitate considerable efforts to ensure that all
transactions are taken into proper account.
· A lot of calculations are involved in the result processing; hence the
manual method is prone to errors.
· Students are made to contend with time wastage involved in manual
registration, result processing and transcript processing.
· Information can be lost when records are stolen, misplaced or
vandalized
· Inaccuracies often ensue from human error in manual record keeping.
1.3 Objective of the Study
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The objective of this project is to develop an effective and efficient
educational management information system for the department of
Electronic Engineering, University of Nigeria, Nsukka. The new system will
help to actualize the following:
· Online Admission and Registration of Jambite
· Online Payment System using branch collect
· Online Student Registration
· Online Course Registration
· Online Result Processing
· Online Statement of Results
· Build a database for the lecturers and courses assigned to them
· Maintain a database security
1.4 Significance of the Study
Computerization of any academic process makes life easier for the school
administration and for the students as well. With the academic activities
being automated, there will be no more delay in the processing of any form
of students’ data be it admission, registration, results, profile etc.
Similarly, since all the academic processes will be computerized, students
and staff will be brought closer to computer world thereby improving their
skills in information communication technology (ICT).
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1.5 Scope of the Study
Academic portal system is a broad subject matter. It covers a range of work
which involves both academic and non-academic issues. So, this study is
designed to re-engineer educational management information system with
respect to admission, registration, result processing, and student information
related academic activities.
1.6 Limitation of the Study
Due to time constraint, program developed covers all aspect of student’s
admission processing, registrations, fee payments and result processing.
Areas left out such as course allocations, E-library, etc were as a result of
time and finance.
1.7 Project Methodology
The methodology used in this research work is Object Oriented Analysis and
design (OOAD)[28][29]. In Object Oriented Analysis[30], the entire system is
seen as a model of an object, all the attributes methods were analyzed. The
main functionalities of this project are broken down into parts especially in
the software programming aspect. There are several classes of PHP program
which encapsulate the core attributes of the system. In modern software
development, Object Oriented Programming Language is usually the main
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tool for achieving the package. The following software packages were used
in the implementation of the system
a. Dreamweaver CS6: for code editing and interface design
b. SQLyog: for database management and design
c. WAMP server: for offline test running.
Apart from PHP, other programming languages used include:
i. HTML5: for user interface design
ii. Cascading style sheet (CSS): for web styling and beautification
iii. JavaScript: for client side instant response implementation and
iv. MySQL: for database management.
v. Ajax: for combining both client side and server side operations.
1.8 Plan/Organisation of Thesis
This thesis is divided into six chapters and each chapter is further
divided into sub-headings in order to break down and analyse the main
points. The IEEE referencing method is adopted in this work. This style of
referencing makes use of superscript numbering using enclosed in square
brackets []. Diagrams are used to illustrate some of the ideas that cannot be
strictly done with texts and symbols. The six chapters in this work discuss
different aspects of the thesis.
Chapter one contains the introduction to the thesis. The introduction captures
significantly the background to this study, objectives, statement of problems
and lots more.
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Chapter two contains the literature review of the thesis. This chapter
highlights the building blocks of Web Portal, existing works on academic
portal and the new features in this latest version.
Chapter three discusses in details the methodology adopted in the project
work. Most Applications are developed nowadays using Object Oriented
Programming Language. In the analysis of such an application, it is always
good to use a more suitable methodology therefore Object Oriented Analysis
and Design (OOAD) was chosen for this thesis methodology. In this
methodology, UML diagrams were used to show the flow of the system in
view.
Chapter four explains the System Design and Implementation. It gives a
detailed analysis of system tests and results. Tables and figure were used to
show the relationship between the results obtained in the course of the
project work.
Chapter five contains the Result Analysis and Program Documentation and
finally chapter six summarizes the thesis with some recommendations made
for future studies.
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