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J2EE Compliant Software Application for


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									 Administrative Application for
Automation of Online Education


           In Partial Fulfillment

     of the Requirements for the Degree

             Master of Science
             Computer Science


           Radha Yarlagadda

               Spring 2001

     The twentieth century has seen the creation and evolution of technologies beyond
imagination a century ago. Computers have enabled the digital presentation of knowledge
and increased the speed with which information can be captured and processed.
Communication technologies have made possible the storage, transfer and sharing of
information across vast distances and different time zones. The acceptance of these
technologies has led to a new alternative for providing education and training called
distance learning. Distance learning has evolved into a new way of receiving education,
not a replacement for traditional classrooms.
      In today's technology-crazed environment, distance learning is touted as a cost-
effective option for delivering employee training and higher education programs, such as
bachelor, master and doctoral degrees. Educational institutes have increased the use of
web sites in place of traditional content media and instructional approaches, such as texts
and lectures. This new teaching philosophy has led to a myriad of questions concerning
instructional design principles, learner’s cognitive strategies, human-Internet interaction
factors, and instructional characteristics of web-media, that transverse political,
geographic, and national boundaries. Many people feel that the important aspect of
learning i.e. interaction with others, is missing from distance learning programs.
However, Computer-Mediated Communication (CMC) technologies such as electronic
mail, bulletin board services, computer conferencing systems, and the World Wide Web
(WWW), demonstrate much promise.


     Slightly more than two in five (44%) students at US colleges and universities are
working adults [4]. According to projected trends, working adults will make up one-half
of the higher education student population by the year 2008 [8]. This growth rate reflects
a population of learners who are seeking to enhance their current professional skills
and/or acquire new ones, as well as fulfill personal learning needs. In addition, working
adults must balance their family, community, and job related commitments with their
educational pursuits. As such the prospect of learning “on demand,” free of time and
place constraints of classroom instruction, certainly has its appeal [1].
     In response to this as well as other demographic and competitive trends, colleges
and universities are broadening access to education by using information technology to
deliver education at flexible times and locations [4]. Working adults can now select from
a variety of options, including offerings that deliver courses and programs electronically.
     With the increase in exposure to CMC in the workplace and in daily life, it is not
surprising that working adults find value in the CMC learning environment. The most
popular CMC vehicles are e-mail, list servers, and news groups. For working adults, the
asynchronous nature of CMC, where individuals read and then respond to messages in
their own time offers an opportunity to better manage the pressures of time.
     For faculty members, however, teaching working adults in a CMC environment
raises questions and concerns beyond those related to gaining knowledge of technology
itself [4]. Working adults approach online learning environment with an existing set of
communication styles and skills honed on the job and throughout their working life.
Some may already have college degrees and achieved success in their field. Sometimes
this combination of diverse styles, backgrounds, and experiences, coupled with specific
needs and expectations about the learning process itself, may lead to conflict online.


      In 1991, the World Wide Web (WWW) was conceptualized at the European
Particle Physics Laboratory (CERN) in Geneva, Switzerland, with the sole purpose of
making research findings and scientific materials available to the academic and scientific
community on a global network [1]. Since then, the Internet has become an important
communications medium for both large corporations as well as individuals. Lately the
Internet has become an innovative instructional and distance learning tool for academic
institutions. Actually, distance learning was pioneered at Stanford University more than
30 years ago to meet the increasing demand for high-tech engineers and computer
scientists at Silicon Valley.
      Today, more than 150 accredited academic institutions in this country offer
nontraditional bachelor and master degree programs. According to the United States
Distance Learning Association (USDLA), an organization committed to promoting and
developing distance learning, there were no significant differences in effectiveness
between distance learning and traditional learning techniques [1]. Georgia Tech and a
number of other institutions, such as Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT), Stanford
University, and Drexel University, have not only been in the field of distance education
for twenty or more years, they are constantly offering more courses via the Internet.
Many Universities have one or more master's degree programs completely online, with
more due in the near future.

                              SOLUTION SOUGHT

      The primary goal of this project is to develop a web-enabled tool, which will
improve the flexibility in the online education system. This application has three profiles,
the student, the advisor, and the course administrator.
The student can login and check the courses that were advised, view the list of courses
that he/she completed, and view a list of courses they have registered for. The student can
post questions on the message boards of a particular class and get a response back from
fellow students or from the professor. The student can also update his/her academic
background (prior course work, work experience etc.), address, email and password. The
student can also check whether he/she has completed the graduation requirements.
          The advisor can login and advise the students that were assigned to him/her.
Advisors have other options like checking the status of a student, viewing a student’s
background, browsing the course catalog and viewing the list of courses that are offered
in the coming semester. Advisors can also respond to the questions in the message
          The course administrator has a very crucial role in this application. Course
administrators are responsible for adding courses to the catalog, adding courses to the
offered course list for a particular semester, registering new students, assigning faculty
given grades to students in respective courses, etc.

