Design And Implementation Of Electronic Tutors For Students In Higher Institutions In Nigeria

Project and Seminar Material for Computer Science and Computer Engineering

Design And Implementation Of Electronic Tutors For Students In Higher Institutions In Nigeria


Information and Communication technology has proved to enhance learning and teaching environments. One of the main advantages of distance learning is that web-based courses can be accessed at any time or place feasible. This project is to establish an electronic tutoring system, where instructors and students participate in learning activities while geographically separated from each other. This study is aimed to design and implement a distance learning system and use internet as the delivery mode. This report discusses in detail background research on online education and different modes of delivery technologies used. This report presents the design and implementation of this new and inexpensive e-tutoring system. It was developed using PHP programming language and MySQL for data storage. It handles three different kinds of users: student, instructor and admin. Various tools have been developed like course tool, message board tool, discussion board tool, exam tool, grade tool etc. Like the instructor has add/edit privilege in creating course material, and the student has view-only functionality. Admin has have access to all the tools. They can add/edit/delete course information and can add/edit/delete user profile.

Chapter One


1.1 Background of the Study

Technology is changing the way teacher teaches and learner learns. Difficulty in obtaining higher education increases for a number of reasons. It could be their possible limit of capabilities with an educational environment or disabilities that limit their access to educational institutions. There are also a number of people that live a great distance from the educational institutions. The need to commute becomes an encumbrance to achieving higher education. Also, the job markets are so competitive that teachers find that they must obtain higher education for further employment success. With synchronous schedules in present educational institutions, individuals are required to resign from their current employment to further their education. Typically, individuals are not willing to surrender their income due to the need to support a family or their current lifestyle. Some form of educational reform must take place to address the problems. Distance education or Distance learning programs are the solution to the above problems. The greatest appeal of distance learning is that one can study without having to leave home or a job to obtain higher education. These programs made it possible for students to complete their education without having to sacrifice their career and family time.

E-tutoring/learning covers a spectrum of activities from blended and hybrid learning to learning that is entirely online (distance learning). E-learning mainly takes the form of online courses, where the dominant learning technology employed today is a type of system that organizes and delivers these courses. E-learning models are attempts to develop frameworks to address the concerns of the learner and present the technology challenges to deliver effective quality e-learning. When implementing e-learning model, it is very important not to take too narrow view of what constitutes e-learning and where its main value might lie. It is very important to widen our vision to what the added value the technology offer on the learning process. It allows remote learners to interact with the subject matter, subject material, and with each other in the form that could not be achieved for learners without technology. The role of technology is to get remote learners into a position to learn as though they were in-campus. And arguably, from the pedagogical view, it may provide a new way to achieve a deep understanding of the subject.

That is to say, using technology to achieve better outcomes, better engagement and interaction for the new digital generation, effective assessment and more cost-efficient way of bringing the learning environment to the learners. E-learning models have evolved from classroom replication towards models that integrate technology and pedagogical issues. In this article we illustrate an e-learning model that emphasized the role of technology in providing electronic access services and rich contents, and focus on the pedagogical issues such online instructional design and the creation of online learning communities and social networks.

1.2 Statement of the Problem

Currently higher institutions still use the age long face-to face teaching method to pass knowledge to students. Although this method of teaching aid in learning as the students have direct contact with the teacher. This method of teaching happens to be slow and time consuming. Students have to travel long distances regularly to be able to attend lectures. Late coming to the lecture might result to student missing the lecture. Students who are shy in class will not follow in the lecture and they will not have the boldness to ask questions.

Electronic tutoring (e-tutoring), which facilitates education using communications networks, has made learning possible from anywhere at any time by using the Internet, wide area networks or local area networks. Notably, e-Learning applications which have become central to the learning process may be developed using proprietary programming. A possible solution to these problems is to utilize highly flexible open source application that allows software engineers and institutions the right to reuse, study, distribute and localize the codes to satisfy user’s requirements.

1.3 Objectives of the Study

The main aim of this report is to design and implement an electronic tutoring system for higher institutions in Nigeria that allows interaction between instructors and students. To achieve the stated aim, the following specific objectives were laid out:

  1. To develop non-expensive interactive tools like message board tool, discussion group tool and chat tool to provide interaction between the student and the instructor,
  2. To foster better and cordial interaction among members of the academic community(staff and students), and
  3. To develop a cost effective and efficient system (almost free) for disseminating educational resources between the students and lecturers.
  4. To design a system with reusable components, feasibility and provision for system expansion without compromising system performance.

