Activity Diagram: The Flow of Activities and Actions of “MeetingOfMinds”

Activity diagrams are probably the most important UML diagrams for doing business modeling in software development, it is generally used to describe the flow of different activities and actions. These can be both sequential and in parallel. They describe the objects used, consumed or produced by an activity and the relationship between the different activities. [1]

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A Vision for ‘MeetingofMinds’

Our vision is to create a social network which encourages mutually beneficial networks for the research community. This will start from the earliest point of a researchers career, supporting them through the stages of post-graduate education, and then onto a career in professional research.

Designing a Social Network for Todays World

Our site will be preferred by our targeted user groups  because it is perceived as highly trustworthy and useful to them.

As a type of matching site, it will support optimal stable student-supervisory matches, and as a social network it will also offer a number of other options/benefits to student and academic users.

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Business Model Canvas

Business Model Canvas was first introduced by Alexander Osterwalder. It is a tool to help people understand a business model in a structured way. What business model canvas does is enable people to rapidly sketch out the key elements of the business as well as see how different perspective of business is interrelated.

This tool is not widespread only among start-ups, but it is getting more and more popular among SMEs and marketing experts as well.

The 9 Building Blocks of business model canvas

These blocks explain different components, players and functional correlation. The model demonstrates as a figure below.

Source :

1. Customer Segment – The target customers that companies plan to offer value with services or products. The model may define small or large customer segments. A company needs to decide which segment to severe and which to ignore. Once a company made this decision, a business model can be circumspectly designed around an understanding of specific customer needs.

2. Value Proposition – This section is generated to describe how customer segment will value and differentiate the company from competitors.

3. Channels – The organisation deliver value proposition through communication, sales channels and distributions.

4. Customer Relationship – How do organisation plan to maintain strong relationships with customer segments.

5. Revenue Streams – There are two types of Revenue Streams that a business model can be involved: transaction revenue and recurring revenues. It illustrates how will revenues be brought from target customers by value proposition.

6. Key Resources – The assets required to run the operations of the company effectively.

7. Key Activities – The essential processes that make the business successful.

8. Key Partnership – Partnerships matter since some activities are outsourced and can be obtained through networking with people outside the organisation.

9. Cost Structure – All of the costs associated with a business.


Business Model Canvas of Meeting of Minds

Use Case Diagrams: The Main Functions of “MeetingOfMinds”


Use Case diagram is the useful UML diagrams especially for highlighting the functions of the system, different roles  and how these roles interact with the system. Hence,it aims to present the high level view of the system particularly for stakeholders.

In the case of “MeetingOfMinds” application, we have three actors who are: Student, Professors and Administrator and each of them has different interface in which he will be able to interact with the application and use the services ( functions ) provided. We has used Smart Draw online tool to build the Use Case Diagrams for the “MeetingOfMinds” application. 

The following diagrams describe the four main functions of “MeetingOfMinds” application.

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Application Requirements

After identifying the application purpose and target group, based on these we developed a set of requirements that should be met on the application. But before the actual development of the software, we needed to decide what is essential for the first version of it [1] and what features are recommended for the future work. Thus, we chose to prioritize the requirements. We used the MoSCoW technique to do so. This way, we selected an appropriate set of requirements from the overall set in order to develop cost-effective software that respects its purpose. We, also, identified the desired or nice to have features in the future versions. A brief description of the MoSCoW technique we applied can be found below: Continue reading “Application Requirements”

An alternative business model of MOMs

Undoubtedly, the internet has reshaped nearly every aspect of our daily life. As the world has become more and more connected through the information and communication technologies advancement, web 2.0 was introduced. Since then, online social networks (OSN) and social network sites (SNS) have appeared as a major societal phenomenon in the latest decade. It is widely known that web 2.0 technologies are versatile and affordable. With web 2.0, the services provided by the networks are conditional on content that users create. Moreover, web 2.0 is allowing users with no experience and knowledge of programming language, for example, HTML, CSS and JavaScript to transform a read-only web to a read/write web.

