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1.1 Background of study
Distance education emerged in response to the need of providing access to
those who were not able to participate in face to face courses. It includes those
programs that allow the learner and instructor to be physically apart during the
learning process and maintain communication in a variety of ways. Keegan
(2006). Technology has played a key role in changing the dynamics of each
delivery option over the years as well as the pedagogy behind distance
education, it enables learners and instructors to access education at any time and
from any place. It has been found that technology is beginning to change the
way lectures are delivered and how students learn.
Shanam (2008) noted that the introduction of an interactive system will offer
unique opportunities for providing solutions to many of the increased needs of
our educational system today. Chat systems are most suitable for
communication because it enables immediate conversations freeing lecturers to
focus and interact with students for a closer relationship, since there is an
outgrowing need for electronic accessories which will provide great necessity
speed, efficiency and perfection of work.
Now, the internet represents one of the most successful examples of
sustained investment and commitment to research and development of
information infrastructure. Information handling has gone beyond papers and is
now at the direction of personal computer.
Thus, the main objective of this project is to develop a general purpose
interactive information system for a more web-centric environment, although its
primary focus is not on the website design but a platform where lecturers,
students and any authorized person can get all the available information like
lecture notes, assignments, and so on. It will also help in making the processing
of information easier and feedback faster.
Basically, it has been observed over the years that number of students live
far away from the educational institutions as well as some workers who find it
necessary to obtain higher education degrees, for further employment to satisfy
the competitive job markets. Instead of resigning or quitting their current jobs,
they prefer distance learning and also in many institutions most students find it
difficult to interact with their lecturer, which makes it hard for them to unleash
their potentials. So the rising tide of not getting to know more about students
and lecturers occurs due to lack of student-lecturer relationship whereby most
times a lecturer after delivering his/her lecture leaves the hall without minding if
the topic is been understood properly or not and the students who are not bold
enough to approach the lecturer for more explanation tends to fail. Even in the
aspect of submitting assignments on time too, the course representative may
relay the submission date to his/her fellow students late and this may also lead
to failure because most students might be unable to complete it before the
deadline to this effect, a crucial need for the interactive system for courses to aid
students submit assignments on time, interact with different course lecturers
directly, participate in course forums, download course materials and many
other academic activities is required.
Since many of today’s young students can be referred to as “digital natives”,
a term coined by Prensky(2001) to describe individuals who have known
nothing but a digital environment since birth, surrounded by and using all the
necessities of the digital age. Mostly, these students prefer to seat at their
comfort zones and learn, therefore interactive systems like this can be very
The key goal of every lecturer is to engage the students and an unrelated
student is unlikely to excel in a course but it can be difficult to hook every
student manually, consequently, with an improved interactive environment this
goal can be successful. The degree of inter activity and quality education will
increase because students working from a computer have more time to ponder a
question before responding than they would if there were in the lecture room
and also those who are timid about speaking during lectures feel freer to express
their opinions online.
1.2 Statement of Problem
The importance of interactive information systems has different impacts on
instructors and students depending on how involved they are. Hence, the effect
might likely produce good outcome. In order words, to find out if higher
institutions should maintain adequate information system as to improve
interpersonal relationship between lecturers and students some areas need to be
Therefore, this research work will address the following issues:
1. Late submission of assessment work like assignments.
2. Poor Circulation of adequate information.
3. Fair relationship between lecturers and students.
1.3 Aim and Objectives
The primary aim of this research work is to design and implement a student
chat information system for communication in Cross River University of
The Objectives of this project are:
a. To develop forums with user friendly interfaces for discussions.
b. To manage students assignments effectively to enable them access it in
c. To create a platform that enables students receive course materials on
1.4 Significance of study
This research work would benefit students and lecturers, the development of
the information system will assist lecturers to keep pace with the fast
technology changing world by highlighting communication functionality and
thus students can make personal use of this system to help them understand
more in different courses.
1.5 Scope of study
This research work covers the design and implementation of a Student Chat
Information System for enhancing distance learning in tertiary institutions.
Primarily, it focuses in interaction between students and lecturers and also
student academic activities like getting course materials, submitting
assignments and so on.
1.6 Limitation of study
This research work is limited by the following factors:
1. Limited bandwidth- low bandwidth makes real time information transmission
impractical and slow.
2. Complexity -Due to limited number of communications in some information
systems conversations may become a more involved process.
3. Start-up cost- Some student may not have enough to purchase the technology
needed to participate during interactive sessions and this might be very
4. Inadequate power supply.
1.7 Chapter Layout
Chapter One: It covers the introductory parts containing the research
background, the statement of the problem, scope of the problem and its
limitation. The aims and objectives as well as the definitions of terms.
Chapter Two: It is the literature Review, in this segment of the research work,
views and opinions of different people who have written on the related field.
Chapter Three: It focuses on the system analysis, the methodology, and
problem of the existing system and the evaluation of the proposed system.
Chapter Four: It deals with the system design, input/output specification,
choice of programming language and implementation.
Chapter Five: Highlights the summary of the results obtained in earlier
chapters. It also shows the continuation and recommendation of the research
1.8 Definition of Terms
Administrator: A person responsible for managing a computer or network and
has full access to the hardware.
Database: A set of related files that is created and managed by a management
Education: Teaching concepts and perspectives; computer education includes
computer systems and information systems.
Interactive: The back-and-forth dialog between the user and the computer.
Interface: The set of commands, messages, images and other features allowing
communication between computer and users.
Media: It is the plural for Medium and it is commonly used with the word data.
In the in text of computers, it refers to objects on which data can be stored and
the form of technology used to communicate information.
Multimedia: It is the use of computer to present concurrently, in an integrated
manner more than one medium, text, graphics, video, animation and sound.
PC (Personal Computer): A small computer designed for use by one person at
home or office.
Pedagogy: The art, science or profession of teaching.
Prototype: A demo of a new system used for clarifying information
Technology: A systematic method of solving a given problem.
Web-Centric: The application or system that has been designed for the web.