Another main componet of Microsoft Office suite is Microsoft Acces, a program for database management ideal for small and middle organizations, as well as personal use. Numeric data, dates, text, currency type, assertion and negation, boolean (true/false) and other items can be entered with Access. It is posible to design forms to enter and organize data using this application. Data files can be also created, and can be looked up from other programs. The access to information through this program is safe, easy and effective.
Access has a restriction: it only works with Windows operating system and, therefore, data transactions cannot be made.
The main purpose of Access online courses is to teach the program main components so that users can create and handle databases of different difficulty levels. There are some basic aims. Among them, the student will be able to:
have a good command of the concept of database and how it works
have a good command of the table and fields (store units)
design a database
organize tables on a database
make basic operations with tables
enter data through the keyboard
show data through reports (gathered information)
make forms and subforms to view, enter and change data on a table
handle basic tools to process data
make queries to a database, with the purpose of viewing, analyzing and changing data in different ways (for instance: selection query)
add images to a database
make automatic reports
use XML to organize data
use Active X to show data
create macros (instructions) to automate forms, reports and queries
use security methods for data
create related tables
create a control panel to move on the database
These contents are a sound training on Access, offering basic, intermediate and advanced level expertise. The basic level is targeted at people without previous knowledge on database management and has contents for a basic command of the program. The intermediate level implies making more complex functions, such as creating and printing reports and it is therefore targeted at people who have already acquired skills on this program. Finally, the third level implies teaching more complex operations including the use of programming language, security methods and creation of macros. In this case, students are required to have broad knowledge of Microsoft Access. By attending this type of training, students will be able to manage this program in all its versions (’97, 2000, 2002 XP and 2003).
The estimate duration of this type of course (including contents for three levels) is 36 hours, devoting 3 hours per week to it. The offered material usually emphasizes practical exercises, although a sound conceptual training is also offered for a full understanding of the actions taken. On the courses with tutor, students reinforce their learning through queries; in cases without tutoring, there are only model exercises and answers to take a self-test. Access learning costs vary always depending on the type of institution, course duration and contents, exercises included and type of certificate offered. Besides, there are many free courses on the Web, offering basic knowledge to use Access.
As regards testing methods, passing the partial tests and final exam is required to be awarded the certificate proving Microsoft Access command. Many education centers allow students to take only one global test on completing the classes for the contents corresponding to the three levels they are usually organized into. But if not all levels are completed, institutions require to pass the final tests of each stage before going on learning. As regards testing methodology, the practical aspect is mostly emphasized. Therefore, in this case, a standard global test includes exercises in which students must enter data of a hypothetical company, organize them, make reports, forms and subforms, filter information, make queries and also answer theoretical questions.
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