Social network sites have permeated internet users in all generations, and turning to a significant communication tool, especially in the student communities as it enables students to deliver instructional content and provide opportunities to connect to other students and educational staffs. These days, the number of social network site and its user are increasing rapidly as we can see from famous social media platforms such as Facebook, YouTube and Twitter, these were launched in 2004, 2005 and 2006 respectively. In fact, three of them are new platforms, but they have already reached over millions of users, besides, their valuation is counted in billions of US$. This is an astonishing development which cannot be found in any other line of business. According to those mentioned above, it demonstrates the power of network effects, where the benefit of individuals depends on the usage and presence of the network by others.

In an early age when the internet first boom, the common way businesses endeavoured to make money on the traffic was used to display or text advertising. As well as others, the Facebook business model from the beginning was based on monetising of the social network that has been generated. The number of users was more significant than an interaction between brand and a user. Consequently, Facebook could not make enough money from advertising service even though several advertisers spent their money on advertising. Therefore, Facebook changed and modified its business model in 2009. In early 2009, Microsoft turned into the exclusive provider for Facebook standard banner ads using the Microsoft ad Centre platform together with Microsoft’s digital advertising solution. Afterwards, during the late 2009 Facebook became less dependent upon the deal with Microsoft. They established to make money on their new experimental advertising efforts as well as through sales of third-party brands. Even though Facebook has proved that this revenue model works well for their business as it became the no.1 SNS advertised on ranked by display ad impressions in the US, some argue that a business model based on advertising still has some weaknesses, linked to the customer behaviour.

A supplementary source of income of Facebook can come from selling users’ information to advertisers. Obviously, there is privacy issue implicated. Nonetheless, from their aspect users’ usage patterns and information on users can be made anonymous and still comprise of high value to advertisers.

Social Network can be categorised as multi-sided platform business model. According to Jun Loayza (president of, there are five unique business models for social media: freemium, affiliate, subscription, virtual goods and advertising. These five revenue models are far better than monetising from just advertising. As an academic social network (ASN), Meeting of Minds aims to assist students to share common academic interests, profiles, preferences together with their historical studies. Furthermore, we are strongly concern about users’ privacy, so, that makes our business model different from the typical ones. Our business model will be drawn as a combination between affiliate model and advertising model because affiliate model does not require a large number of fund available, therefore, we as an affiliate marketer only need to develop our website and use it as the main advertising source. The advertising model is an online standard business model which sites can sell advertisement against the traffic. Indeed, all of these models will be done without tracking and storing private information of MOMs users.

However, an only business model cannot hit the nail on the head; thus business model canvas is used in order to fill the gaps and help us to estimate risks in investments. The business model canvas of Meeting of Minds will be illustrated in the next entry.

Team Meeting on the 18th April 2018

A.Next Steps

Nina took the team through the information she had collected (through a literature review) on potential users perceptions and demands.  She had summarised this information as a blog post and also started to build the presentation for the Dragons Den with these findings.  Others in the team would now add to the Dragons Den presentation.

The team would now break into two groups:

  1. Ema and Kholoud working on the design (Supanoot was also happy to provide support in designing mock ups).
  2. Supanoot (with support from Nina) on the business plan and marketing.

Each group needed to identify what blogs they were going to produce – and  to circulate an email to the team setting out these blogs.  Continue reading “Team Meeting on the 18th April 2018”

Encouraging the Online Creation of Knowledge

There have been a number of models of digital literacy over the last couple of decades.

Groupings by Usage

In 2001, Prensky suggested that younger people thought and processed information in fundamentally different ways compared to older generations.  He suggested that younger people (pre 1980s) were ‘digital natives’ and ‘speakers’ of the new technologies, while older people were ‘digital immigrants’ who were able to learn and use the new technologies, but not in the same intuitive way.  But this dividing of generations has not been borne out by research (Helsper and Eynon, 2009), and more recent studies have been more nuanced. For example a recent study found that information search competencies have a high-level correlation with information literacy and a low-level correction with digital nativity (Çoklar, Yaman, and Yurdakul, (2017).

As a replacement for Prensky’s model, White and LeCornu (2011) suggested that the creation of Web 2.0 resulted in users behaving in either a resident-like fashion (using sites as social spaces for sharing and discussion), or visitors using the Web in a more instrumental way.  It would be expected (according to the Pareto Principle) that visitors would predominate over a small number of ‘noisy’ residents. Wright, White, Hirst, and Cann, (2013) found that there was evidence that the visitor and resident model could be used to map student attitudes to academic use of social networks.

creative commons image taken from

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