Design And Implementation Of Student Information System
The creation and management of accurate, up-to-date information regarding a student’s academic career is critically important in a university. Previously, the University of Calabar (UniCal) relied heavily on paper records for this initiative. This research focuses on the design and implementation of a comprehensive student information system and user interface to replace the current paper records. UniCal Staff are able to directly access all aspects of a student’s academic progress through a secure, online interface. The system utilizes user authentication, displaying only information necessary for an individual’s duties. Additionally, each sub-system has authentication allowing authorized users to create or update information in that sub-system. All data is thoroughly reviewed and validated on the server before actual record alteration occurs. In addition to a staff user interface, this system features a student user interface, allowing users to access information and submit requests electronically, saving both completion and processing time.
The web-based system is design using PHP (Php Hypertext Processor) and all data are stored securely on MySQL servers managed by the UniCal department admin. Standard best practices are employed throughout the system to ensure the highest possible level of security and standardization. This system is expected to increase the efficiency of the university’s record management thereby decreasing the work hours needed to access and deliver student records to users throughout the day, and again later to file these records securely.
1.1 Background of the Study
Swift transitions in the way institutions of higher learning handle and manage students’ information are brought about by technological changes. The concept of Student Management System (SMS) is within a larger field of Information Systems (IS) and it dates back as far early as 1960s (Evangelista, 2011; Marrero, 2009 & Swartz, 2007). Broadly defined, an SMS is “a general information system for maintaining and providing student information and it almost exists in all the schools, colleges, universities and any other education institutions” (Pan, 2004, p.3). Nowadays, SMSs have been described variously as: Student Information Systems (SIS), Student Management Information Systems (SMIS), Student Data Systems (SDS), Student Data Warehouse (SDW), Student Academic Information Systems (SAIS), or Student Information Management Systems (SIMS), Online Student Information System (OSIS) and Student Academic Register Information System (SARIS), (Kaloki, n.d; Maere, 2011 & Paulsen, 2002). Kasozi (2006) noted that despite having various nomenclatures, these information systems serve a similar function and they are all connected to the management of students’ information or records in universities or other educational institutes. In the pre-digital age, managing student’s information was done manually, using paper-based systems. However, with increasing number of students in educational institutes, the system could no longer handle student’s records effectively. Suffice to say, the dawn of ICT applications and databases presented unparalleled opportunities in managing students’ records in academic institutions which gradually lead to the disappearance of paper-based systems.
The major concern with manual systems has been the speed with which business operations and decision-making processes are carried out in education institutions. Consequently, to cope up with the rise in student’s enrolment whilst at the same time ensuring efficiency in their operations, universities had to experience a paradigm shift from using manual student’s management systems to online student management systems. Pan (2004) explains that Students Management Systems (SMS) whether manual or online are there to maintain and provide student information in universities and colleges. While specifically, online student information systems depict a centralized virtual database where all 657 information pertaining students are properly stored in an educational institution (Pacio, 2013). Principally, it is used for management of the most pivotal information about entities such as students, faculty, courses, applications, admissions, payment, exams, and grades (Paulsen, 2002). Bharamagoudar, Geeta and Totad (2013) opines that an effective SMS provides a simple interface for maintenance of student information. It can be used by educational institutes or colleges to maintain the records of students easily. Thus, the creation and management of the most accurate, up-to-date information regarding a students’ academic career is of ultimate value to universities as well as colleges. The understanding is that managing student’s records manually comes with a lot of challenges. For instance, most of the times information is littered everywhere, can be redundant, inconsistent and collecting relevant information may be very time consuming (Pacio, 2013) as cited in Richard (2004). This development accelerated an automatic switch to online-based student management systems in most universities across the world with the purpose of maximizing the benefits from its effectivity to acquire, process, store and retrieve information from the Internet.
1.2 Statement of the Problem
The problem of data management and storage has been a hectic task in our universities. Prior to this study, universities like UniCal use the manual method of student information documentation. This method is old and gives rise to problems which might have damaging effects. Also, it is time consuming and inefficient as humans are prone to mistakes. Some problems of the study are:
- The problem of keeping untidy records.
- Using of manual and archaic system in processing data.
- Slow processing of a large volume of student data.
- Papers are prone to damage by water of fire out break and this leads to loss of information
- The problem of student access to information. Much time is spent scanning through physical file and folders
Without adequate computerized information management system on the subject matter, it would be difficult to handle the afore mention excesses. To eradicate this to its optimum, a robust database and web server should be implemented where the information can be stored and managed easily by the staff by just pressing few keys of the computer. Students can also access the system anywhere and when they are in need of it. Again, it will make the information remain authentic without adding or removing anything.
1.3 Objectives of the Study
The main objective of this study is to design and implement a Student Information Management System for the university. The system will be reliable, usable, efficient, maintainable and provide secured database for student information. The system will help the Registrar and school staff by reducing their workload especially on the delivery of enrolment procedures and the keeping of student records. Thus, eliminating the problems of the current manual system.
