CHAPTER ONE INTRODUCTION 1.1 BACKGROUND OF STUDY The term ‘Portal’ projected the vision that the web site is an entry point to selected and relevant information in contrast to the general web where all information is equally accessible. The term portal was quickly accepted and today it is used liberally by vendors and organizations alike to promote their web site beyond the original Intra – and Extra – nets. Traditionally regarded as World Wide Web gateways, portals have become more than convenient launch pad for searches (internet searches). Today portals are increasingly sophisticated applications designed to give users simple, quick, secure access to relevant organizational and personal data. A web portal is a website that functions as a point of access to information on the web. A portal or web portal present information from diverse sources in a unified way. Web Portal provides way for an organization to provide a consistent look and feel with access control and procedures for multiple applications and databases which otherwise would have been different entities altogether. Many universities have recently joined the portal band wagon, developing enterprise wide portals and sharing their experience. Enterprise portal offers important benefits to higher educational institutions. In particular, they let universities to co-ordinate user access to multiple services and information sources, and let users access and work with the information in it (the university web portal). On technological side, this single application (the web portal) must bring together and make available vast amount of organization data. Surprisingly little research focus on user satisfaction however. Many developers do not put user’s appreciation as one of their topmost priorities when developing their portal sites. To create portal system that meets both organizational and user’s requirement, universities must identify portal (web portal) characteristics that contribute to user’s satisfaction and potentially to their ultimate adoption of the system. It is worth nothing that the major function of a university portal is to use a single consistent web-based front end to present information from a variety of back-end data sources. That is information about people is stored in one or more database belonging to the university. This information could include student information, employee information, course information, alumni information, library information, school calendar and so on.Also, it is good to know the difference between a normal university web site and a university portal. A university web site contains information, but it is up to the visitor to find it either with a search engine or by navigating through the various links. This way people miss information, plus it is difficult to find what you really want. While in a university portal, the user identifies himself to the portal, the portal then uses the details provided to present relevant information that the person would require in one piece. Academic counselling and tutoring programs have traditionally played an important role in lowering student desertion and improving academic performance. Ineffective programs, however, can lead to students making uninformed or incorrect academic choices, thus contributing to lower academic performance or even desertion (Soulsby, 1999; Simpson, 2005; Kuittinen, et al, 2001). Students often require greater attention because of factors related to the academic environment (particularly increased academic demands) or maturation (i.e. socialization, personal responsibility, identity and acceptance issues, etc.). Personal and economic problems are also common among many students. Effective contact time is extremely important to create the professional and affective bonds necessary for students to better cope during their first year of studies. Unfortunately, excessive student-teacher ratios and schedule conflicts sometimes limit the amount and quality of interaction. A survey conducted at several local Puerto Rican universities, Navarro et al (2000) discovered that these two factors accounted for 75% of students who chose not to employ academic counselling services. Because of their many different roles (instructor, administrator, researcher, author, etc.) college professors sometimes do not have the time required to access information in more traditional forms. Efficient access to student personal information and academic records, as well as making administrative procedures more efficient and producing required reports is of vital importance to the counsellor. Additionally, the extra time required to access information manually increases the frequency of errors and decreases the effective time spent with students, and the difficulties in booking appointment with conselors due to time and number of students to be counselled might lead to some students not fully counselled. Students are also scared to approach staffs facially, and they might decide not to consult anybody and make mistakes that could ruin their academics or life. Consequently, information management is important as it can minimize errors related incomplete or faulty information (Coles, 1999). 1.2 STATEMENT OF PROBLEM
· Difficulties in offline students counseling due to time in booking appointment with an entire class.
· Difficulties of students approaching lecturers, course advisers, HODs, etc facially, due to intimidation, fear and shyness.
1.3 AIM AND OBJECTIVE The aim of mobile ISWCP is to solve the problem of manual counseling by using a single consistent web-based front end to present information from a variety of back-end data sources. The role of a mobile ISWCP is to put a consistent “face” to this information so that visitors don’t have to deal with dozens of different web interfaces to get information. 1.4 SCOPE OF STUDY This project would entail student’s communication with staff, counselors, etc. Students will also be able to complain of anything hindering his or her academic pursuit, drop feedbacks as regards the happenings in the department. More so, the majority of the mobile ISWCP (Interactive Student Web Counseling Portal) would consider only computer science department subset as a test platform, covering full time program. This is because it is assumed the basic operations or activities that a full time student will carry out is same as what every other student in other programs (diploma, part time, post graduate, and so on) will carry out on the portal.
1.5 METHODOLOGY In order to evaluate this project, the methodology based on Software Development Life Cycle (SDLC), generally three major steps are followed, which are: