Development of a student project management system for the Department of Mathematics and Computer Science, Benue State University

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1.1     Background of the Study

One of the recent advances in the world of information technology is the rapid development of communication which has turned the world into a global village, we can send mails electronically, search for information online, buy goods online, withdraw/ transfer money, school online; all this has affected the society positively to a great extent, as a result, computerization of project management should not be exempted in this revolution, for proper record keeping (Agbo, 1999).

Educational Project Management is the discipline of planning, organizing, and managing resources to bring about the successful completion of a specific project goals and objectives. In practice, the management of projects have been seen as being virtually done manually in Tertiary institutions in Nigeria, where the student supervisors accept project topics from the students, possibly allocate the students projects to do or suggest for the students.

The primary challenge of project management is to achieve all of the project goals and objectives while adhering to given rules and formats that are specific to departments project, there are a number of constraints usually scope, quality, time and budget. The secondary and more ambitious challenge is to optimize the allocation and integration of inputs necessary to meet pre-defined objectives. A project is a carefully defined set of activities that use resources (money, people, materials, energy, space, provisions, communication, motivation, etc.) to achieve its goals and objectives (Kazakov, 2010).

Project management is quite often the province and responsibility of an individual project manager. This individual seldom participates directly in the activities that produce the end result, but rather strives to maintain the progress and productive mutual interaction of various parties in such a way that overall risk of failure is reduced. A project manager is often a client representative and has to determine and implement the exact needs of the client, based on knowledge of the firm they are representing. The ability to adapt to the various internal procedures of the contracting party, and to form close links with the nominated representatives, is essential in ensuring that the key issues of cost, time, quality, and above all, client satisfaction, can be realized (Lewis,2006)

Regardless of the approach employed, careful consideration needs to be given to clarify surrounding project objectives, goals, and importantly, the roles and responsibilities of all participants and stakeholders (Joseph, 2003).

In many tertiary institutions in the country, students seek a project in a given field of specialty as part of the upper level of their degree programme. Usually, a project can be filled by at most one student, though in some cases a project is suitable for more than one student to work on simultaneously. To give students something of a choice, there should be as wide a range of available projects as possible, and in any case the total number of project places should not be less than the total number of students. Typically a lecturer will also offer a range of projects, but does not necessarily expect that all will be taken up.

Each student has preferences over the available projects that he/she finds acceptable, whilst a lecturer will normally have preferences over the students that he/she is willing to supervise. There may also be upper bounds on the number of students that can be assigned to a particular project, and the number of students that a given lecturer is willing to supervise. In this study we consider the ways of allocating student project in our institutions.

1.2     Statement of the Problem

The traditional way of allocating project to students in the department need to be reconsidered since project/research writing is sensitive aspect of student education in the higher institution.  The traditional system create room for allocating a single topic to more than one students or group of student thereby creating inefficiency in the purpose of student project writing.

It has become widely recognized that manual storage of student projects has inherent problems. Looking at the Department of Mathematics and Computer, students usually submit hard copies of their projects to the department. Computerized or storage system is more efficient in terms of retrieved time or access time. Existing system is faced with challenges of difficulty in tracing records to avoid duplicate and accurate records online outside the University. Therefore an automated system would be developed to address these problems in this study.

1.3     Aims and Objectives of the Study

The aim of this research study is to develop a student project management system for the Department of Mathematics and Computer Science, Benue State University to effectively manage students’ research projects.

The objectives of this research study are as listed below;

  1. To design a database for the system
  2. To implement the system designed in (i)

iii.      To test the performance of the system in (ii)

1.4     Significance of the Study

The significance of this study is to move from manual documentation of projects to computerized documentation of projects for easy retrieval, storage, accuracy and security.

1.5     Scope of the Study

The scope of this project covers Students’ Research Project Management in the Department of Mathematics and Computer Science Benue State University only.

1.6     Limitations of the Study

This research study is limited to some constraints. Most prevailing among the constraints would be the limited time for the conclusion of the study; another factor considered as challenging in the cause of this work is reluctance by the officials to freely give out official information on how projects are being managed

1.7     Definition of Terms

Verification System: is a set of actions used to check the correctness of any element, such as a system element, a system, a document, a service, a task, a requirement, etc.

Duplicate: This means having one project topic, assigned to 2 or more students.

Monitoring: This implies being able to observe or notice happenings in a system

Project Allocation: This entails the process of assigning a project topic to a student.

Project: A project is a research or design which is carefully planned to achieve a particular aim under a specified time constraint.

 Milestone: A significant event in the project, usually completion of a major deliverable. A milestone, by definition, has duration of zero and no effort.

Data: A collection of facts made up of numbers, characters and symbols stored on computers in such a way that it can be processed by the computers.

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