This project entails developing a web based application for Dau Alumni Portal for two of the faculties that is Faculty of InformationTechnologyand the Careers Department which both are facing a problem on how to keep in touch with their graduate student. As for solving this problem, portal for alumni need to build as the objective is to create a system of a ” middle person” entity, allowing alumni members and non-members to communicate in virtually.
This portal is Internet web-based systems that consist of interactive web page which is accessible exchanging information between user anywhere around the globe and web set without any time constraint. In addition, management is getting updated alumni record and resources by administrators could also be done via internet. This portal integrates several software packages and programming languages suitable for the development process. It is hope this portal would greatly benefit to all people who involve with it. Table of Contents 1.
Today, computers have increasingly become part of our lives at work, at home, and even when travelling. The growth of Internet has brought about revolution to human daily lives. Internet is not only a big part in research andeducationthese days, but also plays an important role in thecommunicationtechnology. With the Internet, purpose is to provide easier communication and transfer of information among people around the world. Nowadays, government, private, university, and institution mostly have a web page as a primary source of information for people of all ages to access on it. .
BACK GROUND INFORMATION
Dau University (ANU) is a member of the worldwidefamilyof Nazarene institutions affiliated with the Church of the Nazarene founded on the same principles – the development of students in a strong spiritualenvironment. ANU offers a well-rounded, holistic education to help members establish themselves in three important areas as its motto: Character – Explore your faith for living. Competence – Achieve yourgoalsfor yourcareer. Community – Find your place in the world. It is the first Nazarene University established outside of the United States.
It has been an affiliate of the Council for Christian Colleges & Universities since February 2002. It was established in the year 1994l located on the Maasai plains across Nairobi National Park, from the city of Nairobi.
Each year, hundreds of students graduate from this university. The common problem faced by faculty is how to keep in touch with their graduate students because there is no system that has been develop to act as a ” middle person” for communication among the faculty and the alumni member.
Thus, developing an alumni portal for this faculty will solve the problem. The reason is that a web portal is a central point which anyone can view information and services towards the community. Virtual communities allow people with common interest to meet, communicate and share ideas and information through an online network such as the World Wide Web. Through these activities, participants develop bonds with the members of the community. The main idea of this project is to provide a visual communication platform among the alumni and non-alumni (ANU community).
The current situation faced in careers office in tracking ANU alumni show that the work flow is not under taken efficiently, there is too much time and resources wastage, for example most of the time, head of careers department has to physically go out and try to find ANU alumni out there in order to contact them of which it’s a waste of time considering having an alumni portal where the alumni themselves signup to the portal providing their contacts and work position wherever they are regardless of the distance or their geographical location.
In terms of, wastage of resources, current system is losing a lot both financially and opportunity wise, since some of well placed alumni cannot be tracked or contacted to help in donation or support in improvement of infrastructure within the university or in any other difficult situation that the university might be facing and need external support.
This project was focusing on web-based application, which as a new forms of interactive media between the ANU alumni members and non-alumni members (ANU community).
It comprises a collection of information pages, containing both textual and graphic elements and connected with hyperlinks. By develop interactive sites which contain web pages that allow in exchanging information between the Web site and user. Additionally, storing updated record of alumni member also been provided. The scope of user involve for this project is the alumni and non-alumni that consist between the ANU administration and student of ANU itself In addition, this portal also open to general public who interested to browse around on certain information provided.
It is more of asocial networkingwebsite but one that concentrates or includes only the ANU alumni and ANU community. The system admin will be able to start a forum topic of which the registered members will be able to post their comments in the forum. Also the admin will be able to delete unwanted profiles and any kid of unwanted posted material by the members. Admin is also in control of creating student and lectures profile. The system also has the capability of members sending personal messages to one another e. g. alumni to alumni, alumni to admin, students to alumni and vice versa.
The alumni are needed to sign up or register by inputting: Username, Password, Name, Graduationyear, Program undertaken, Admission No, Phone No, Email address, Address, Current work and current Job status. Through this, they are able to interact with their former classmates and keep in touch after graduating from the prestigious university. This system will also motivate current students to perform exceptionally so as to be included in the bracket of successful alumni. The careers office and administration will then have easy access to Alumni contacts and their whereabouts. .
The main objective of developing this project is to create a system of a ” middle person” entity, allowing alumni members and non-members to communicate virtually. Developing the portal gives a lot of benefits to alumni members, official faculty, students, lecturers and also general public. The benefit to: i. Alumni member Facilitate communication between alumni member and non-member. A communication platform for alumni could support both the information flow among faculty and alumni and among non-alumni.
