Using Microsoft Access to computerise and store information

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In this IT project I am going to use access to computerise and store the information in my faculty for my tutor who is the faculty head. This will make it much quicker and easier for my tutor to access and update information on all the students. She will be able to add new students to the class, edit students details (address etc) keep up to date with student progress etc. and to have a whole picture of her tutor group and their subjects and progress.

The project is based in Richmond Upon Thames College where my tutor – Kate Lane works as an IT and computing Teacher. She needs to keep up to date with the progress of all the students in her faculty so that she can monitor their progress and take any action if needed. In order to be kept informed with what her students are doing and how they are progressing she needs to have large amounts of information on each student on their subjects, grades, level of education, level of education (A level, GCSE) etc. This is difficult with paperwork and very difficult to make amendments and not very user friendly, as it is very tedious.

I have offered to put all this information on access to make it easier to store and keep up to date while also have the luxury of monitoring the students progress. I will need to make tables, quarries and report so that all the information that is required is interrelated and can be accessed by a click of a button. I will design relationships between the tables so that quarries can be made to view the appropriate information required from each table, instead of having to open up all the tables and taking information separately.

There is not currently a computerised, my tutor does things all by hand and everything is done using paper work. She has to collect all the information from the subject teachers and presses and analyse it by hand. With the help of this new system it will be easy for her to add and delete information on students grades and subjects so that she is constantly kept up to date, instead of having to rewrite everything by hand and making it difficult to relate information so therefore making it difficult for analysis.

Investigation In order for the system to meet the users needs an interview was arranged with my tutor Kate Lane and a list of topics was drawn up to discuss.From the interview a number of problems were realised with the current system, of manually doing the work. It was said that the old way of doing things was far too slow and time consuming, and many mistakes were made with the data. This needed to be corrected with the new system.

Also available for use at the college are Pentium PC running Windows 98 and a laser jet printer. The Windows system comes installed with Microsoft Office and includes all the major programs (Word, Access, Excel). Since all this is available to Kate Lane, and she is familiar with computers and their programs she has asked/recommended for me to design the new system in Access. She feels that a database would be the best way to tackle the problem as information can be gained quickly and efficiently and large amounts of data can be stored.

Problems with the current system Before every time when a students report was written or they had some other form of assessment Kate lane had to record these results and file them away for use in the future to compare the students progress in the different subjects in the future. As the time came round to review the students progress, a few weeks after each report Kate had to search through all the documents of all the students to find the information on the particular student that she was looking for, and often many of these documents got mixed up, which meant that even more time was wasted trying to sort out the mess.

Also every time some information had to be changed for a student about their course or grades, this meant lengthier searches and also the documents had to be rewritten to change the required information. Another thing was that it was quite difficult to find out different types of information on students as every type of data, such as student details, student subjects, current grades were all written on separate forms. This made it difficult for her to do enquires, such as the number of students in her class doing IT and what grade they are achieving as she would have to look at the student subjects form and the current grades form both together, having to analyse separately each form making it more difficult and prone to more mistakes being made.

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