Design And Implementation Of An Online Course Management System

Computer Science Project Material with Source Code Included

Computer Science Project Material with Source Code Included


Abstract


The aim of this study is to provide online classroom that will be running alongside the traditional classroom system, complimenting and making up for all the areas in which it is lacking, like in the area of space, effective communication of knowledge. It can go a long way to make provision to web application also known as web software that will enhance learning, like an online laboratory. Online classroom is an excellent method of teaching the adult learners because it allows them to discover new skills, technologies and strategies on their own with or without the help of their lecturers. The methodology adopted in this project was in line with the Object oriented analysis and design method (OOADM) that simply means a way of organizing software as a collection of discrete objects that incorporate both their data structure and behaviour. Therefore this methodology is developed into three aspects such as Object-oriented analysis, Object-oriented design and Object-oriented programming. During the course of this study, the researcher applied the process of e-learning solutions which is suitable for developing contexts characterized by technology constraints, in designing the project. Online classroom can go along way promoting the growth of education in schools with the use of e-learning to provide online video, online course material and enhancing easy communication between the lecturers and the students.


Chapter One


1.0 Introduction

In 1999, online courses became a new and novel way of teaching and learning. And since then, the world of teaching and learning has changed significantly, and it is still changing till date. Pallof and Keith (2007)stated that online learning communities would become an area of study, and it has. This area of study became necessary to in order to produce seasoned learning process online.

Today online learning has become common place. The explosive growth of the Internet has contributed to the increasing popularity of this type of learning, along with a desire to reach students at a distance to increase effectiveness in teaching and learning, and to provide a type of education that will be very helpful to students.
It is impressive to see almost everything being offered online, from math and science courses to art and even dance.

The emergence of new technologies has made almost anything possible – a trend that will continue into the future Pallof and Keith (2007).

The world as we know is gradually getting computerized, and students all over the country and the rest of the world spend a great deal of their time on the internet. Therefore there is every need for educational institutions to utilize this development by making their course materials available online. This will enable the students to carry on with their academic work online as well.


1.1 Background of Study

Increasingly, organizations are adopting online learning as the main delivery method to train employees (Simmons, 2002). At the same time, educational institutions are moving toward the use of the Internet for delivery, both on campus and at a distance. For organizations and institutions to make this often expensive move, there must be a perception that using online learning provides major benefits. Some of the benefits for learners and instructors are detailed below.

For learners, online learning knows no time zones, and location and distance are not issues. In asynchronous online learning, students can access the online materials anytime, while synchronous online learning allows for real-time interaction between students and instructors. Learners can use the Internet to access up-to-date and relevant learning materials, and can communicate with experts in the field which they are studying. Situated learning, or the application of knowledge and skills in specific contexts, is facilitated, since learners can complete online courses while working on the job or in their own space, and can contextualize the learning.

For instructors, tutoring can be done anytime, anywhere. Online materials can be updated, and learners can see the changes immediately. When learners are able to access materials on the Internet, it is easier for instructors to direct them to appropriate information based on their needs. If designed properly, online learning systems can be used to determine learners’ needs and current level of expertise, and to assign appropriate materials for learners to select from, to achieve their desired learning outcomes.

The rapid development in Information Communication and Technologies (ICTs) has made tremendous changes in the twenty-first century, as well as affected the demands of modern societies. Recognizing the impact of new technologies on the workplace and everyday life, today’s educational institutions try to restructure their educational programs and classroom facilities in order to minimize the teaching and learning technology gap between developed and the developing countries. This restructuring process is providing learners with knowledge of specific subject areas, to promote meaningful learning and to enhance professional productivity (Tomei, 2005).
Over the years, Nigeria has undertaken educational reforms aimed at raising the standard of education. In view of the infrastructural challenges facing Nigeria’s educational system, ICT use, especially computers and Internet, when fully introduced will increase access and improve the relevance of education. Currently the educational reform has introduced general educational program of direct class teaching through the Internet or television to thousands of homes in densely populated communities where fewer schools are available.