To achieve the above objective, the study is divided into some specific objectives
- Develop an efficient student data management system, which will curb the current untidy method of information management.
- Provide an interactive and easy-to-use online interface for students, faculty etc.
- Automate the major activities of the user thereby decreasing time spent in accessing information
- Design a secured database with access restrictions for data storage hence making the system safe
- Provide a search algorithm, which will give the student fast access to the particular information required.
1.4 Scope of the Study
This study revolves the development of a student information management system for university of Calabar. To achieve this, the study will focus on developing a web interface which will manage student’s registration details and academic results and a secured backend for storage of data.
1.5 Significance of the Study
This research work critically explores the possible ways of making clear of the mystery behind database and related technologies, web hosting services, protocols and of course design and encourages young programmers to join the race without feeling interims to their counterparts in the development parts of the world. Without shifting this focus to website design, we might still be in darkness for the next twenty years and by then a new invention might be made which can sentence us into another one thousand years of dark ages.
The study will go a long way to cutting down on time wastage, inefficient use of statistical data, manual errors and duplication of efforts by both staff and academic personnel. It will also enhance efficient query and inquiring, ensure security of records and assist the college in coping with the daily work based.
Designing a database driven website for an educational institution entails more of data collection than traditional programming. Nevertheless, the outcomes and benefits of a well-planned website cannot be emphasized. Although many factors contribute to an effective website, yet there are so many that one could not but think of them all. The internet with all its functionality has indeed changed the way people live and interact politically, socially, economically and otherwise the internet as with database combines audio, video and texture contents while eliminating time and space of traditional media.
This has enabled website an interactive media when integrated with a database making it a cost effective one on one educational tool. Thus, if UniCal and its contemporaries should utilize this honeycomb, literacy in Africa as a whole would wear a glorious crown.
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;
- Lack of materials: My main limitation was during the actual software development. There are many tutorials about web development, but data relating to information management systems was difficult to obtain.
- Financial constraint: Lack of money to watch paid tutorials is another factor that limited the me in researching out this project effectively.
- Reluctance by the respondents. Unical staff were a little diplomatic 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 Definition of Terms
Student Information System:
Is a management information system for education establishments to manage student data.
Is an organized collection of data, generally stored and accessed electronically from a computer system
Hyper Text Markup Language is the standard markup language for creating Web pages
Is a server scripting language, and a powerful tool for making dynamic and interactive Web pages
is an open source relational database management system (RDBMS)
Summary, Conclusion and Recommendation
This chapter summarizes the research in academic information and introduction database system using HTTP server as regards to information as a veritable instrument for school administration and academic schedule, in University of Calabar. Therefore, the study was able to achieve the stated aim. It was able to address the issue delay inefficiency and inaccuracy of student data processing and information storing accessing, retrieving and editing.
The study also fostered good perception of information age and developed efficient and effective academic information system for school administration and academic schedules. That is through presenting the rules and protocols of coding, scripting and hosting of data base driven Webpages.
The need for available secure and reliable information solution is heightened by the increasing dependence on web like systems and database technologies to provide educational services, develop efficient academic products, administer daily activities and perform both short- and long-term management functions.
Using University of Calabar as a case study, this project has elaborated on the technical and operational requirements of developing a student information system. Issues on web and database concept and technologies, analysis and design tools, security and content maintenance were adequately explained, database and dynamic web page scripting are the communication means to live information content. These technologies have come to stay, no doubt that every organization, institution and government parastatal wants to join the e-race.
Designing a functional academic website for University of Calabar is indeed a giant step in the right direction.
Even though my project was a giant leap in the right direction, there are some aspects which need attention for the proper running of the system. Viz:
- The University should provide an efficient internet network by incorporating its existing computers into an enterprise local network. Staff and students should be sensitized to leverage its resources such as chart and voice messaging, classroom conferencing, catalogues, library and other academic information ranging from registration, lectures to result requires.
- In addition to the above network infrastructural enhancement, it is suggested that the University should have its own VSAT (satellite communication). This will ensure dedicate internet connection with its counterparts in the world wide web (www).
- A major drawback to this proposal would be unreliable power supply system. Therefore, the institution is urged to complement this with industrial uninterrupted power supply system (UPS) that can ensure round the clock power supply for the network.
- Management should develop an intensive in-house training for academic and non-academic staff. This will help reduce the dependence on manual process and also increase staff competence on world class office automation.
- Once, the database is fully integrated and the system is on an online server, it will not only showcase the university to the world, but also boost its academic as a citadel of technological excellence. It will also create avenue for online research and development which in turn will create more revenue for the state.
5.4 Suggestion for Further Studies
Owing to some constraints beyond the research’s control, I therefore suggest that future research should be made online and website development of education and development information system to serve as improvement to the existing study.
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