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(1) Introduction to Databases

A database is a collection of information organized so that a computer program can quickly retrieve desired pieces of data. A field is a single piece of information; a record is one complete set of fields; and a table is a collection of records.

(2) Managing School Data

Schools and colleges are dependent upon databases to maintain student records, finances, registration, teacher information, schedules, and many other things. Teachers input data into such systems through grade book programs and other teacher/administrator software. Teachers should also be able to use programs like Microsoft Excel to organize data and merge files.

  • Download the schools database file. Create mailing labels and form letters (3 suffices) using the mail merge feature in Word. This will serve as a data file (also known as secondary file) when merging with a primary document to make form letters, mailing letters, or catalog entries. Include only representative samples from your merges.

(3) Creating / Enhancing databases for your subject

Watch video - Constructing a database from scratch (21 minutes) - make sure to watch full screen!

Teachers use programs like Excel to manage and organize large sets of data.

  • Create a new spreadsheet or a new worksheet in an existing database file. For example, if you are a social studies teacher, you may wish to add a worksheet to one of the databases designed for social studies teachers. Your worksheet should include a minimum of 10 records and 5 fields and should include an autofilter for easy record selection. The material should be related to the subject you teach. Include a printout of your new database in your portfolio, and post the Excel file (.xls) in your electronic portfolio (if required by professor).

(4) Using web-based databases

A growing number of educational databases are available on the Internet. Teachers can use these databases without having to teach the mechanics of a program like Excel.