Elsewhere the computer technology has made it possible for teachers and students to interact through the Internet. ICT are resources that can be deployed to augment existing teaching and learning materials. Haddad et al (2002) identify at least five levels of ICT use in education: Presentation, demonstration, drill and practice, interaction, and collaboration. Websites today abound where instructors and students can visit in order to obtain needed information and interact. This is used in most distance education programs. United Nations Institutions for Training and Research (UNITAR), for instance, uses the Internet as a medium to offer training programs to thousands of public sector workers around the world. The computers have become motivating tools for teaching and learning in schools.

Computers have been used to create electronic libraries and catalogues to enhance academic research work. Referring to Heeks (1999), “many libraries now provide online resources to facilitate learning and research electronically”. Hakkarainen et al. (2000) reported that ICT is a transformative tool and its full integration into the school systems is necessary to prepare students for the information society they will inherit.

The Internet allows cost-effective information delivery services, collaborative and distance education, more than has ever been imagined (Clyde, 1995; Todd, 1997).The Internet has myriad websites to help teachers develop or improve lesson plans, exchange ideas, obtain information, and find free animations and simulations to enliven their lessons. Awotua-Efebo (1999),stated that most Internet-based collaborative learning projects include teacher support and training, and conference proceedings are published regularly on the Web. Chat rooms or forums may become a laboratory for new ideas. Online study resources can also provide interactive tools for teachers to access feedback from students. Computer based assignments are an effective way of ascertaining students’ understanding of concepts. Students also learn more quickly, demonstrate greater retention, and are better motivated to learn when they work with computers (Koert, 2000).

From the early 1990s, education stakeholders have been concerned about how teachers and students use computers in schools and how their use supports learning. Teachers use computers to write lesson plans, prepare materials for teaching, record and calculate student grades, and communicate with other teachers. As such, “computers have become aroutine tool for helping teachers accomplish their professional work” (Becker, Ravitz, & Wong, 1999). However, many teachers do not facilitate substantial student use of computers for learning activities (Becker, Ravitz, & Wong, 1999).

Computer-based lectures are easier to administer and are quicker to access. Research shows that the use of computers for lecture delivery, results in increases in learning in the traditional curriculum and basic skills areas, as well as higher test scores in some subjects compared to traditional instruction alone (Fouts, 2002). Internet-enhanced learning mobilizes tools for study, and analysis of information, providing a platform for student inquiry, analysis, and construction of new information. Learners therefore learn as they do and whenever appropriate, work on real-life problems in-depth, making learning less abstract and more relevant to the learner’s life situation. In this way, and in contrast to memorization-based or rote learning, Internet-enhanced learning promotes increased learner engagement (Wastson, 2002).

Educational policymakers in Nigeria have hailed the introduction of ICT in Nigerian schools as a remarkable step that will contribute to knowledge production, communication and information sharing among students and teachers in the school system. However, the commitment of government to the provision of infrastructure for ICT policy implementation has been minimal.

At the inception of the millennium, Ghana’s education authorities embarked on a number of projects to introduce ICT into the Ghanaian education set up; especially at the basic and secondary school levels. For instance, in the middle of the 1990s, educational providers realized that Ghanaian professionals could not compete on the global market for jobs because they were limited in skill, especially in the area of Information Technology. Subsequently, the authorities incorporated the study of ICTs as part of the study of science.

Teachers with pedagogical proficiency who are ready and willing to transmit knowledge and support students to construct knowledge will normally make a difference in any learning process.

It is interesting to note the way the internet has positively transformed how we communicate with each other on daily bases. Education, which is the purpose the traditional classroom, is not exempted from this transformation. The way we learn is not the same today as it was years ago, and the internet, being just a global collection of computers connected to each other so they can communicate and share information, has revolutionized education. Also coupled with the rising transportation and infrastructure costs, schools at all levels, the government and private enterprise are all recognizing the enormous benefits of managing classrooms online, that is on the internet. Online training and learning saves money all the way around. It reduces building and maintenance costs and increases the flexibility of learning.

