Database Design For A Careers Advice Center Computer Science Essay

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The objective of this project is to use multimedia format to deliver careers services such as good CV writing tips, sample CV, video of mock interviews, and video of a day in the life of a profession (eg a Day in the life of a business analyst, or a day in the life of a project manager) over the internet.

The aim is to give the users a better understanding of the careers advice been given and also for them to gain firsthand experience on what it is like to be in situations like interviews, assessment centers, working in organizations. It is also aimed at providing access to information and instruction to users who need careers advisory but cannot get to a careers office at that point. It enables such users to have access to careers information from their homes, work places and other remote areas. It will also provide information to users that have problems making a decision on what profession to take up.

The best way to provide these images is by the use of a combination of texts, images, videos and sounds etc.


The contributions of this work are as follows:

A research on careers advisory and the different ways of providing such service.

A design of the proposed system.

An implementation of a prototype of the proposed system.

More To be added when project is completed

Outline and Organisation

To be completed when project is completed

Chapter Two



Multimedia is typically referred to as graphics, animation, sound, video and texts. Multimedia can be defined in so many different ways. A professor of psychology, at the University of California, Santa Barbara, Prof Richard Mayer defines multimedia as presentation of content that relies on both text and graphics.

Mao Neo and Ken T. K. Neo, faculty of Multimedia at University in Malaysia defined multimedia as the combination of various digital media types, such as text, images, sound and video into an integrated multisensory interactive application or presentation to convey a message or information to an audience. This definition takes into consideration the fact that the various digital media types are combined to produce a multimedia presentation.

Multimedia Learning, over the years has gained a lot of relevance. It has the potential to widen the amount and type of information that is available to users.

One of the most important ways of cognitive psychology is to fully understand how technologies like multimedia can be used to encourage student learning. According to a cognitive theory of multimedia learning (Mayer, 1997), the learner possesses a visual information processing system and a verbal information processing, such that auditory narration goes into the verbal system whereas animation goes into the visual system. Mayer (1997) explains that in multimedia learning, the learner take on three key cognitive processes. The first one is selecting. This is applied to inward verbal information to yield a text base and is applied to incoming visual information to yield an image base. The second process is organizing. This is applied to the word base to produce a visual based model of the system to be explained and is applied to the image base to produce a visual model of the system to be explained. The third process is integrating. This happens when the learner develops connections between corresponding states in the verbal based model and the visual model. This model has generated five major principles on how to make use of multimedia presentations to help students in understanding. These principles are subject to further additional research.

Multiple Representation Principle: It is better to present an explanation in words and pictures than solely in words. This first principle basically explains the need to represent an explanation using two modes of representation other than just one mode. A good example which is used to explain this first principle is the research on students who listened to a narration explaining how a bicycle tire pump works while also watching the corresponding animation. This generated double the amount of useful solutions to the following problem solving transfer questions than the students who listened to the same narration without watching the animation (Mayer & Anderson, 1991, 1992). Also students that read the text containing captioned image placed near the related words generated about 65% more useful solutions on a subsequent problem-solving transfer test than those who simply read the text (Mayer, 1989; Mayer & Gallini, 1990).

From this research, we can conclude that when students are given multimedia explanations, they put up a verbal presentation and a visual presentation of the multimedia explanation and make associations between them.

Contiguity Principle: When giving a multimedia explanation, present corresponding words and pictures contiguously rather than separately.

This second principle considers the fact that students better understand an explanation when related words and pictures are presented at the same time than when they are presented separately. A good example using the same research on the bicycle tire pump, students who listened to the narration while also are viewing a corresponding animation generated 50% more useful solutions to the questions that followed afterwards than students who viewed the animation before or after listening to the narration (Mayer & Anderson, 1991, 1992; Mayer & Sims, 1994). Also students that read a text explaining how the tire pumps function that included captioned illustrations placed near the text generated about 75% more useful solutions on the problem solving questions that came afterwards than those students who read the same text and illustrations presented on separate pages (Mayer, 1989; Mayer, Steinhoff, Bower, & Mars, 1995). The outcome of this research proves that related words and images must be combined at the same time in order to aid the production of referential links between the words and images.

Split-Attention Principle: When giving a multimedia explanation, present words as auditory narration rather than as visual on-screen text.

