A relational database approach and user interface for an academic staff workload management system

Raven, Neil (2011) A relational database approach and user interface for an academic staff workload management system. BSc dissertation, University of Portsmouth.

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    Abstract

    Systems for planning and managing academic staff workloads are widespread within universities and have become an essential part of departmental administration. From a review of the literature they are typically spreadsheet-based. An alternative approach based on a relational database is proposed for the system currently operated by the University’s School of Computing. The experience of the department’s workload manager, past and current, is that the system is limited in that desired outputs for use by the department cannot be readily generated. In addition data input is cumbersome, inefficient and liable to error. The project demonstrates conversion of the current single–user desktop system to a web-based facility allowing other potential users to access and interact with it in a controlled way (to protect data security and integrity) for input and retrieval of relevant data. A web-based database management system gives potential for greater sharing and more use to be made of the recorded data. A demonstration system was developed using MySQL with a PHP interface to improve usability, accessibility and facilitate more efficient and consistent data input. The design offers an additional enhancement by incorporating a means for weighting teaching workload objectively to reflect hours actually required in delivering a unit rather than simply student contact time, thereby allowing for fairer and more balanced workload allocation. Fair representation of workload is a recurrent issue in systems examined both inside and outside the university. Although some limitations with the database management system were revealed, it is concluded that the system provides the basis of a viable and more flexible solution than at present and opens up possibilities for extending use. Although individual departments have developed their own systems, a number of parallels are apparent from those examined and in principle the proposed solution could be a model for a university-wide approach.

    Item Type: Dissertation
    Departments/Research Groups: Faculty of Technology > School of Computing
    Depositing User: Jane Polwin
    Date Deposited: 03 Aug 2011 11:08
    Last Modified: 28 Jan 2015 11:41
    URI: http://eprints.port.ac.uk/id/eprint/4349

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