Unlike traditional classrooms, online classroom promote effective and productive communication between students and their various course instructors. It is totally noiseless, convenient for both instructors and students, more organised, and can be accessed anytime anywhere with internet facilities. Online classroom does not have the problem of space, hundreds of thousands and even millions of students, can be taking a course at the same time. People also find it interesting and enjoy using the Internet to learn new things. Learning online is much more comfortable than sitting in a class, especially an overcrowded and noisy classroom without electrical appliances like fan, air-conditioners and proper lighting. It saves money on transportation and you don’t have to worry about what to wear to go anywhere to learn. Course materials can easily be made available online to all the students at the same time.

Training session can be created in online classes several weeks in advance; the instructor may not need to be present when students decide to access study materials. Also, the communication line is always open for students to interact with the instructor or one another based on the study materials. Students can study anywhere as long as there is access to an internet connection.


1.2 Statement of Problems

With the present transportation, infrastructure costs, and major news headlines: the security challenges in the country. Schools at all levels, the government and private enterprise are all recognizing the enormous benefits of managing classrooms online, that is on the internet. Online training and learning saves money all the way around. It reduces building and maintenance costs and increases the flexibility of learning.

Haddad and Drexler (2002) stated that an effective teaching/learning process must stimulate intellectual curiosity and offer a sense of enjoyment that will move the students from the passive role of recipients of information to the active role of builders of knowledge. Yet, engaging the learner in this process can be the most challenging task for teachers. ICTs are effective instructional helps to engage students in the learning process. As learning shifts from the “teacher-centered model” to a “learner-centered model”, the teacher becomes less the sole voice of authority and more the facilitator, mentor and coach—from “sage on stage” to “guide on the side”. The teacher’s primary task becomes to teach the students how to ask questions and pose problems, formulate hypotheses, locate information and then critically assess the information found in relation to the problems posed. Students also learn more quickly, demonstrate greater retention, and are better motivated to learn when they work with computers.


1.3 Objectives of the Study

The objectives of this study are to develop a system that should be able to:

  1. Make lecture videos and other materials available online.
  2. Enable lecturers to manage their courses online, and communicate with the students, without the need for course a representative.
  3. Engage students in perpetual learning process.
  4. Solve the problem lecture halls with limited space for students to sit, as they can receive their lectures anywhere over the internet.

1.4 Significance of Study

A good number of organisations and companies are working to “disrupt” education by changing the way things work in the traditional classroom and by bringing the classroom entirely online. It is necessary to take a good look online classroom, and see how to make it work best for our educational system. The internet has changed our approach to nearly everything – commerce, social networking, healthcare, and more. There is need to building the kind of education the world needs, so that education will not suffer any negative side of the big change accompanied by the internet.

In this age of internet and its integration in the educational system, the role of the teacher, just like in the traditional classrooms, should not be overlooked or underestimated. If teachers possess little knowledge of ICT then the integration of ICT into pedagogical practices is seriously Compromised (Boakye and Banini, 2008).

It is not just acquiring the knowledge of ICT that is important. Teachers need to understand how to use ICT pedagogically. ICT used appropriately can stimulate the development of higher cognitive skills, deepen learning and contribute to the acquisition of skills needed for learning all life- long and for working in today’s job market (Tchombe et al., 2008). However, teachers must have opportunities to develop requisite aptitudes, be able to observe or experience constructive learning, and be motivated. In most countries innovation is thought about, invited into educational practices, and pushed down the throats of teachers without warning or preparation (Maclure, 1997). To make innovations and reforms more meaningful, those who will be most directly affected –in schools, this would be teachers, students, parents and administrators– need to be part of the conception and planning process (Samoff et al., 2003; Weva, 2003).

The integration of ICT in Nigerian school systems is a major step in promoting innovation. However, the educational system currently is bedevilled with myriads of problems including lack of adequate computers and other ICTs tools especially in rural schools, poor Internet connections, inadequate manpower, and lack of coherent ICT policy framework.

The rapid changing of life requires a support for continuous learning and ongoing creation of new ideas and skills. Thanks to Internet, the education process changed significantly in last two decades. E‐learning becomes important source of knowledge for distance learning students, as well as full‐time students. Although learning resources are often considered as key intellectual property in a competitive higher education world, more and more institutions and individuals are sharing their digital learning resources over the Internet openly and for free, as Open Educational Resources (OER). The concept of using the educational resources has changed significantly in last decade. The development led from free content that one can individually teach himself, to social learning, where users have the possibility of mutual communication and exchange of opinions. Linking databases of resources, which will allow the user to use the information adapted to his previous knowledge, is expected in the near future.

