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Design and Implementation of a Web Based Discussion Forum for Computer Science and Engineering Students

Design and Implementation of a Web Based Discussion Forum for Computer Science and Engineering Students

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Reference ID: PS-5115-TM

DEDICATION

This research material titled “Design and Implementation of a Web Based Discussion Forum for Computer Science and Engineering Students” is dedicated to God for his enabling grace, and to all computer enthusiasts who contributed to make life a pleasant experience during my research documentation.

ACKNOWLEDGEMENT

I extend my sincere gratitude to all those who contributed to the completion of this project. Special thanks to my Supervisor (Name of your Supervisor), the Head of Department (Name of your HOD), the Lecturers in the department of Computer Science (CS), Book Authors and Profound Scholars of existing or related project material on “Design and Implementation of a Web Based Discussion Forum for Computer Science and Engineering Students” for their invaluable guidance, support, and expertise throughout the journey.

I am also grateful to your study area (mention any funding organizations, if applicable) for their financial assistance. This research would not have been possible without the encouragement and assistance of some stakeholders (mention any mentors, teachers, or colleagues). Additionally, I would like to acknowledge the understanding and patience of my family and friends during this endeavor. Your unwavering support has been a constant source of motivation. Thank you all for being part of this meaningful endeavor.


Design and Implementation of a Web Based Discussion Forum for Computer Science and Engineering Students

TABLE OF CONTENTS

PRELIMINARY PAGES


CHAPTER ONE

INTRODUCTION

  • 1.1 Introduction
  • 1.2 Background of Study
  • 1.3 Statement of Problem
  • 1.4 Aim and Objectives of the Study
  • 1.5 Significance of Study
  • 1.6 Scope of Study
  • 1.7 Limitations of the Study
  • 1.8 Definition of Terms

CHAPTER TWO

LITERATURE REVIEW

  • 2.1 Introduction
  • 2.2 Conceptual Review of Web Based Forum
  • 2.3 Characteristics and Integration of Web Based Discussion Forum
  • 2.4 Benefits of Online Forums
  • 2.5 Challenges of Implementing Web Based Discussion Forums
  • 2.6 Admin Roles in a Web Based Site
  • 2.7 Theoretical Framework
  • 2.8 Web Portal for Online Discussion Forum
  • 2.8.1 Types of Web Portals for Online Discussion Forum
  • 2.9 Database for Online Discussion Forum Web Portals
  • 2.9.1 Merits of Integrating Databases in Web Applications

CHAPTER THREE

SYSTEM ANALYSIS AND DESIGN

  • 3.1 Methodology Adopted
  • 3.1.1 Problem Identification Using SSADM
  • 3.2 Analysis of the Existing System
  • 3.2.1 Dataflow of the Existing System
  • 3.2.2 Disadvantages of the Existing System
  • 3.2.3 Weakness of the existing System
  • 3.3 Feasibility Study
  • 3.3.1 Economic Feasibility
  • 3.3.2 Technical Feasibility
  • 3.3.3 Operational Feasibility
  • 3.4 Analysis of the Proposed System
  • 3.4.1 Data Flow Diagram of the Proposed System
  • 3.4.2 Advantages of the Proposed System
  • 3.4.3 Justification of the Proposed System
  • 3.5 Functional Requirements
  • 3.5.1 Use Case Diagram Of The Admin / User Privileges
  • 3.6 Data Requirements
  • 3.7 High Level Model of the Proposed System

CHAPTER FOUR

SYSTEM DESIGN AND IMPLEMENTATION

  • 4.1 Objectives of the Design
  • 4.2 Cohesion and Decomposition High level Model
  • 4.3 Control Center / Overall Dataflow Diagram
  • 4.3.1 Proposed System Operation Flowchart
  • 4.4 System Specification and Design
  • 4.4.1 Input and Output Specification
  • 4.4.2 Database Specification and Design
  • 4.4.3 Data Dictionary
  • 4.5 Choice and Justification of Programming Language
  • 4.6 Program Documentation
  • 4.7 Implementation Techniques
  • 4.8 Programming Module Specification
  • 4.8.1 Installation
  • 4.8.2 Security Design Specification
  • 4.8.3 System Architecture
  • 4.9 Computer Hardware Minimum Requirement
  • 4.10 Software Requirement
  • 4.11 Personnel / User Training
  • 4.12 File Maintenance Module
  • 4.12.1 Corrective Maintenance
  • 4.12.2 Preventive Maintenance
  • 4.12.3 Adaptive Maintenance