This third principle focuses on the fact that words should be in auditory presentation rather than visual presentation. A good example used to demonstrate this principle is the research about some students who viewed an animation depicting the formation of lightning while also listening to a corresponding narration generated approximately 50% more useful solutions on subsequent problem solving test than those students who viewed the same animation with corresponding on-screen text consisting of the same words as the narration (Mayer & Moreno, in press). We can conclude from the result of this research by Mayer & Moreno that presentations made using on screen text and animation alone can overload our visual information processing system.

Individual Differences Principle: The foregoing principles are more important for low knowledge than high-knowledge learners, and for high-spatial rather than low spatial learners.

This forth principle focuses on the fact that multimedia effects, contiguity effects, and split-attention effects strongly depend on individual differences in the learner. A good example used to elaborate on this principle is a research which shows that students who lack prior knowledge tended to show stronger multimedia effects and contiguity effects than students who possessed high levels of prior knowledge (Mayer & Gallini, 1991, Mayer, Steinhoff, Bower & Mars, 1995).

The cognitive theory of multimedia learning has shown that when students are reading a text and they have prior knowledge of what they are reading, they tend to generate their own mental pictures.

The theory also shows that students with high spatial ability can grasp visual image in visual working memory. They are also likely to gain from contiguous presentation of images and words.

Coherence Principle: When giving a multimedia explanation, use few rather than many extraneous pictures and words.

This fifth principle focuses on the fact that students can learn a lot better when given a coherent summary which places interest on the important words and images than from a longer version of the summary. A good example used are students who read a passage explaining the steps in how lightning forms along with corresponding illustrations generated 50% more useful solutions on a subsequent problem solving transfer test than those students who read the same information with additional details inserted in the materials (Mayer, Bove, Bryman, Mars & Tapangco, 1996; Harp & Mayer, 1997).


Defining a database from first principle; a database is a computer system which contains lots of organized information. Information is stored and organized using a database system. The database system also helps in getting information from the database.

Connolly and Begg defined a database as a shared collection of logically related data and its description, designed to meet the information needs of an organization.

Types of Database Model

There are three main types of database models. These are the Hierarchical database model, Network database model and the Relational database model.

The Hierarchical Model: This model is similar to a file system. The model presents an architecture where data is organised in a tree like structure with one or more children in the hierarchy referencing the patent. It was widely used in the early database development and is used in XML document. The advantage of this model is that it creates a very fast data access path. On the other hand, it has the disadvantage of very low flexibility and has very high application maintenance.

The Network Model: This model organizes data using records and sets. The record will contain the different fields in the database and the sets will contain the 1 - many relationships between the records. The network and hierarchical model have a lot of similarities. They both have a problem of rigidity in database structure and very high application maintenance cost which is a disadvantage for the network model.

The Relational Model: This is the most widely used model in building a database. This model came out in the 1970s and was first proposed by Dr. E.F. Codd of the IBM Research Laboratory as a way to better business data processing. The idea of the relational model is to make use of relations or two dimensional tables to organize and store data that is needed to support a business. The relational model makes database management systems more independent of any particular application.

As previously mentioned the relational model makes use of tables, attributes and relationships to store and organize data.

The table stores information about an entity (e.g. employee). This can also be referred to as tuples. A set of tuples in the relational model is referred to as a relation. The attributes of an entity are stored in columns and the actual instances of the entity are stored in rows. Every tuple in a relational database has a column that uniquely identifies the tuple. This is known as a primary key. In a relational database, the attention of a primary key can be drawn from another table. The primary key becomes a foreign key in that table.

For the design and implementation of the backend database for the multimedia careers advice center, the relational database model will be adopted.

Multimedia database

Multimedia database is a database that is made up of one or more media data types. These include one or more of the following: image, video, sound, graphics, texts. A multimedia database can also be defined as a database that hosts .mp3 media files, .txt files, .jpg media files etc. The multimedia database offers efficient storage structures and indices for the media data types.