1.4 Scope of the Study

This study revolves around the design and implementation of an e-tutoring system for undergraduate students. The system will be able to get and store student’s profile information, educational information. Students will be able to access notes and lecture materials dropped off by the lecturers. They will be able to ask questions and receive answers during online sessions, submit assignments and get their scores. Due to some limitations met during the research, the system does not cover the calculation of the overall grade points at the end of the session.

1.5 Justification of the Study

This work could be useful for students or officers in any schooling organization. The system provides a user friendly system that facilitates quick and efficient learning to cover larger section of students no matter their location and distance. The software also provides paperless and cashless transaction solution and also has network based solutions to operate multiple counters simultaneously in a closed environment.

1.6 Limitations of the Study

The following are some factors, which acted as an impeachment or constraints to the progress of the project work;

  1. Lack of Documented materials: It was difficult to start the project initially because reference materials at my disposal are limited.
  2. Financial constraint is another factors that limited the researcher in owning out this project effectively.
  3. Reluctance by the respondents in giving information fearing that the information sought would be used to intimidate them or print a negative image about them.

To counter this, I carried a pilot study to establish the possible cause of non-compliance in filling the questionnaires and adjusted the questionnaire accordingly. Also I encouraged the respondents to participate without holding back the information they might be having as the research instruments would not bear their names.

1.7 Organization of the Study

The report is organized as follows:

  1. This chapter (chapter 1) gives the technologies used to deliver distance education, it describes the problem statement and the main objective of this project.
  2. Chapter 2 gives background information on electronic tutoring system. It details the related literature on e-learning
  3. Chapter 3 gives the methodology and analysis of the system
  4. Chapter 4 describes the design and implementation aspects of this proposed and new system.
  5. Chapter 5 concludes the paper with conclusions and suggestions for future work

1.8 Definition of Terms


Is learning utilizing electronic technologies to access educational curriculum outside of a traditional classroom. In most cases, it refers to a course, program or degree delivered completely online.

Open Source Software:

(OSS) is computer software with its source code made available with a license in which the copyright holder provides the rights to study, change, and distribute the software to anyone and for any purpose.


Is a private network accessible only to an organization’s staff. Generally a wide range of information and services from the organization’s internal IT systems are available that would not be available to the public from the Internet.


Information and communications technology (ICT) is an extended term for information technology (IT) which stresses the role of unified communications and the integration of telecommunications (telephone lines and wireless signals), computers as well as necessary enterprise software, middleware, storage, and audio.

E-Bulletin board:

Electronic bulletin boards (also known as message boards or as computer forums) are online communication systems where one can share, request, or discuss information on just about any subject.

Chapter Five

Conclusion and Recommendation

5.1 Conclusion

The change in mode of study from the structured units and teaching methods of conventional Open University distance courses to the more open framework of a project-based course makes demands on students, i.e., a heightened level of self-confidence, motivation, and ability to organize their own workplans.

Comparing distance education to traditional face-to-face instruction indicates that teaching and studying at a distance can be as effective as traditional instruction. This is true when the method and technologies used are appropriate to the instructional tasks, there is student-to-student interaction, and when there is timely teacher-to- student. The present study outlined the design and development of a new and inexpensive distance learning system. The design was inspired by modern technology aimed to construct a basic framework.

It was started with the computer science department where the student can take courses online. This new system is a basic framework. New tools and enhancements to the existing system can be made. The objective was to design the system using a framework that was simple while using free software. In order for the framework to be simple, I used struts MVC model 2, where the presentation, business & and database layers are different. Any developer can undertake this project and can work on separate layers.

This study met with many challenges. The main challenges were to allow the software to be free, userfriendly and to fit on modest computer facilities.

The system is user friendly with titles and navigation details on each screen.

The screens are well designed with consistent layout. A user who has been given training in one screen can use all the screens easily. The system was evaluated by ten randomly chosen individuals. Introduction of the admin role removes instructors overload. Instructor can only concentrate on his/her course related work.

5.2 Recommendation

Following are suggestions to initially improve this new distance learning system:


This system is not What You See Is What You Get. Instructors while creating any course material or assignments or exams cannot include any figures. Also students cannot draw any figures. Users cannot use any kind of format, style. The future work on this project is to include an editor where the users can draw figures and use different styles.

Chat tool:

In this system the interaction between student and instructor is through discussion boards. A discussion board is to discuss about certain issues. The construction of the chat tool through which instructor and student can chat will be an added flavor to this system.

Email Tool:

Instructor and Student can send emails through an external email tool. An additional email tool to this system allows users not to go out of the system to exchange emails.

Automated Test Results:

Allow the system to automatically evaluate test results. System cannot automatically evaluate results for all the questions but can only evaluate for multiple choice and True/False questions.

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