UALR Academics Database Planning

I had a wonderful team on this project. Kelley Akins, Leana Henry and myself gelled well and got the work done.  Our task on this project was to design a PODS-WordPress Database that would be based in MySQL and PHP. Since we did not cover this information in the previous two semesters we were only charged with designing the structure of the database, not to actually build it. That comes later with a different group of students who are trained on how to work with such things.

Leanna Henry did an excellent job formatting our proposal to Dr. Kathy Oliveiro of the University of Arkansas at Little Rock (UALR) Office of the Provost who is in charge of the academics database web page that can be found at http://ualr.edu/academics/ our primary focus was to work on the undergraduate degree program list that can be found at http://ualr.edu/academics/index.php/home/programs/undergraduate-programs/ .

Kelley Akins built the visual representations of the database interface proposed to Dr. Kathy Oliveiro that we used in our proposal.  All three of us worked together to flesh out the proposal and hammer out the details of it.  I was very impressed with how well all three of us worked together and got the work entailed accomplished.

I volunteered to coordinate the email communications, coordinating and scheduling meetings between the three of us to work on the project and to meet with Dr. Kathy Oliveiro herself twice.  Once to get her wish list and a feel for what she wanted out of the database design project and the last meeting to review the written proposal that we submitted to her for approval.  Dr. Oliveiro stated that she was very impressed with the professional quality of our work and how she intended to take it to her work group and have it implemented.

The previous existing version of the UALR Undergraduate Degree Academics Program database was essentially an alphabetical list degrees offered by the university with links to the corresponding departmental websites for the student to further research the details of the program of study.  The major draw back on that is that very few of the UALR departments have the program list of classes easily listed.  The student has to hunt through several pages of information before they are able to locate this information.  We recommended that Dr. Kathy Oliveiro work with the Colleges of UALR departments to update their websites so that this information is more readily accessible.

I learned a lot about the differences between a single user access database such as Microsoft Access and a multi-user access database such as PODS in WordPress.  I did not know previously that an online database built in Access was limited to one user at a time.  I just took it for granted that all online databases were multi-user enabled, I was surprised when that proved not to be the case with Access.

I also learned through researching various other universities in America that many of them use the same alphabetical listing methodology for their academic programs databases.  The PODS in WordPress is a new element that is starting to be explored by universities such as UALR.

I pretty much used the skills I learned in the previous two semesters to build a Microsoft Access Database for a mockup to see how the relationships worked using a screenshot image and Adobe Fireworks to build a visual representation of the work flow to get a student started from the homepage to the degree program of interest.

To view our proposal to Dr. Kathy Oliveiro in the UALR Provost Office, please click on the PDF Link that follows: Academics Project Proposal