CHAPTER FIVE

SUMMARY, CONCLUSION AND RECOMMENDATION

  • 5.1 Introduction
  • 5.2 Summary
  • 5.3 Conclusion
  • 5.4 Recommendation

REFERENCES

APPENDIX A - “SOURCE CODE”

APPENDIX B - “OBJECT PROGRAM”

ABSTRACT

Web Based forums also known as discussion boards enable users of a website to interact with each other by exchanging tips and discussing topics related to a certain theme. The aim of the study is to design and implement A Web Based Discussion Forum for Computer Science and Engineering Students. In achieving this aim, the following specific objectives were laid out as follows to develop an application software that will protect information from unauthorized users by implementing role based security and implement a secured web forum for students and lecturers of the Department Of Computer Science, University of Port Harcourt.

The motivation that led to the implementation of the proposed system is that due to busy schedules of lecturers, they find it difficult passing information to students, students in turn also find it difficult to interact with them, especially to ask question and get ideas. Also, setting up a forum is actually quite an interesting problem.

The methodology adopted in this study is the structured system analysis and design methodology (SSADM) which is a technical approach for analyzing and designing an application or system by applying object throughout the software development process. The programming language used is HTML, CSS, JAVASCRIPT, PHP, SQL and JQUERY. The reason why web programming languages was used is because, it is platform independent and it is a web based application.

This research work will help in enhancing our knowledge about implementing an online forum; it will improve the interaction between lecturers and students. It will also provide social communism so that people can interact with each other even both of them so far away from each other. The expected result is A Web Based Discussion Forum for Computer Science and Engineering Students that will create social community website for lecturers and students interaction in the Department of Computer Science and computer engineering.


Design and Implementation of a Web Based Discussion Forum for Computer Science and Engineering Students

CHAPTER ONE

1.1 Introduction

Online forums also known as discussion boards or message boards enable users of a website to interact with each other by exchanging tips and discussing topics related to a certain theme. Learning through online forums is an important learning strategy for students to improve their language skills along with others. The use of computer based online discussion through online forums is evident in the curriculum of many courses throughout the world in universities in Australia, New Zealand, South Korea, the United Kingdom, the United States (Scott & Ryan 2009) and in Georgia as well. With the rapid development of computer-mediated communication, online forums have become more involved in classroom settings to promote student critical thinking, knowledge construction and language learning autonomy. There is a need for teachers to encourage students to use new technologies such as online forums to gain more exposure in the language along with many other various disciplines.

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, Limitations of the Study and Definition of technical terms.


1.2 Background of Study

Since information and privacy is very vital as it involves some secrets, strategies or ideas, there have been need to protect information from being violated or exposed. This introduces us to the need for a secured online forum, Luke et al. (2003) defines Security as the degree of protection against danger, damage, loss, and criminal activity. Security as a form of protection structures and processes that provide or improve security as a condition, here security mechanisms, policies and privileges can be enforced. With this, private posts can be enhanced and regulations can be applied. In other words will we design a secure student online forum.

This present era has been termed to be an information age, an age where the demand for information has dramatically increase, the internet has been the most useful place for getting information nowadays, the use of search engines is one of the most useful, the internet is not just used for getting information but for also socializing and exchanging ideas and information, this has led to the development of several software and applications, ranging from the development of online communities and interactive applications. Some of these communities and interactive applications are included with live chat, instant messaging, forum and online calls. Information are surfed at every possible place, people are interested in sharing and obtaining feedback on their research or who are interested in studying online communities of practice. In a case of a learning community, there are ways in which the community can leverage learning; one of such way is online forum which is our area of focus.

The advancement in technologies and the fast pace globalization has led to university students either partially or fully in an online environment (LaPointe & Reisetter, 2008). Online learning presents not only challenges in course design but also opportunities to enhance student learning. The value of online learning communities is supported by powerful learning theories; an active learning community and a sense of connectedness to others are critical to real learning (LaPointe & Reisetter, 2008).

The recent growth in computer networks and more specifically, the World Wide Web (WWW) has given rise to communication, socialization and interaction between individuals via the internet. The internet is been used for several purposes these days ranging from education, business and so on, one major area that focuses on individual interaction and communication is online forum.

An online forum, or message board, is an online discussion site where people can hold conversations in the form of posted messages. They differ from chat rooms in that messages are at least temporarily archived. Also, depending on the access level of a user and/or the forum set-up, a posted message might need to be approved by a moderator before it becomes visible.

