Shimmer, The Course Administrative Toolkit
by Kulawat Wongsaroj

System Specification

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System Specification

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I. Introduction 

A. Scope and purpose of document

This system specification document describes the function, performance and constraints of Shimmer, The Course Administrative Toolkit.

B. Overview

1. Objectives: What is Shimmer?

Shimmer, The Course Administrative Toolkit, is a tool for helping instructors in creating many kinds of web-based assignments, such as, signup for limited resources, vote counting or survey.

To help the instructor create a questionnaire-style assignment easily, Shimmer also provides Shimmer Builder GUI. The instructor can create assignments, change assignment properties, edit assignments by adding or removing answers or questions in assignments, view report, configure the using this builder.

After logging on the system by getting permission from authentication server, the student can view, do and submit the assignment via general web browsers and will get the submission result back in e-mail.

Shimmer is not only useful for the instructor but also anybody who want to manipulate web-based assignments easily.

2. Constraints: Constraints in Shimmer.

Platform Independence: Shimmer should be implemented in platform-independence fashion. However, Shimmer also has to call local authentication server to verify users; so, this requires authentication module to be modified for a particular platform. For example, current authentication system of EOS/Unity environment is Kerberos, which is implemented in Solaris.

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II. Functional and data description

A. System architecture

1. Architecture context diagram (ACD) of Shimmer

2. ACD description

There are two categories of user interfaces in Shimmer: participants and authors. A browser contacts with the system by passing authentication information of each user to the system. If the user is authenticated, the browser will be able to exchange information about assignment or report with the system. Another type of interface is builder. A builder is used to build assignment by exchanging assignment information with the system.

Shimmer also contacts with authentication system to verify users and pass e-mail info to mailer system to send e-mail to users. The last module in this diagram is an admin who configures all the system.

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III. Subsystem description

A. Architecture diagram specification

1. Architecture flow diagram (AFD) of Shimmer

2. System module narrative

3. Performance issues


4. Design constraints


5. Allocation of system components

  1. The browser sends assignment/report request along with user's login and password to the server. If authentication is failed, reject the request, otherwise, show assignment/report according to the request to the browser.
  2. The browser sends assignment submission to the server. Then the server checks if the submission is valid, write log, update database if it is needed and give the feedback to the user. The server may need to contact mailer to send e-mail if user's e-mail address is provided in submission.
  3. Builder reads/writes assignment information in database.
  4. Configurations configures the system by contact the server.

B. Architecture dictionary

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Contact: Kulawat Wongsaroj, E-mail: