Choose-Survey project for Royal Holloway University of London

Technologies employed: Python, MySQL, PHP, SurveyMonkey RESTful API, LDAP, HTML/CSS, GCM (Google Cloud Messaging)/Firebase


Conceived by the Economics department and developed by Jamie Alnasir, Choose Survey is a survey delivery and respondent tracking system integrated with SurveyMonkey and the University's IT user authentication system. Choose Survey delivers university developed surveys to the user (targeted at currently enrolled undergraduate students) via an Android app and Wordpress derived mobile friendly site.

The project is hosted by Royal Holloway's Computer Science Infrastructure. Choose survey synchronises a locally stored metadata database with SurveyMonkey through their API system, and in conjunction with student login information from the university (utilising LDAP) facilitates user login and survey response tracking. This information is used for research purposes under an ethical remit and a gamification system is employed to act as incentive for students to complete surveys.


Architecture components:

Survey Sync (Python, MySQL, RESTful API) Connects to SurveyMonkey through their Restful API service. Reads JSON responses and incrementally populates the RHUL metadata db.
Wordpress is configured to authenticate users (Royal Holloway students) against the universty's IT system via LDAP, this ensures only users with valid student IT accounts may login. This is secured with SSL.
Survey Theme (PHP, MySQL) The "business logic" that is displayed to the user in the frontend app is built on a "mobile-friendly" Wordpress derived child theme. This derived "Survey Theme" contains the business logic and necessary PHP/MySQL to connect to the locally stored RHUL metadata db.
Survey App (Android, CSS) An Android app is a thin-client type frontend to the Survey Theme and is available for students to download on Google play store.
Admin Panel (PHP, MySQL, Javascript) Facilitates the University Choose-Survey team to manage meta-data and gamfication (the awarding of points/ incentive scheme).

Push notifications architecture implementing Google Cloud Messaging:

The Choose Survey system has been equipped with push-notifications using Google Cloud Messaging. The system integrates SurveyMonkey, the University's IT infrastructure and Google Cloud Services to allow the Choose-survey team to deploy notifications from Royal Holloway servers out to the student user base on Android. We are also currently planning roll-out for the iOS version of the app.

Push-notification alerts can be easily received from the app by students without having to log-in to the system and notifies enrolled students of project news and upcoming promotional events.


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