DESIGN AND IMPLEMENTATION OF DEPARTMENTAL COURSE ALLOCATION SYSTEM

DESIGN AND IMPLEMENTATION OF DEPARTMENTAL COURSE ALLOCATION SYSTEM

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CHAPTER ONE
INTRODUCTION
1.0 Introduction
The university course allocation problems deal with the scheduling of the teaching program. Two different but related problems arise in this context. One is to schedule courses and the other is to schedule examinations in the most efficient way. Course allocation problems have attracted the continuous interest of researchers mainly because they provide the opportunity of testing combinatorial solution methods in formulations that represent difficult practical problems. In most of the attempted solutions of either the course or examination problem, the objective is to and a feasible schedule. A feasible schedule is one that satisfies the teaching or examination requirements, respectively. These requirements appear usually as explicit constraints in the IP formulation while additional case specific constraints arise as a result of the particular institution’s rules, administrative policies and pre-specified preferences. Constructing a feasible schedule is a difficult problem whenever there is a scarcity of classrooms and increased ¯flexibility in the students choices. A more difficult problem is to produce a good feasible schedule. A good (or fair) schedule is one that has convenient relative time positions of the courses or examinations corresponding to every group of students following the same compulsory courses, that is, a compact schedule. In the present study, these requirements are faced by properly structuring the problem and by using suitable objective function coefficients in the IP formulation. The present study describes the development of a system producing good (or fair) course timetable schedules.
There are different departments in a University, each one including different specializations. The academic year is divided into two independent semesters (winter and spring) each containing completely different courses. To facilitate the construction of a fair schedule, the university administration supports the construction of a conflict free schedule only for certain university streams. A university stream is a set of compulsory and optional courses suggested by the administration to be followed by the students in each one of the eight semesters Murray et al (2015).

1.1 Theoretical Background
University course allocation is a large resource allocation problem, in which both times and rooms are determined for each class meeting. Significant research has been devoted to Curriculum-Based Course allocation in particular, because of its importance for universities worldwide. Due to the difficulty and size of modern timetabling problems, much of the literature proposes purely heuristic solution methods. However, in recent years, integer programming (IP) methods have been the subject of increased attention. One decomposition used in course timetabling is to generate a timetable first, followed by a classroom assignment second. This is commonly used in practice because the time elements of a timetable involve complex institution-specific requirements, over which experienced administrators and teaching sta_ would like to maintain control. In some institutions, the classroom assignment problem is the only part of constructing a timetable which uses computer-aided decision making. Most older formulations of the classroom assignment problem use a simple measure of quality which allows each time period to be considered independently. These formulations can be modelled as an assignment problem, which can be solved in polynomial time. More recent formulations are able to address complex measures of quality which cause interdependencies between time periods, such as providing the same room for all classes from the same course (Lach & Lubbecke, 2012). However, this causes the problem to be NP-complete (Carter & Tovey, 1992).

1.2 Statement of the Problem
The following problems exists:
Absence of an automated system to capture and store course allocation records.
Inability to easily update course allocation records.
Difficulty in obtaining reports pertaining to course allocation records.

1.3 Aim and Objectives of the Study
The aim of the study is to design and implement an automated departmental course allocation system with the following objectives:
To develop a database application to register course allocation.
To avoid conflicts in course allocation.
To easily manage course allocation records.

1.4 Significance of the Study
The significance of the study is that it will enable the management of the university to efficiently allocate courses. It will be more flexible that the manual system and easy to use and update course allocation details. It will ensure smooth running of lectures in the institution. The system will also serve as a useful reference material to other researchers seeking for information on the subject.

1.5 Scope of the Study
This study covers design and implementation of departmental course allocation system for universities using University of Uyo, in Akwa Ibom state as a case study.

1.6 Organization of research
This research work is organized into five chapters. Chapter one is concerned with the introduction of the research study and it presents the preliminaries, theoretical background, statement of the problem, aim and objectives of the study, significance of the study, scope of the study, organization of the research and definition of terms.
Chapter two focuses on the literature review, the contributions of other scholars on the subject matter is discussed.
Chapter three is concerned with the system analysis and design. It presents the research methodology used in the development of the system, it analyzes the present system to identify the problems and provides information on the advantages and disadvantages of the proposed system. The system design is also presented in this chapter.
Chapter four presents the system implementation and documentation, the choice of programming language, analysis of modules, choice of programming language and system requirements for implementation.
Chapter five focuses on the summary, constraints of the study, conclusion and recommendations are provided in this chapter based on the study carried out.

1.7 Definition of Terms
Course Allocation: The assignment or earmarking of  courses to lecturers involved.
University: an educational institution for higher learning that typically includes an undergraduate college and graduate schools in various disciplines, as well as medical and law schools and sometimes other professional schools
System: A combination of related parts working together to achieve a specific goal.

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