In previous years, the importance of multimedia databases has been acknowledged. In 1995, the US Army and University of Maryland Institute of Advanced Computer Studies (UMIACS) organized workshops on multimedia information systems in Washington DC. A similar workshop was also organized by the same group in 1996 at West point, NY. In August of 2000, an IEEE International Conference on Multimedia and Expo (ICME) was held in New York City and it was realized that the area of multimedia databases is becoming one of the most active areas of research represented at ICME 2000. The IEEE Computer published a special issue (September 95, Vol 28, number 9) which was devoted to multimedia database involving images. Since then multimedia database has gained a lot of relevance especially in web based applications. Most web based applications have a multimedia backend database where the multimedia information is being retrieved from. This is not different in the case of a web based career advice center. The backend multimedia database in a web based career advice center stores such as the location of the multimedia data. These can be videos, pictures, audios, pdf files etc. The use of multimedia database can also be seen in the Vod (video on demand) technology and other video streaming web based applications.

World Wide Web

Intend to talk about the World Wide Web

Careers Advice

Intend to talk about careers advisory in general

Web based careers Advice

The use of the World Wide Web makes it easy for users to access information and instruction from their homes, work places, universities and other remote areas. This means that the use of the web for careers advice can be initiated by people who are using such information or service in a self-help method. Most times, their reason for accessing a careers site is to get information that will assist them in decision making and also to get information that will help them to understand what the different recruitment processes are.

Internet Text based careers Advice

Intend to talk about text internet text based careers advice

Web based Multimedia Careers Advice

Intend to talk about web based multimedia careers advisory

Careers Site Visited

The Queen Mary careers

The Queen Mary University has a very informative careers website. The site contains some multimedia images but they are not related to careers advice. Every careers advice information contained in the web site is text based. They have very interesting links to careers advice which will deliver a lot more message if it had multimedia images or videos. For example, there is a link "Making career choices" that has text based information which tries to encourage students that graduates of a particular field can work in a field entirely different from what they studied at the university. For example, Geography graduate working in computer programming company. Such message can be better passed across via multimedia videos. A type of video that will be suitable for such situation is a video of a day in the life of a Computer programmer.

The Prospects Website

The prospects website contains a large number of useful text based advice on job applications, selling your skills, application forms, example of questions that could be asked in an interview etc. Like earlier mentioned, these information would be easier to understand if presented in multimedia so that the users not just read it and try to picture the scenario, they see what it is like to be in such situations. An interesting thing in the prospect website is that careers advice given in the website is done according to subject (e.g. accounting and finance, Agriculture, Computer science/IT etc).

University of Oxford careers website

The university of Oxford careers website has a good number of multimedia information. It contains video of assessments centers, it also has video of graduates who are working in SMEs sharing their experiences in what it feels like to be part of a small company. It also has videos of making a successful interview.

Although a good and informative way of using multimedia to present careers information, this can be made better by adding more multimedia information such as presentations of how to develop a CV, video of CV clinics etc. The site presents its careers information in a generalized form and does not offer advice on specific job functions to enlighten users who wish to choose a career in these job functions.

Teesside University

The Teeside university has a very good careers advice website that arranges information according to the career/profession. This is a very good way of presenting such information. It makes it easier for the user to narrow their search to a particular field. The problem with this site is that it does not make use of multimedia format to present such information. It provides the information in text format thereby giving the users too many things to read.

Glasgow Caledonian University

The Glasgow Caledonian University careers website has quite a large number of multimedia information. Some of the information contained in it are videos on graduate programmes, videos of graduates working in SMEs, Videos of what to expect in an assessment center, videos and audios of mock interviews, tips on how to go about answering questions in an interview. The advantage of this site is that it gives the user a firsthand experience on what a real assessment center is like, it also prepares the user on what to expect in face to face or telephone interview. The site lacks some relevant careers advice information such as advice on creating a good cv. This feature can be presented in the video form of a CV clinic, where it talks about developing a CV in general and developing a CV which is tailored to some specific skills. The aim is for users to understand why and how they can develop a winning CV. Also the careers advice presented here are general information and not specific to a particular subject or profession.

Chapter Three

Technology and Applications


I intend to talk about the technology I will use to develop the web interface

Oracle 10g express

Oracle express offers a wide range of development and deployment infrastructure. It is built based on the oracle database 10g Release 2 code and it is compatible with Oracle Standard Edition One, Oracle Enterprise Edition, Oracle Standard Edition and every other member of the Oracle Database family.

