1.1 Background of the Study
Computers with the power of the internet have thrived in aiding communication
among people. The telephone system, which is the main communication system that was
invented several years ago, had undergone a great improvement, so much that today we
have fixed wireless phones, mobile phones and the likes. With the rapid development of
mobile phones come several services like the Short Messaging Service (SMS),
Multimedia Messaging Service (MMS) and others, which are readily available and add to
the usefulness of mobile phones. SMS in particular is widely used in communication, and
more recently has been leveraged to provide several services like airline ticketing,
banking services, commercial services like share and sell (an added service Provided by
MTN Nigeria which other brands have adopted giving rise to me2u by Airtel, etc.,),
where subscribers can easily share and/or sell airtime, and several others. SMS is a
mobile technology that allows for sending and receiving text or even binary messages to
and from a mobile phone.
In every organized system which is dependent on accurate time, information
management, there is a need to have a system which can on its own serve the purpose of
automatically sending alert text messages. Time management plays important role in the
success of any venture like a university environment where limited spaces (lecture halls),
time and people have to be managed for effective information delivery. It is important to
let students and guardians have access to results and other relevant information without
having to visit the school premises. People can easily be reached through their handheld
devices such as mobile phone irrespective of their location. Hence, there is a need to
develop a system that will combine available resources and reach people via short
message service (SMS) using GSM module. Java is a portable object oriented
programming (OOP) language which can be used to develop large-scale enterprise
applications, to provide applications for devices like cell phones, pagers and personal
digital assistants among many other purposes. In addition to using this OOP
programming language for developing the application, C# programming language was
also used to develop the desktop SMS application which generates updates and reminders
from a time schedule based on contact details of members of staff and helps automate
and document the process of sending information across an organized system at a
reduced cost. The system architecture is shown in figure1 and it employed the use of
SMS over circuit switched GSM network that allows the application to send and receive
messages over the modem interface.
Fig. 1.1: System Architecture of the Proposed System
The mobile operator charges for the message as if it was performed directly on a mobile
phone by supporting an extended AT command set for sending and receiving SMS
messages according to defined specifications.
A GSM module can be a dedicated modem device or a standard GSM mobile
phone with a serial, USB or Bluetooth connection and software driver to connect to a
serial port or USB port of your computer or server as a cost effective solution for sending
SMS messages. The system is to function with a database which contained the result
information of each student such as names, exam ID (course code), Matriculation number
and telephone numbers, along with other information such as the courses, credit point,
semester, grades, etc. This would be created by making use of MySQL and then installed
to run on the server which would house the program. At the initiation of the program, the
system is going to check the database to see which results have been updated, its
forwards the constructed message to the GSM module for sending.
1.2 Statement of the Problem
This considers the channels through which students access their examination
grades. I identified the communication channels used to support information delivery in
CRUTECH, and the related weaknesses of interest here are:
i. Students are accessing their semester examination results through a single notice
board located at the school main campus.
ii. Non-resident students have to call those within the school area to ask about
published examination results if they are in areas of no internet access or pay their
way to campus.
iii. It is expensive using the current school portal system as one has to have an
internet bundle to gain access.
Therefore, there is need to device an
alternative SMS based solution to mitigate these bottlenecks and allow only
personal access to examination results, hence, strengthening administration.
1.3 Objectives of Study
The main aim of this research is the design and implementation of an SMS based
result checking system for Faculty of Science.
During the course of this work, the following will be focused:
i. Create access to school result database
ii. Develop a code to check results using Registration number
iii. Develop a code to verify existing and non-existing results.
1.4 Significance of Study
The SMS based examination result system as described above will contribute to
reduce the time taken for students to retrieve their results, unnecessary money spending
(transportation to/from school) and disclosing of academic privacy.
This is achieved through instant SMS reply as compared to the time consumed by
browsing and manual procedure.
The system does not require internet access at the client side and hence, the
students may retrieve their examination results anytime and anywhere.
1.5 Scope of Study
Though there are other technologies like the Multimedia Messaging Service
(MMS) for result delivery, this paper is restricted to SMS based result delivery. Added
services could include Mobile Distant Learning, student profile Access, CGPA
calculation among others, but as a result of the constraint on the topic, this work focuses
on result checking only.
1.6 Limitation of Study
Despite the fact that this system provides benefits to its users, some limitations do
i. In SMS messaging, an SMS service provider is an entity responsible for sending
and delivering messages from users/applications of the programs to recipient’s
mobile phones, and responsible for sending messages from the mobile phones to
SMS server, which will deliver them to users/applications of the program. To
send and receive messages using message server, there is need to pay one or
more GSM service providers for the service and the connection of SMS server to
SMS center of one or more service provider. This fee is so exorbitant to be paid
by most individuals, hence, the need for the Faculty of science to pay for USSD
ii. Regarding the limitation of characters per SMS imposed by the Global System
for Mobile communication (GSM) technology, GSM standard allows mobile
devices to exchange SMS with a maximum length of 160 7-bit characters per
iii. Due to the above limitation, the examination result covered to the students via
SMS must be written in condensed form, which may require information such as
student names, IDs or semester to be excluded.
Additionally, some information might be too long but important to be
excluded from the text such as course names. This will require the examination
result information to be split into more than one SMS message. As a result, the
examination result is less user-friendly
iv. The third limitation is that the SMS based result system cannot be used for
official use, which normally requires a formal-looked printed slip.
In other words, the examination result received in SMS is targeted for personal
uses instead of official matters. In this case, students are required to redo the
requesting process of examination result for example, download or print from
web portal in order to get formal printed slips.