                                PLAN OF ACTION

     The project is divided into two phases. The first phase involves designing the
architecture, developing an E-R Diagram and the initial coding. The second phase
involves performing enhancements, testing and documenting program development.

       JAVA servlets will be used to implement this project. JAVA servlets were chosen
in order to provide platform independent features necessary for this application. Almost
all the application servers commercially available are supporting the JSDK2.1
specification. Therefore this application can be deployed in any application server, which
confirms to the J2EE specification without any changes in the respective configuration
files. JDBC-ODBC drivers will be used to connect to the database. Two patterns will be
used in the architecture of this project. Mediator-View pattern will be used to redirect the
three profiles using one servlet during login. This same servlet mediates to redirect the
requests to the appropriate administration pages. The rest of the project will be built using
Page-View design pattern, where each page can be browsed at the users discretion.

Software Requirements: JSDK2.1, Weblogic Application server 6.0 (BEA Systems).

                          PRELIMINARY OUTLINE

Cover Sheet
Signature Sheet
Table of Contents
Chapter 1- Project Overview
Chapter 2- Online Education
     Research Review
Chapter 3 - Design and Architecture
     E-R Diagram
     Object Model
     JAVA Servlets
Chapter 4 - Installation and Configuration
     J2EE Specifications
     Deploying in Web Logic

     Deploying in Web Sphere
     Deploying in JAVA Web Server
Chapter 5 - Roles and Functionality
     Course Administrator
Chapter 6 – Demo
     Servlet Communication
     Login Handling
     Message Boards
Chapter 7 – Conclusions
    A - Project Source Code
    B - Screen Shots


[1] Patricia Comeaux and Mary Anne Nixon; “Collaborative Learning in an Internet
    Graduate Course,” WebNet Journal, pp. 35-40, Dec. 2000.

[2] Thomas G. Cleaver and Robert L. Toole; “Design of a Web-based Education
    Environment,” 29th ASEE/IEEE Frontiers in Education Conference Proceedings,
    vol. 1, pp. 12A3/1–12A3/5, 10-13 Nov. 1999.

[3] Peter K. Wiesner; “Meeting Educational Needs Through Electronic Delivery
    Systems,” IEEE Southcon/94. Conference Record, pp 203-206, 29-31 Mar. 1994.

[4] Sharon Williams van Rooij; “Conflict Management among Adult Learners in the
    Computer-Mediated Environment,” WebNet Journal, pp. 45-51, Dec. 2000.

[5] H.A. Latchman, Ch. Salzmann, Denis Gillet, and Hicham Bouzekri; “ Information
    Technology Enhanced Learning in Distance and Conventional Education,” IEEE
    Transactions on Education, vol. 42,No. 4, pp. 247-254, Nov. 1999.

[6] Peter K. Weisner; “ Distance Education: Rebottling or a new brew?,” Proceedings of
    the IEEE, vol. 88, pp. 1124-1130, Jul. 2000.

[7] D.A Gustafson and W. Hankley; “ Experience using Web-based media in Distance
    Learning,” 30th ASEE/IEEE Frontiers in Education Conference Proceedings,
    vol. 1, pp. T3D/7-T3D10, Nov. 2000.

[8] DoE: Department of Education; “Survey on distance education courses offered by
    higher educational institutions,” National Institute of Post-secondary Education,
    Libraries and Lifelong Learning, 1998.

[9] Chang P. Inje; “Inside the JAVA web Server: An Overview of JAVA Web Server
    1.0, JAVA Servlets, and the JAVA Server Architecture,” Palo Alto, CA: Sun
    Microsystems Press Inc., Oct. 1999.

[10] Karl Moss; “JAVA Servlets,” Vendome, OH: Multi Sciences Press Inc., 1999.

[11] Cay S. Horstmann and Gary Cornell; “Core JAVA 2: Advanced Features,” 2 vols.
     Palo Alto, CA: Sun Microsystems Press Inc., 2000.

[12] David Flanagan; “JAVA Examples in a Nutshell: A Tutorial Companion to JAVA
     in a Nutshell,” Sebastopol, CA: O’Reilly & Associates Inc., Sep. 1999.

[13] Philip Heller and Simon Roberts; “JAVA 2 Developer’s Handbook,” Alameda, CA:
     Sybase Inc., Jun. 1999.

[14] Meydene Fisher, Rick Cattle, Graham Hamilton, Seth White, and Mark Hapner;
     “JDBC API Tutorial and Reference: Universal Data Access from JAVA 2
      Platform,” 2nd Ed. Palo Alto, CA: Sun Microsystems Press Inc., 2000.

[15] Paul Perrone and Krishna Chaganti; “ Building JAVA Enterprise Systems with
     J2EE,” Indianapolis, IN: Sams Publishing Inc., Jul. 2000.

[16] Jason Hunter and William Crawford: “JAVA Servlet Programming,”
     Sebastopol, CA: O’Reilly & Associates Inc., Sep. 1999.


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