Oracle Database XE supports the SQL and PL/SQL. It also supports a wide range of programming interfaces that help different development communities achieve their goal. Oracle Database XE supports full development and deployment for JAVA, .NET, PHP, HTML and windows developers.

Oracle Database XE is available on windows operating system and on 32-bit Linux operating system. It can be installed on any supported hardware platform. Oracle Database XE uses one dual core of processing capability. Its memory usage is below 1GB. It stores up to 4GB of user data. Oracle Database 10g supports grid computing by delivering computing power on demand, it also enable disk load balancing and data center management.

Requirements Specification

Functional Requirements

The system is basically divided into two.

1) The front end web interface

2) The backend database

The web interface

The web interface has a home page. The home page will have a brief description of what the website is all about. On the home page, towards the top right, will be a user login. Users can only login. There will be no option of registering because it is assumed that before you can use the service, you have to be a registered member of the institution.

The users of the system do not have rights to modify the information on the web interface or database. They can only read.

When a user logs in, a list of subject areas are displayed. Also displayed are links to videos on general things like "preparing for interview", "tips on good CV writing" etc.

The user can select a subject area of interest from the list of subject areas. Every subject area will have links of different career path that is related to that subject area (for example, a subject area computer science has different career paths such as information system management, software engineering, advanced web technologies etc), sample Cvs for that particular subject area. The different career paths will have videos of "a day in the life of that career path" (eg. A day in the life of an IT project manager or a day in the life of an information system manager).

Information such as sample Cvs, videos, sounds, pictures related to careers advice will be stored in the backend database.

The Back End database

The data base will be developed using Oracle Database 10g express. It will be a relational database.

The database will hold multimedia data types such as sounds, videos, texts, pictures etc.

The content of the database will be sample CV, videos of how to create a good CV, video of mock interviews, video of a day in the life of a career.

Non-Functional Requirements



Data deployment


Data Recovery


Compatibility with other applications

System Requirements

The system requirement for the design and implementation of this project is divided into two sections. These are system requirement for the database and the system for the web interface.

The database system requirement

As previously mentioned, the database management system used for the development of the database is oracle 10g express. The minimum hard disk space for oracle 10g express is 1.6GB for the server component and 75MB for the client component. It requires a Pentium 4 processor or CPU running at 1.8GHz or faster. The recommended ram size is 512MB. The compatible operating systems are windows 2000 (SP4), windows 2003 (SP1), windows XP pro (SP2), windows 7. For the development of this project, the operating system used is windows 7.

Architecture of the System

Chapter Four

4.0 Design and Implementation

During the design of the system, a lot of factors were taken into consideration. These include the relationship between the different tables, choosing the primary keys and foreign keys.


Mime type:


Identification of entities

The following entities have been identified for the design of the database. These are:

User: The user stores information about the users of the system. The types of information to be stored include login details of the user and other information required for identification of the user. It has attributes id, FName, LName, username, password.

SubjectArea: The subjectArea table stores a list of all academic subject areas. These subject areas are general background subjects and will have their different area of specialization i.e. career path. The subject area table has the following attributes: id, name.

Career_Path: The career_path table stores information related to all the possible career path that a subject area has. The career_path table has attributes id, subjectAreaID, and name.

CV: The CV table stores information on different on different types of sample CV. The sample CVs will be presented according to the related career_path. The CV table has attributes id, subjectAreaID, careerPathID, content (which will be of type Blob), mime_type. It has a primary key id and a foreign key career_path_id.

Audio: The audio table stores information of the different audio files in the database. This will include audio of mock telephone interviews, audio of face to face interview etc. the audio table has attributes id, subjectAreaID, career_path_id, content (which will be of type Blob), mime_type. It has a primary key id and a foreign key career_path_id.

Video: The video table stores information of different video files in the database. These include videos of mock interviews, videos of career assessment day, videos of day in the life of a profession (e.g. a day in the life of a software engineer). It will have attributes id, subjectAreaID, career_path_id, content (which will be of type Blob), mime_type. It has id as its primary key and career_path_id as the foreign key.

Picture: The picture table stores information related to the different pictures in the database. It has attributes id, subject_area_id, career_path_id, content (which is of type Blob), mime_type. It has id as the primary key.

Conceptual Design

Relational Schema

Physical database design


Problems encountered

Chapter Five

5.1 Future Recommendations

5.2 Conclusion