Sylvia c. (2007) explains, an online forum is a type of interactive website for holding discussions and posting user generated content, usually each conversation has its own screen, with the original posting at the top, and responses listed in chronological order below. A sense of virtual community often develops around forums that have regular users, it is an instance of interactive web. Forums differ from chat rooms and instant messaging because forum participants do not have to be online at the same time, they suit short posts, which request a response from others. This online forum can enhance campus-based activities; opportunities to support existing campus-based activities will be explored. For example faculty learning communities and workshop that are supported through the learning could be supported and promoted through the forum, exchange of expertise and services with other forums.

Luke et al. (2003) explains, one good way to get users to return to your site is to offer Web forum, these can be used for purposes as varied as philosophical discussion groups and product technical support. Web forums are sometimes also called discussion board or threaded discussion groups, the idea of a forum is that people can post articles or question to them and others can read and reply to their questions. Each topic in a forum is usually called thread.

Over the years number of reported security breaches has increased, intrusions and attack have become more and more sophisticated and are very common nowadays, since information and privacy is very vital as it involves some secrets, strategies or ideas, there has been need to protect information from being violated or exposed. This introduces us to the need for a secured online forum, where security mechanisms, policies and privileges can be enforced. With this, private posts can be enhanced and regulations can be applied. However in online forum information and ideas can be shared, individuals who share in an interest in education research and practice can dialogue across disciplines, geographical borders, levels of expertise, and educational sectors. In other words new threads of discussion by posting articles can be started, viewing articles that have been posted, viewing the threads of conversation in the forum.


1.3 Statement of Problem

Investigation revealed that in recent time the quest for this knowledge has risen drastically, surfing or browsing the web without direction for information is becoming stressful especially using search engines. Also getting information in a campus-based community, especially when carrying out research, it can be stressful and expensive.

Due to busy schedules of lecturers, they find it difficult passing information to students, students in turn also find it difficult to interact with them, especially to ask question and get ideas.

Setting up a forum is actually quite an interesting problem. We will need some way of storing the articles in a database with author, title, date, and content information. However, the way most threaded discussion software works is that, along with showing you the available articles, it will show you the relationship between articles. That is, you are able to see which articles are replies to other articles (and which article they are following up) and which articles are new topics of discussion.


1.4 Aim and Objectives of the Study

The aim of the study is to design and implement a Web Based Discussion Forum for Computer Science and Engineering Students. In achieving this aim, the following specific objectives were laid out as follows to develop an application software that will:

  1. Create social community website for lecturers and students interaction in the Department of Computer Science and computer engineering;
  2. Protect information from unauthorized users by implementing role based security; and
  3. Implement a secured web forum for students and lecturers of the Department Of Computer Science, University of Port Harcourt.

1.5 Significance of Study

This research work will help in enhancing our knowledge about implementing an online forum; it will improve the interaction between lecturers and students.

This forum is developed in order to facilitate it users to establish network between one to many persons and maintain all people’s profile.

It will also help to save time and energy when they want to share some kind of information, views, ideas etc to their group friends without spending so much time for communicating to each other. It provides social communism so that people can interact with each other even both of them so far away from each other.

This study will be of immense benefit to other researchers who intend to know more on this study and can also be used by non-researchers to build more on their research work. This study contributes to knowledge and could serve as a guide for other study.


1.6 Scope of Study

The scope of the research is focused on the Design and Implementation of a Web Based Discussion Forum for Computer Science and Engineering Students.

This proposed system will be built with PHP and SQL technology; it is going to elaborate on how security checks can be enforced to an online forum. A general view of online forum, security and related research will be given especially in area like online community and interactive web. Also basic security techniques used in interactive webs and forum.


1.7 Limitations of the Study

During the course of this study, many things militated against its completion, some of which are:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. Research material: availability of research material is a major setback to the scope of the study.
  4. Frequent power failure: This made the researcher append more money on fuel to ensure sustainable power.
  5. Financial Constraint: Insufficient fund tends to impede the efficiency of the researcher in sourcing for the relevant materials, literature or information and in the process of data collection (internet).

1.8 Definition of Terms

Online Forum: it is an online discussion site where people can hold conversations in the form of posted messages

Online Community: it is a virtual community that exists online whose members enables its existence through taking part in membership ritual. Many means are used in social software separately or in combination, including text-based chat rooms and forums that use voice, video text or avatars

Security: It is the degree of protection against danger, damage, loss, and criminal activity. Security as a form of protection is structures and processes that provide or improve security as a condition.

CHAPTER TWO

2.0 Literature Review

2.1 Introduction

This chapter focuses on the review of related literature. A literature review includes the current knowledge as well as theoretical and methodological contributions to a particular topic. It documents the state of the art with respect to the topic you are writing. It surveys the literature in the topic selected. In this research work the literature review includes the …

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