Existing platforms for supporting alumni interaction mainly provide address lists and news for alumni. ii. Administration Faculty Provide an easy way for tracking the alumni. Therefore, the faculty can get feedback from their graduate students. Furthermore, it improves contact with the alumni so that having maintained database of alumni record. iii. Students Enable alumni share positive career and life experiences with other student. Besides that, the alumni can mentor and advise the students. For example, alumni in certain career field can offer guidance to students who are pursuing the same field of work. v. Lecturers The lecturer is able to exchange information with the alumni member. Therefore, the lecturer may know whether they need to exchange, modify or maintain the contents of the courses. So that they can always deliver the right information for their student to fulfil the environment need from time to time. V. General Publics Allow in browsing around to get information or to find old or new friends among the alumni member where the purpose of it is to allow them to get the addresses of the alumni members.
SCOPE OF THE SYSTEM
The proposed system will help automate the university operations of getting in touch with the alumni and alumni getting in touch with fellow alumni. The system then: i) Provide professional networking through the interaction of all faculty graduates. ii) Facilitate sharing of information with the alumni. iii) Able to inform faculty happenings and events by inviting alumni to remain active in the Alumni Association and involve in faculty activities. iv) Provide updated records of addresses, employment, and other personal information about alumni. ) Provide stable communication between alumni and non-alumni (ANU community). vi) Help in the building of the Dau fraternity in the expansion of this community. vii) Set alumni as examples/role model/mentors to ongoing students.
The proposed system requires increased knowledge in IT such as network management, database management, html, user support and security, it also require more experiences in this kind of system development. Requires finances for research e. g. internet connection fee etc.
Those to benefit most from the new system include: The careers office; the department will be able to get into contact with the alumni since most of their contacts will be in their profile in alumni portal. The university administration as a whole, administration will get to know how its own products are doing/performing in the outside world. Alumni themselves will benefit by keeping their bond strong and theirfriendshipwon’t be lost and also maintain close relationship with the university. Current students will be able to identify role models from the alumni portal and work to their goals and objectives in life.
THEORETICAL FRAME WORK
The following theories would help deal/come up with the ANU Alumni Portal i. e. considering the evolution of the World Wide Web from Web 1. 0 to Web 2. 0 is creating subtle but profound changes in the ways people locate and access information, communicate with, and learn from each other. The changes in technologies are driving changes in human behaviour, interactions, and knowledge acquisition. The paradigms for learning have already evolved beyond traditional classroom models to synchronous and asynchronous, interactive, and collaborative learning, which is further extended by Web 2. tools and social networking approaches. However, recent developments in Web 2. 0 technologies are far outpacing the development of theoretical frameworks for their utilization in education and training. According to Kamel Boulos and Wheeler (2007), “ the second incarnation of the Web (Web 2. 0) has been called the ‘ Social Web’ because, in contrast to Web 1. 0, its content can be more easily generated and published by users, and the collective intelligence of users encourages more democratic use” (p. 2).
This Alumni Portal takes a form of social networking of which it’s the practice of expanding knowledge by making connections with individuals of similar interests. In Web 2. 0 environments social networking is linked to technological services and software that make it possible for people to communicate with others from anywhere, at any time. Social networking refers to sites such as Facebook, MySpace, and Linkedin, where users set up a profile, create formal connections to people they know, communicate, and share preferences and interest.
To make an ideal knowledge structure (social structure that can assumeresponsibilityfor developing and sharing knowledge) three elements are put together that is Domain, Community and Practice of which this system integrates to construct the Alumni Portal. The purpose of this system is to develop a theoretical framework to understand learning among groups of individuals that utilize social networking applications among the alumni and the university to working towards a common goal i. e. how groups of individuals can occasionally and under particular circumstances cast their thinking into a coherent whole.
CHAPTER II LITERATURE REVIEW – INTRODUCTION
This chapter discusses detailed descriptions of the alumni portal and similar approaches of virtual communication, comprehensive, and critical discussion of each and other material related to the topic.
Global literature review
The University of Malaysia known as USM has an alumni portal where the URL is http://www. usm. my/alumni/organisasi_main. asp. In developing the portal it uses Active Server Page (ASP) as server side scripting language together with mark-up language which is HTML. Java Script language uses in order display certain images and other things.
The way of designing the portal is not so interactive, because it does not provide exchange information service between the web site and the user. The portal is more to static type of web site. Alumni web site for Kolej Agama Sultan Zainal Abidin is known as Laman Web Ex KUSZA (http://www. geocities. com/ex_kuzsa) from the website address, the web has been developing by using templates in Yahoo Geocities services. It offers very limited services and more to static web site. This web site does not have database because it does not involve storing data.
