Management Information System

By legs
Jun 5, 2007
  1. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Hi all
    I was wondering if I could get any advice from you nice people.

    I am going to apply to do a Masters in Information Systems Management and I am trying to come up with a topic. As I am a teacher, what I have in mind is a Management Information System for a school.

    Essentially what the system would have would be:

    1. Students own E-mail Accounts
    2. Printer Networks
    3. Shared Drive for Teachers to put notes on an Intranet

    I am not sure where to start. The idea is that every Student will have a user Name and password to log into computers in the school. Then they could access their files from any computer.

    I have been doing some research and what I think I have to do is:

    1. set up a database for students/staff.
    2. design a website for students to log onto e-mail
    3. set up a mini-network with a server and 3 or 4 clients

    I would have to source some software for setting up the email accounts and printer networks. I am told I can get some open source software for these. Anyone got any idea. Any help would be much appreciated...

    I think I posted this in other hardware forum by mistake............tried to delete it but don't know how...........sorry :-(
  2. k.jacko

    k.jacko TS Rookie Posts: 493

    Do you have a budget?

    Because, first off i would say:
    Windows 2003 server and create a Domain Controller
    XP pro on clients, put desktops on domain
    Data stored on server
    Exchange server for email
    Printers easily networked
    Clients access server and resources by logging in to their active directory account, thus allowing them to log into their profile from any desktop.

    This help?
  3. jobeard

    jobeard TS Ambassador Posts: 9,150   +597

    This is not a normal Windows Domain feature. Multiple concurrent users on the
    same system is far more typical of Linux/Unix, but are you skilled in that environment.

    Using Windows, the student files would need to be moved to a unique Shared Folder Per Student
    with personal passwords unique to each folder. The latter point requires multiple steps to step.
  4. legs

    legs TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Management information Sysems

    my field is Informatin Systems Management which didn't really involve alot of programming. The masters is a taught masters which will cover networking, database systems etc so I am hoping the learn as i go along.

    i have 2 years to design the system so I am willing to put alot of time and effort into this. I realise i have alot of learning to do. As regards a budget i have no idea. A number of schools are interested in the idea but i have no idea where to start as far as costing is concerned. would it be very expensive?

    the database and web site I will have no problem designing, its the other items, like printer networks, servers etc that i will need to read up on. Anybody got any ideas as to where I can start my research. Any good books or websites that will get me started. Would there be alot of programming involved do ye think? And what languages would I need to learn? I am hoping that i can the get the software for running the printer networks and E-Mail from open source software, is this possible?
  5. k.jacko

    k.jacko TS Rookie Posts: 493

    I don't know about open-source software mate. If so, then maybe linux would be your best bet (?)
    I'd still recommend the Domain Controller/server/exchange setup.
    No 'programming' is needed per se, just know how and experience.
    I maintain our network but have never actually installed a server. If you want to learn from a book, i hope you are a complete bookworm, because that would be hellish difficult.
    Printer networks aren't really anything fancy. AFAIC they are just printers attached to the network and setup so that users can print to them. No biggie really, unless they don't have nic's and you need to configure attachable print servers, even then its no big deal.
  6. jobeard

    jobeard TS Ambassador Posts: 9,150   +597

    this gives a single point of control for the login, but does not
    provide access to a specific students files from ANY computer.

    my prior comment
    >a unique Shared Folder Per Student
    may have limiting factors, eg maximum number of concurrent file shares

    let's get back to how the students will use the system; what programs will
    the students need access to, and how will they be creating, editing their files?
    what curriculum is being taught on the system? The point is, the student's needs
    will determine the client systems necessary.

    email services are available on any platform as is several DBMS and webserver systems (all Open Source).

    your 'programming efforts' should be limited to the webpages (all html and cgi programming)
    with lots of configuration management for each of the services you support --
    usually, there's an FAQ or a user group with which you can consult.

    Consider the Citrix product for terminal sharing on thin clients
    Dynamic Desktops (no, I'm not associated with Citrix in any way).
    I have no idea of the software cost, or the size of the server hardware necessary.
    This may be an overkill if the student population is low!

    new thought; issue portable USB devices to each student for their personal
    files and project data. these can be mounted on any system and therefore
    access to private data from everywhere is a non-issue.
  7. k.jacko

    k.jacko TS Rookie Posts: 493

    Ok, just so i'm not confusing myself as much as anybody else, lol.
    If we're talking secure shares or folders for each user then that can be set up in active directory. Have a 'home directory' set when you create a new AD account. That way only that user can access that specified folder. No matter what terminal they log in from, if they have roaming profiles or not.
    Terminal services is also a decent enough idea, with thin clients being pretty cheap nowadays.
    Virtual servers may also be worth looking at.
  8. legs

    legs TS Rookie Topic Starter

    First of all I would like to thank you both for your help and suggestions.

    Mainly the students would be using all the Microsoft Office Applications, Multimedia, CAD, Programming. At the moment there are approx 300 students in this school. At the moment they are using usb's but management would like to go down the line that alot of colleges are going down by providing students with user names and passwords and then letting them log onto their files from any computer in the building.

    As regards the printer network there are talks of using swipe cards, that every student would have to swipe a card before printing. (maybe that idea might be too ambitious :).

    For teachers, using the server, what would they have to do upload information to the system for all students to access. Can they upload information from any machine?
  9. k.jacko

    k.jacko TS Rookie Posts: 493

    Teachers just just log in as the students do, but with admin rights so they have access to more information/shares than students.
  10. jobeard

    jobeard TS Ambassador Posts: 9,150   +597

    right; Create a Facility folder and map it to all systems read-only.

    under XP/Pro, you can assign special priviliges to specific users, so
    the default would be R/O and facility members as R/W.

    to facilitate, place all facility in a unique GROUP and assign priviliges to the
    GROUP rather than each user :)

    ouch, can mount that many shares! students will need to mount there own manually and have the discipline to disconnect -- frought with issues :)
    understandable. Usb's also present a security risk.

    For 300 students, the Citrix solution is sounding quite viable.
    You only need a license for a max concurrent users (but can you be sure someone is not locked out?)
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