The main aim of this project was to develop a PC-based database that would allow information regarding students, student enrolment and agents to be stored and searched on by the administrative staff of Saint Michael’s College, Tenbury Wells, Worcestershire. The development was achieved using Microsoft Access 2000 and focused on two main areas, functionality and user interface.
The minimum requirements for the project were to:
1) Investigate the appropriate tools and methodologies to allow an understanding of the user requirements for the proposed database
2) Investigate the appropriate software tool to produce the proposed database
3) Investigate the HCI issues related to this problem to allow their suitable application to the system to ensure usability
4) Produce a working system that is most appropriate to the problem and which will address the three key areas (Student Details, Student Enrolment and Agent Details storage) of the user needs
5) Produce and apply suitable criteria for the evaluation of the solution
My personal objectives in completing this project were to:
Gain a practical understanding of software project development, particularly in applying a software development methodology to a ‘real-life’ development situation Gain a practical understanding of database design and implementation, particularly in using a DBMS to create a database Create a product which will actually be useful to the organisation
I have achieved these requirements and more. I have produced a working database that enables the administrative staff to locate the information described above, in a timely and suitable manner. I have also managed to implement some additional, non-minimal features into the database, such as, the storage of Host Family and Arrival/Departure Details. The users were very satisfied with the finished database. During this project I have also achieved my personal objectives. I have gained a deeper understanding of database design and creation as well as gaining professional experience on what it is like to work with a real organisation.
Chapter 1 – Introduction to the Project
This Chapter will introduce the project, outlining the background to the problem and the scope of the project. Finally, Section 1.4 presents an outline of the project report. Term definitions needed to understand this report, are given in the Project Glossary, in Appendix C, Page 97.
1.2 Background to the Problem
Saint Michael’s College is a small college offering subjects in GCSE-1, GCSE-2, Alevel-1 and Alevel-2 standards. The student intake is always international, with students coming from all around the world. The average number of students attending the college in one year is 130 students. The college also corresponds with Agents, which are companies independent of the college who are situated around the world. They advertise the college in their own country and send the students they have signed up to the college for education. They get a commission for every student they send. There are approximately 1000 agents which the college is in contact with, this varies little as some agents become out of contact and new agents contact the college in approximately equal numbers.
While the students attend the college they are accommodated either with a Host Family or in Residential Accommodation. Host families are local people (not necessarily families) who are paid a small amount of money to take care of the students while residential accommodation are halls located within the college grounds. There are approximately 100 host families in contact with the college, again, this changes little as people decide to leave their roles as host families and others offer to become host families in approximately equal numbers.
Currently, three administrative staff deal with all Student, Student Enrolment, Arrival/Departure, Agent, Host Family and Classing Details. The staff are the main stakeholders affected by this development and are described in the Business Vision in Appendix C, Page 58. Presently, Student, Student Enrolment, Arrival/Departure and Host Family and Agent details are stored on paper in seven different filing cabinets. The Student, Student Enrolment (including subjects taken and enrolment
documentation received) and Arrival/Departure (flights in and out of the country) details are contained within one filing cabinet. The records are ordered by country rather than ‘Student Name’, with many students being placed in one file based on the country they are from. The remaining filing cabinets contain all the Agent Details, which are also ordered by country rather than ‘Trading Name’.
Many agent records are stored in one paper file based on the country they belong to.