Regional literature review
After regional research on alumni portal, I came across the University Of Johannesburg Alumni Portal of which the developing of the portal uses Active Sever (ASP) as server side scripting language together with HTML. The portal design in home page consist of mixed use of fonts of which down grade the rating of the portal but for its functioning and its categories content is well fitted but it does not involve storing of data being one of its major lack.
Local literature review
After local research in several universities, no university within the country has an alumni portal.
For example the University of Nairobi contains only description of what its alumni are but no interface or a way of interaction between its alumni and the university or interaction between its fellow alumni. (http://www. uonbi. ac. ke/node/132). It does not include data base what so ever
This chapter identified several literature reviews that related to alumni portal. Much of the literatures on portal are reporting descriptive personal experiences, not theoretical analyses. With developing portal that act as a one stop destination where all part of users use starting point to other resources on internet or intranet.
Typically, this portal will provide many services such as search engine or directory, news, maps, email, forums and private messaging for university and the graduates’ students who will use portal to gather together all the information to share with other, furthermore, is keep in touch with each other. ?
CHAPTERIII RESEARCH METHODOLOGY – INTRODUCTION
This chapter is explanation on method and process used for research and system requirements needed for the development of the alumni portal for ANU, all of the information used for collecting research methodology.
Locality of the Project
The project is being carried out at ANU, in CIS department section of system development desk. The proposed system will be web-based hence located/posted on the internet in ANU website with its. it will the students to understand material given, review sessions, and participate in conversations with lecturers.
The population being focused on this system includes ANU students, its alumni and the lecturer basically the ANU community of approximately 5, 000 people inclusive of all the campuses. Students who can be divided into: day scholars and boarders, lecturers who are divided into: part time and full time lecturers. .
Sampling method Sampling is, “ the process of collecting examples of the actual documents” (Systems Analysis and Design, 2010). The sampling method that will be used in this project system is the systematic random sampling of students which will involve selecting every tenth student for review so as to collect feedback concerning the proposed system in order to know what should be included and what should be discarded from the system. Undertaking sampling will also help to improve the effectiveness of information that will be obtained to be more accurate. .
This will involve interviewing ANU community as whole i. e. current students, lecturers, ANU alumni and individuals that have knowledge on alumni, in order to evaluate their needs and preferences so that one can plan the best methods to use in the undertaking of his or her project in order to suit their needs.
This will involve consulting relevant ANU publications such as books, magazines and web pages that contain information of topic of the project inquiry and the relevant solution to the problem that one or that I will want to tackle.
This will enable me to make a project that will ensure that all user needs are meet according to their preferences.
This is a fact-finding technique that involves systematically selecting of ANU environment, watching and recording behavior and characteristics of objects or phenomena found within ANU community, seeing the system in action will give an additional perspective and a better understanding on the systems procedure. This will allow the verifying of statements that will be made from interviews and determine whether the systems procedures will really operate as described.
Observation will provide the knowledge needed to test or install future changes in the proposed system.
The Platform: The System will be developed using a web application and databases. The content in our web application will be connected to a database. So the idea here is getting data into a database so that we can use it in our web application. The focus here will be bridging between the table schemas of a database and running them on web application and vice versa. 3. 5. 1 MySQL This provides a platform to develop the proposed systems database.
MySQL is ideal for record storage from different platforms. It also has the capability of handling large system records. 3. 5. 2 PHP According to Mike McGrath (2002), he defines that PHP can be used to create interactive dynamic websites and is rapidly gaining in popularity because it is flexible, cross platform technology that provides amazingly powerful features. PHP can be used to dynamically generate the HTML code for a web page. PHP is embedded into the HTML code with the use of special tags, called Deli meters. By using the deli meters, many sections of PHP code are able to add to an HTML document.
Embedding PHP code in HTML code makes it possible to enhance existing web pages on a web site. (Paul Whitehead, Joel Desamero, 2000).
HTML In computing, Hypertext Markup Language (HTML) is a Markup Language designed for the creation of web pages and other information viewable in a browser. The focus of HTML is on the presentation of information-paragraphs, fonts, italics, tables e. t. c. 3. 5. 4 CASE Tools These are computer aided software engineering tools that enables the developers to represent the system in form of flow charts, graphs and data flow diagrams CHAPTER IV SYSTEM ANALYSIS
This is a step-by–step process for developing high-quality information systems (Systems Analysis and Design, 2010). In order to carry out system analysis researchers had to perform system analysis which basically is carrying out feasibility studies of the school. These include:
This includes an investigation of the technical resources of the ANU. The university IT department is not well established and it lacks enough man power and resources to support the system.
