Online Result Checker is a system that checks students’ academic result or assignments score. The aim of computer programming is to put these data files and documents in an interactive manner in a computer system. This will enhance valuable handling and processing of data, leading to improved management decision making. ORC (Online Result Checker) result checking system not only enables students to request for their grades, the system can also deliver the grades to their phones as soon as the grades become available. The system enforces security with the use of secret information (password), and also provides access to new and old grades.
As a prelude to other parts of this study, this chapter will discuss the background upon which this study was initiated, the statement of problems that led to this study, the Aim and Objectives of the study. Others are Significance of the study, Scope of work, Limitation of the study and Definition of technical terms.
1.2 Background of Study
Computers with the power of the internet have thrived in aiding communication among people. The telephone system, which is the main communication system that was invented several years ago, had undergone a great improvement, so much that today we have fixed wireless phones, mobile phones and the likes. With the rapid development of mobile phones come several services like the Short Messaging Service (SMS), Multimedia Messaging Service (MMS) and others, which are readily available and add to the usefulness of mobile phones. SMS in particular is widely used in communication, and more recently has been leveraged to provide several services like airline ticketing, banking services, commercial services like share and sell (an added service provided by MTN Nigeria), where subscribers can easily share and/or sell airtime, and several others. SMS is a mobile technology that allows for sending and receiving text or even binary messages to and from a mobile phone. The relative ease of use of SMS makes it possible for a user to learn how to send SMS easily.
Schofield and Kubin (2002) argued that small devices could potentially provide better interface for finding information than through page browsing and other means. More than 160 billion SMS are exchanged each month in European countries (Mavrakis, 2004), and according to Resource Shelf (2006), 48.7 billion SMS messages were sent in the second half of 2005, which is up 50% on the six months before that. Nowadays, with 45 million short messages sent in Africa alone every day, a mobile phone that has the easiest interface for voice communication is likely to fail the user satisfaction test if it does not provide a reasonably good SMS interface (Gorienko & Merrick, 2003).
The major advantage of SMS is its cost effectiveness, and availability, as most individuals own phone. In different parts of the world, several service providers offer mobile services which include SMS. Most times the cost attached to sending a SMS is relatively small, and most providers do not charge when receiving SMS. Sometimes, service providers give users certain amount of free SMS per month, which allows customers send and receive unlimited number of SMS messages. It is possible to acquire a special dedicated line that uses a custom rate for messages sent to the number; it is also possible to have a number as toll free, making it free for users to send SMS to the number. All these contribute to what makes SMS a really cost effective means of disseminating information.
1.3 Statement of Problem
The major problems regarding the delivery of examination information services in Nigerian universities include:
- Delays in the release of results;
- Errors inherent in handling and assessment of answer scripts;
- Delays in marking answer scripts; and
- Cumbersome response systems − where they exist − for handling result-related complaints.
1.4 Aim and Objectives of the study
The aim of the study is to design and implement an Online Result Checker Application Software for checking academic results. In achieving this aim, the following specific objectives were laid out as follows:
- To develop a conceptual design for a secure, accessible and user-friendly online examination results system for a university
- To develop a system to demonstrate an online result checker system’s functionality, using the XAMPP (cross-browser Apache/MySQL/PHP) web server framework.
- To perform tests on the said system to assure functionality, accessibility and usability of the system.
- To develop an application that will be able to provide security using password.
1.5 Significance of Study
Justification for engaging in this study can be drawn from the following reasons: a. The need to demonstrate the effectiveness of employing mobile driven information systems as a viable complement to systems based on the regular Web, within the university information framework; and b. The need to achieve a greater degree of responsiveness among stakeholders in the results system − students, lecturers and system administrators − enabling them collaborate effectively to resolve result-related complaints.
The significance of this study includes the following:
- Convenience: Users get their results at their own convenience.
- Accessibility: Users can access their results from any location (as long asthey are within a network service reception area).
- Portability: Results can be received and checked from any GSM phone. All GSM phones support SMS.
- Saves time: SMS is on the fly. It reduces the throughput of result checking as websites are sometimes unavailable due to congestion, or server down time. SMS provides a faster means of sending and receiving such information.
- Cheaper: SMS is generally economical, and it sometimes provided as a free service (at least for certain periods) by the service provider. Most providers also do not charge when users receive SMS: Less human resources required: Results are processed automatically
- Mobility: It is obvious that most mobile phone users have their phones with them everywhere they go, most people often leave their computer as home, or work sometimes, but they will always have their phone on them.
1.6 Scope of the Study
The study focuses on the design and implementation of an Online Result Checker Application Software. For the purpose of this research work, the researcher shall be limited to developing a Online Result Checker that will be an Independent Service; this involves using solely a mobile phone and the application server (the system running the SMS application).
1.7 Limitations of the Study
During the course of this study, many things militated against its completion, some of which are:
- Time Constraint: The time frame given to accomplish this project was very short due to school academic calendar and it was carried out under pressure which made the researcher not to implement some necessary features.
- Establishment Policies: Establishment policies posed a serious limitation as most staffs are not ready to release information needed for this project work. There were lots of information needed from the staffs of this institution to enhance the study which took them time to release or they did not release at all for security purposes, hence the scope was reduced.
- Research material: availability of research material is a major setback to the scope of the study.
- Frequent power failure: This made the researcher append more money on fuel to ensure sustainable power.
- Financial Constraint: Insufficient fund tends to impede the efficiency of the researcher in sourcing for the relevant materials.
1.8 Definition Of Terms
Beta testing: Testing carried out on software independent of its manufacturer by external users
Internet application: A Web site with dynamic, i.e. data-source oriented user-specific, content, which usually requires some form of user authentication.
Software: These are set of logically related instructions given to the computer to perform some specific tasks.