In this project work, we present a way to bring information to students by leveraging the availability of phones (with SMS capability). We review the use of mobile phones for delivering examination results via Mobile Application Result Checker in a university, where student who have written examinations and anxious to see their results need to get their grades in a convenient and accessible way, whether in the comfort of their homes, on the road or while at work. Mobile phone seems to be an asset most individuals’ possess, and take almost everywhere with them, it is therefore a highly effective means of bringing information to them faster, easily and on the move. MARC (Mobile Application Result Checker) result checking system not only enables students to request for their grades, the system can also deliver the grades to their phones as soon as the grades become available. The system enforces security with the use of secret information (password), and also provides access to new and old grades.
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), 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. The relative ease of use of SMS makes it possible for a user to learn how to send SMS easily.
Schofield and Kubin (2002) argued that small devices could potentially provide better interface for finding information than through page browsing and other means. More than 160 billion SMS are exchanged each month in European countries (Mavrakis, 2004), and according to Resource Shelf (2006), 48.7 billion SMS messages were sent in the second half of 2005, which is up 50% on the six months before that. Nowadays, with 45 million short messages sent in Africa alone every day, a mobile phone that has the easiest interface for voice communication is likely to fail the user satisfaction test if it does not provide a reasonably good SMS interface. (Gorienko & Merrick, 2003).
The major advantage of SMS is its cost effectiveness, and availability, as most individuals own phone. In different parts of the world, several service providers offer mobile services which include SMS. Most times the cost attached to sending a SMS is relatively small, and most providers do not charge when receiving SMS. Sometimes, service providers give users certain amount of free SMS per month, which allows customers send and receive unlimited number of SMS messages. It is possible to acquire a special dedicated line that uses a custom rate for messages sent to the number; it is also possible to have a number as toll free, making it free for users to send SMS to the number. All these contribute to what makes SMS a really cost effective means of disseminating information.
1.1 PROBLEM STATEMENT
Till today, especially in the developing countries, there still exists the problem of checking examination results as students still throng notice boards in anxiety. Although most universities, even those in the less developed countries now make examination results available on their websites. The level of internet availability in less developed countries is still low and quite expensive. Even in the developed countries where most homes have internet access, SMS is still a faster and cheaper means of dissemination examination results as well as other information. Pramsane and Sanjaya (2006) stated that universities can provide educational services based on SMS such as grade release, enrolment information, university announcement and internship opportunity. An advantage SMS offers is that students can receive valuable information on the fly without requesting for it.
1.2 SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY
The significance of this study includes the following:
- Convenience– Users get their results at their own convenience.
- Accessibility – Users can access their results from any location (as long asthey are within a network service reception area).
- Portability– Results can be received and checked from any GSM phone. All GSM phones support SMS.
- Saves time– SMS is on the fly. It reduces the throughput of result checking as websites are sometimes unavailable due to congestion, or server down time. SMS provides a faster means of sending and receiving such information.
- Cheaper – SMS is generally economical, and it sometimes provided as a free service (at least for certain periods) by the service provider. Most providers also do not charge when users receive SMS.
- Less human resources required– Results are processed automatically
- Mobility– It is obvious that most mobile phone users have their phones with them everywhere they go, most people often leave their computer as home, or work sometimes, but they will always have their phone on them.
1.3 Objective of the study
- To develop a Mobile Result Checker Application that will receive SMS from all kind of phones from all networks.
- The application will be able to notify users when they make an invalid request.
- The application should be able to provide security using password.
- The application will be relatively easy to customize.
1.4 Limitation of the study
The problems encountered during the course of carrying out this research work include:
- Fund: There was limited fund to take care of the research properly especially when test running the application.
- Research Material: Lack of access to research materials on the topic in the school library and even public libraries were also a major constraint in the cause of this project.
1.5 SCOPE OF THE STUDY
For the purpose of this research work, the researcher shall be limited to developing a mobile application result checker that will be an Independent Service; this involves using solely a mobile phone and the application server (the system running the SMS application). This option offers limited benefit, but it is easy and fast to setup. It does not require authorization of the service provider or connection to any third party SMS provider. The mobile phone uses a regular SIM card which has a normal phone number, and messages that originate from the phone attracts the standard cost or tariff.
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