The department has only nine computers, of which all of them are outdated thus the need to purchase more IT resources that will be able to withstand the proposed system.
This investigates the projected benefits of the proposed system outweighing the estimated cost usually considering the total cost of ownership. The proposed automated department system process will require some system maintenance cost.
System analyst/IT consultantsKsh. 20, 000 p. m 4 Computers Pentium ivKsh. 120, 000 Adobe Flash media streaming server 4. 5Ksh. 30, 400 Network interface cardsKsh. 9, 000
Adobe CS 5packageKsh. 60, 000 TotalKsh. 239, 400
Operational Feasibility This means that the proposed system will be used effectively after it has been developed. With the support of the IT department and the alumni who are key players in the proposed system will be used effectively. With the alumni portal the image of ANU will improve in terms of being a head in technology field and efficiency.
Schedule Feasibility This information system project is to be completed in 8weeks time. In this time we will be able to have completed the development of the project and tested it.
The project is expected to take approximately 12 weeks in total. There are a total of 9 tasks that need to be implemented. The tasks have been grouped under each of the project objectives. This is as shown in the table below: TASKSDUTY System planningThis will involve analyzing, defining and coming up with a time schedule of the project which will be done by the developer. Preliminary InvestigationThis will involve determining if the project’s system proposal is worth pursing into analysis phase AnalysisAt this stage a detailed study of the current system in use will be undertaken that will lead to specifications of the new system.
This will be done by a system analyst. DesignDesign will be based on the user requirements and the detailed analysis of the new system tools such as flowcharts, use case diagrams will be used. ImplementationThis is the conversion of theory to practical analysis. During this stage, all the programs of the system will be loaded on to the user’s computer also the testing of the system will be undertaken. this will be done by a technician consultant Testing and InstallationThe system will be tested and errors and bugs will be checked in order to create a perfect system.
The change of the system will be direct change over-where the current system will be immediately replaced by the new system. PresentationThis is the last stage whereby I will present my project by explaining the processes, development, and approach about my project in detail.
CHAPTER V – SYSTEM DESIGN
Use case diagram According to Shelly Rosenblatt “ a use case diagram visually represents the interaction between users and an information system. The different actors in the proposed system will be the Administrator, Alumni, Students and Lecturer. ? 5. 2 Flow Chart
A flow chart will show the flow of the data from the time the Alumni, Student, Lecturer and Administrator will be registering to the system to the time they finalize their process.
Flow Diagrams (DFDs) They will be used in the proposed system to show the flow of the data collected from the time a alumni will register into the system and processed. The main entities will be the alumni, the student and the administrator. There will also be processes and data stores which will process and store data respectively.
- Level 0 Diagram ?
- Level1 diagram
CHAPTER VI – CODING AND TESTING
Home page: Welcome to Dau University Alumni Portal
Membership to this Portal is only available to ANU alumni. In order to take advantage of all that your community has to offer, you must register to establish a User ID and password. You only need to register for the community once. When you return on future visits, Enter your User ID and password when prompted. :: Features ; Find your Friends and Former School mates on ANU Alumni Portal ; Join the ANU Alumni nbsp; Search the Alumni Directory ; Change your Address ; Check out the latest issues ; Alumni Update ii) Registering of Alumni :: ANU Alumni Sign Up Form Welcome to Dau University Alumni Portal ; :: ANU alumni Home Register Login User Info Edit Profile Search Alumni Directory Logout Contact Us Forum :: ANU Alumni Sign Up Form
Username: Password: Name: Year: Please Select Year Program: Please Select Program Session: Department: Admission No: Phone no: Current Postion: Job Status: Address: E mail: ; ;;;;; ; iii) Login iv) Forum page ? CONCLUSION The ANU Alumni Portal can provide significant benefits to alumni relationship management programme and play a key role in terms of,. An online community portal, such as GradNet, should be a dynamic, ever-changing information tool that constantly adapts according to its target audience’s information needs.
It is therefore pivotal that continuous needs assessments of these alumni system is conducted. The ever-changing ways of how people conduct their lives need to be considered and explored if alumni portal want to come up with innovative ideas and programme that will accommodate and capitalize on these trends. If alumni organizations manage to create more value for their customers, the percentage of active participants, as well as the quality of alumni interaction in support of the institution, will improve. ?