Project Overview

Our mission is to develop a web-based application that supports documentation and data collection tasks relating to the ABET accreditation. The motivation behind our project is that even though Northern Arizona University's Computer Science department is ABET accredited, there is no organized way to keep track of all ABET related materials. Because the program has been and will be accredited for an extensive period of time, data collected throughout those years adds up to an enormous amount. Currently, all documentations are done manually, so our sponsors wanted to solve this dilemma by developing a software that they could use to manage and keep track of their ABET related tasks in an organized manner.

Project Sponsors

Dr. Eck Doerry
Department of EE/CS, NAU

Dr. James Palmer
Department of EE/CS, NAU

System Overview

Our system will provide users the following functionalities:

  • Create, assign, edit tasks
  • Schedule upcoming tasks
  • Task reminders
  • Uploading documentation
  • Archiving tasks

  • Why we need such system?

    In order for an institution to receive ABET accreditation, the institution must create courses and analyze the instruction results to make sure that they meet ABET guidelines, then go through a long process of documenting all of their activities. The problem with this deceptively easy model hides in the process of documentation and archiving them. The following example illustrates the hidden problem:

    Figure1: Vision to Objective

    A program has a vision statement. Objectives, or a program's promised goal to students, are derived from its vision statement.

    Figure2: Then the problem multiplies.

    Each objective is associated with outcomes. Each outcome has a set of associated measures that needs to be collected and archived. If there are N objectives, then this set is also multiplied by N, which yields a massive amount of tasks to be completed. This data collection needs to be done every semester (or quarter), for seven years just for one ABET accreditation cycle. This seven year cycle then repeated as long as a program is being accredited. Currently, this data collection and archiving is being done manually, but as you can see from the example above, this is not an effective way to handle this problem.

    Our Solution

    Our solution to this problem is to develop a task and document management system that a department and instructors can use to create, manage, and keep track of this massive ABET accreditation related materials, based on Web 2.0 technologies utilizing Google App Engine with Python and JavaScript backends.

    With this technology, we can achieve:

  • Flexibility
  • Scalability
  • Maintainability

  • Tools

    Languages and technologies

    The core of our system is written in Python with the Google App Engine. The front end is implemented with Javascript.

  • Google App Engine with Python:
  • GAE/J is a platform as a service (PaaS) could computing platform for developing and hosting web applications in Google's data centers, utilizing libraries, tools, and frameworks supported by Python.
  • Javascript:
  • A scripting language that is dynamic, weakly typed and has first-class functions, used to make web pages interactive.