DESIGN AND IMPLEMENTATION OF SECURE ONLINE FORUM FOR STAFF AND STUDENT

Postgraduate

           Introduction

This  present era has been termed to be an information age, an age where the demand for information has dramatically increase, the internet has been the most useful place for getting information nowadays, the use of search engines is one of the most useful, the internet is not just used for getting information but for also socializing and exchanging ideas and information, this has led to the development of several software and applications, ranging from the development of online communities and interactive applications.

Since information and privacy is very vital as it involves some secrets, strategies or ideas, there have been need to protect information from being violated or exposed. This introduces use to the need for a secured online  forum, Luke et al. (2003)defines Security as the degree of protection against danger, damage, loss, and criminal activity. Security as a form of protection structures and processes that provide or improve security as a condition, here security mechanisms, policies and privileges can be enforced. This chapter introduces the idea, purpose and objectives of our thesis and further gives an overview of the project.

 

      Background of Study

      The recent growth in computer networks and more specifically, the World Wide Web (WWW) has given rise to communication, socialization and interaction between individuals via the internet. The internet  is been used for several purposes these days ranging from education, business and so on, one major area that focuses on individual interaction and communication is online forum.

An online forum, or message board, is an online discussion site where people can hold conversations in the form of posted messages.  They differ from chat rooms in that messages are at least temporarily archived. Also, depending on the access level of a user and/or the forum set-up, a posted message might need to be approved by a moderator before it becomes visible.

        Since information and privacy is very vital as it involves some secrets, strategies or ideas, there has been need to protect information from being violated or exposed. This introduces us to the need for a secured online forum, Luke et al. (2003) defines Security as the degree of protection against danger, damage, loss, and criminal activity. Security as a form of protection structures and processes that provide or improve security as a condition, here security mechanisms, policies and privileges can be enforced. With this, private posts can be enhanced and regulations can be applied. In other words will we design a secure student online forum.   

This present era has been termed to be an information age, an age where the demand for information has dramatically increase, the internet has been the most useful place for getting information nowadays, the use of search engines is one of the most useful, the internet is not just used for getting information but for also socializing and exchanging ideas and information, this has led to the development of several softwares and applications, ranging from the development of online communities and interactive applications. Some of these communities and interactive applications are included with live chat, instant messaging, forum and online calls. Information are surfed at every possible place, people are interested in sharing and obtaining feedback on their  research or who are interested in studying online communities of practice. In a case of a learning community, there are ways in which the community can leverage learning; one of such way is online forum which is our area of focus.

           Sylvia c. (2007) explains, an online forum is a type of interactive website for holding discussions and posting user generated content, usually each conversation has its own screen, with the original posting at the top, and responses listed in chronological order below. A sense of virtual community often develops around forums that have regular users, it is an instance of interactive web. Forums differ from chat rooms and instant messaging because forum participants do not have to be online at the same time, they suit short posts, which request a response from others. This online forum can enhance campus-based activities; opportunities to support existing campus-based activities will be explored. For example faculty learning communities and workshop that are supported through the learning could be supported and promoted through the forum, exchange of expertise and services with other forums.

            Luke et al. (2003) explains, one good way to get users to return to your site is to offer Web forum, these can be used for purposes as varied as philosophical discussion groups and product technical support. Web forums are sometimes also called discussion board or threaded discussion groups, the idea of a forum is that people can post articles or question to them and others can read and reply to their questions. Each topic in a forum is usually called thread.

            Over the years number of reported security breaches has increased, intrusions and attack have become more and more sophisticated and are very common nowadays, since information and privacy is very vital as it involves some secrets, strategies or ideas, there has been need to protect information from being violated or exposed. This introduces us to the need for a secured online forum, where security mechanisms, policies and privileges can be enforced. With this, private posts can be enhanced and regulations can be applied. However in online forum information and ideas can be shared, individuals who share in an interest in education research and practice can dialogue across disciplines, geographical borders, levels of expertise, and educational sectors. In other words new threads of discussion by posting articles can be started, viewing articles that have been posted, viewing the threads of conversation in the forum.