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A Web-Based Repository with Web Forum for Undergraduates’ Final Year Projects in Higher Educational Institutions

In: Computers and Technology

Submitted By chedoh
Words 1363
Pages 6
Abstract: A repository is a place where data are stored, eprints are located, multiple databases and files are located for distribution over a network. Final year project is one of the requirements for graduation for all undergraduate students. The existing method of keeping students’ final year project reports is manual. The hardcopy bound reports are stored on physically on shelves. This has some limitations which include sifting through the hardcopies to get relevant information and manually reading through the copies. The processes involved in completing these projects prove to be a tough mission.
This paper attempts to develop a web-based repository for the use of undergraduate students embarking on final year projects. It also involves the design of a web forum to enhance collaborative students’ interaction. This is achieved by designing the system using Unified
Modeling Language. The databases for both the repository and the web forum were created using MySql as the backend and Dreamweaver as the front-end.
The system is a very good resource for getting information about the past undergraduate projects carried out by graduate students.
Keywords: Repository, web forum, undergraduate students, final year projects, higher educational institutions 1. Introduction
A repository can be defined as a central place where data is stored and maintained. It is a storage area that allows multi-user access to stored resources, when shared. Data in a repository are retrieved in order to be used in their own right. A repository can be a place where data is stored, eprints are located, multiple databases and files are located for distribution over a network.
Undergraduates’ final year projects are required for fulfillment of the award of first degree in higher educational institutions. Final year students are required to carry out projects or write long essays.
More often than not, the processes involved in the completion of final year projects for higher institution students, i.e. from getting an approved project topic to the actual implementation of the topic, proves to be a tough mission. The process of acquiring a project topic involves sifting through scores of project write-ups of preceding students in the hope of finding a topic that interests the student and getting several topics in the hope of having one approved. A repository for final year students’ projects with an interface for forum interaction between students will, to a large extent, ease some of the stress of final year project realization.
Students develop final year projects once in their undergraduate years. This makes it an unfamiliar territory. Guidance is needed to avoid the time wasted in probing for what is expected of them.
The aim of this paper is to design of a web-based repository containing students’ final year project topics and information on the scope and process of development of each topic. It also involves the design of a web forum to enhance collaborative students’ interaction, and thus progress of students’ projects, during project development.
2. Existing Repositories
There are two types of repositories, namely, local and remote repositories.
The local repository refers to a copy on the user’s own computer that is a cache of the remote downloads. Remote repositories refer to any other type of repository, accessed by a variety of protocols such as file:// and http://. These repositories might be a truly remote repository set up by a third party to provide their artifacts for.
Other remote repositories may be internal repositories set up on a file or HTTP server within an organization, used to share private artifacts between people.
A university-based repository can be defined as any collection of digital material hosted, owned or controlled, or disseminated by a college or university and its community members, irrespective of purpose or provenance [1]. University-based repositories give easier access to scattered or restricted access materials in a centralized location.
They help to improve university’s reputation. This is because whenever research findings are printed in academic journals, a substantial part of the prestige value goes to the publisher instead of the sponsoring institution. When the findings are
238
International Journal of Research and Reviews in Computer Science (IJRRCS) Vol. 2, No. 2, April 2011 posted on the university’s repository, however, the institution can gain increased recognition for its academic quality.
Researchers can gain a lot from repositories. Since repositories are typically open-access, the contents that reside there, will gain more use by the academic community because it’s free than contents of subscription-only journals.
Repositories serve a variety of functions, depending on the nature of information stored in them. Below is a list of existing repositories and the purposes they serve.
i. Cogprints
This is an electronic archive for self-archive papers in any area of Psychology, neuroscience, and Linguistics, and many areas of Computer Science (e.g., artificial intelligence, robotics, vision, learning, speech, neural networks), Philosophy (e.g., mind, language, knowledge, science, logic), Biology
(e.g. behavioral ecology, sociobiology, behaviour genetics, evolutionary theory),
Medicine (e.g., Psychiatry, neurology, human genetics, Imaging), Anthropology (e.g., primatology, cognitive ethnology, archeology, paleontology), as well as any other portions of the physical, social and mathematical sciences that are pertinent to the study of cognition [2]. ii. Demand Signal Repositories (DSR)
Demand signal repositories (DSRs) are growing in importance with the implementation of demand-driven supply network strategies. A DSR is an enterprise database designed to collect, cleanse, harmonize, aggregate and publish granular data from many points of distribution and retailers. iii. The Arts and Humanities Data Service
(AHDS)
AHDS [3] is a collection of digital resources for the support of research and teaching across the broad field of the performing arts: music, film, broadcast arts, theatre, and dance. It acts as an online resource base search for people involved in the performing arts such as researchers, teachers and students. iv. The National Library of Scotland
The National Library of Scotland is a directory of rare Gaelic books, photographs, theses, children’s books, private press books, tracts, postcards and newspapers.
v. The National Archives
The National Archives is the U.S.
Government’s collection of documents that records important events in American history
[4]. The National Archives and Records
Administration (NARA) is the Government agency that preserves and maintains these materials and makes them available for research. vi. Networked Computer Science
Technical Reference Library
NCSTRL, pronounced "ancestral", is an international collection of computer science technical reports from computer science departments and industrial and government research laboratories, made available for noncommercial and educational use [5]. vii. Wisconsin Online Resource Center
The Wisconsin Online Resource Center is a learning objects repository which acts as a digital library of Web-based learning resources called “learning objects” [6]. The digital library of objects has been developed primarily by faculty from the Wisconsin Technical
College System (WTCS) and produced by multimedia technicians who create the learning objects for the online environment.
The Wisc-Online digital library contains learning objects that are accessible to all
WTCS faculty at no cost and with copyright clearance for use in any WTCS classroom or online application. Other colleges, universities, and consortia from throughout the United
States and around the world use the library with permission. Learning objects are designed and developed by a team of instructional designers, editors, technicians, and student interns. viii. arXiv arXiv, pronounced "archive", is an archive for electronic preprints of scientific papers in the fields of physics, mathematics, computer science and biology which can be accessed via the Internet [7] . In many fields of mathematics and physics, almost all scientific papers are placed on the arXiv. As of December 2006, arXiv.org contains over 400,000 e-prints, with roughly four thousand new e-prints added every month. ix. Graphics Gem Repository
This is the official on-line repository for the code from the Graphics Gems series of books
(from Academic Press) [8]. This series focuses on short to medium length pieces of code which perform a wide variety of computer graphics related tasks. All codes can be used without restrictions.
The codes can be viewed by category, by book, or by author. Codes can also be accessed in a variety of ways: by viewing the code directly from the repository pages or by downloading

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