The paper touches also the quality of educational materials and the problem which appears because a lot of the materials are pedagogically inadequately prepared. There are also several good practices of OER, ideas and existing initiatives presented.


1.5 Scope of Study

The scope of this project is to provide online classroom that can be running alongside the traditional classroom system, augmenting and making up for all the areas in which it is lacking, like in the area of space, effective communication of knowledge. It can go a long way to make provision to web application also known as web software that will enhance learning, like an online laboratory, where laboratory equipment can be simulated and used to conduct experiments online.


1.6 Definition of Terms

Online Classroom:

A web application that makes it possible for the same purpose of traditional classroom to be achieved online.

Traditional Classroom:

A real life classroom setting with chairs, desks, doors, windows and whiteboard.

Web Application:

A software program designed to run on internet, and accessible via the web browser.

System:

An organized unit which composed of two or more inter related parts that functions together to achieve a particular goal.

Internet:

A global collection of computers connected to each other for the purpose of communication, and share information.

Online:

On the internet.

Pedagogy:

The profession, science, or theory of teaching.


Chapter Five


Summary, Conclusion and Recommendation

5.1 Summary

This research was carried out in order to provide an online classroom management (distance learning) that can be able to be able run alongside with the traditional classroom system, to augment and make up for all the areas in which it is lacking, like in the area of space, effective communication of knowledge. It can go a long way to make provision to web application also known as web software that will enhance learning, like an online laboratory, where laboratory equipment can be simulated and used to conduct experiments online, make lecture videos and other materials available online. This online classroom will enable lecturers to manage their courses online, and communicate with the students, without the need for course a representative and this will aid the student to learn perpetually. Also in online classroom, ICTs have the potential to accelerate, enrich, and deepen skills, to motivate and engage students, to help relate school experience to work practices, create economic viability for tomorrow’s workers, as well as strengthening teaching and helping schools change. ICT also increases the flexibility of delivery of education so that learners can access knowledge anytime and from anywhere.


5.2 Review of Achievements

In the process of carrying out this research, the researcher have been able to review some of the achievements that online classroom has made on both the student and the lecturer and they are pointed out as follows;

  1. Online classroom enables lecture videos and other materials available online.
  2. Enable lecturers to manage their courses online, and communicate with the students, without the need for course a representative.
  3. Engage students in perpetual learning process.
  4. Online classroom have been able to solve the problem of lecture halls with limited space for students to sit, as they can receive their lectures anywhere over the internet.

5.3 Application Areas

Based on the research carried out, online classroom management can be applied in any institution such as secondary and tertiary institutions, and business sector, health organizations for delivering lectures and so on by making use of lecture videos and other material available online.


5.4 Recommendation

Based on the findings of this research, the following recommendations were made:

  1. Qualified and competent lecturers should be employed to lecture courses, training and re-training exercise should be done to increase lecturers skill in impacting knowledge.
  2. Lecturers should blend their teaching methodology and analysis to make the lecture look more interesting and stimulate student’s interest in learning new technologies or information from the computer.
  3. Institutions especially the online classroom centres should be adequately equipped with the necessary equipment and facilities in order to facilitate teaching and learning.
  4. The online lecture videos and material made available online should be clear and easy for the student to comprehend easily.
  5. The cost of the school fees should be made payable to all levels of students in the school.
  6. The government should also make sure that ICTs are well introduced to institutions both home and abroad in order to motivate them.

5.5 Conclusions

Based on the research carried out on the study, the following conclusions were made;

  1. Online classroom allows the discovery of new skills, technologies and strategies.
  2. It can also allow the student to learn new methodologies.
  3. Online classroom have direct impact on the students and the Nigerian citizens.
  4. Universities/institutions that have online classroom centres do not enough resources, policies and learning facilities to meet the need of the students.
  5. In online classroom programme, skill acquisition is very fast compare to learning in the traditional learning system.

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