Sat, 07 Dec, 2019

DWIT School Site: An analysis

By Ankit Pradhan

Introduced to the college more than 14 months ago, school.dwit.edu.np is DWIT's official online college course site. The site has been labelled as "The School Site" by the members of the college. The college uses this site as a means of providing updates and information to its faculty, students and other official members about different college events, news, and course contents. DWIT is the first college in Nepal to be using such sites for academic purpose. The credit for its original development, however, does not go to the college since it evolved from open source codes. This open source site has application written in PHP programming language and can be considered to be reliable and secure since it is also used by many other colleges in the USA and different other countries.To add, entire database system for the site is maintained using MySQL Server. Initially, the site was hosted locally in the college and was administered solely by the Director of Academics of DWIT, Hitesh Karki. However, this caused the site to be frequently out of order due to variable reasons such as lack of power, resulting in server downtime and slow internet connection. So later, it was decided to host this site in cloud. With the assistance of Sanjay Dahal, IT Engineer from Deerwalk Services, the site was hosted in Amazon. The college uses two kinds of services from Amazon: EC2 (Elastic Computing 2) for RAM, CPU and all such works besides storage, and S3 (Simple Storage Service) for storage purposes.This initiative taken by college has enabled the school site to be active 24/7 and has prevented failure caused by server downtime. Nevertheless, users continue to face problems since the site runs slow. The college had increased the size of RAM and number of processor to address the issue but was not able to get rid of the problem entirely. Therefore, the college administration is planning to increase the size of RAM and number of processors again. The use of this site presents numerous benefits to the college. The site keeps a log of all the members who are using and have used the site, along with the records of time and duration of use and information about what each member did after logging in. This allows college administration keep up with activities in the classroom such as coursework, tests and assignment that are taking place in the classes and ensure the timely completion of courses. In addition to this, the site also offers benefits to the students and faculty members. The students say that it is easy for them to submit their assignments on the site and know about the deadlines of the assignments. Also, they rely on the site to know about the course details and upcoming events in the college. Moreover, the course teachers are able to determine any upcoming college events, and post and collect assignments of students easily through the site. The frequent use of the site by students, faculty and other official members of the college has enabled the college to know about deficiencies in the site easily. One deficiency which was noticed in the site was the lack of enough space for e-books. This insufficiency in the site was discovered by the students of Batch 2016 who are the most frequent users of the site. The college has decided to approach this issue and upgrade the site as soon as possible. In addition to this, lately a problem was detected on the site due to an error in the activity log setting.This allowed everyone to view activities related to the site such as, list of college members who have used the site, time and duration of use and so forth. However, this problem has been solved now. In addition to the school site, the college has other official sites as well, namely, Doko, the official blog site of DWIT, DwitNews and the DWIT college site. Being motivated by hosting the school site on Amazon, now, the college has started hosting all the other sites on cloud. Formerly, all these sites were being shared with the company, Deerwalk Services, by using up their space. This resulted in problems in the college sites whenever there was any problem in the company's sites. But now, cloud hosting has helped the college to exterminate such problems. Currently, the admin of all these sites is Hitesh Karki, and the technical part is being handled by some of the IT members of Deerwalk Services. But later, college is planning to handover the maintenance of all of these sites to DWIT students. Software Club of DWIT, which presently manages Doko, is in first priority to be given the responsibility to handle the sites. For additional information, contact: Shankar Khatri, President - The Software Club; Email: softwareclub@deerwalk.edu.np; Phone: 4-485424.