A number of powerful tools are available to help you build databases and database applications. However, if you do not apply a systematic, structured approach to the use of those tools, you will probably produce systems that fail to meet user needs. Many projects bog down or are never completed for lack of a disciplined approach to development.
This course will guide you step-by-step through all the phases of a system development project to guarantee that the resulting product will not only work as it was designed to work, but also that the design truly responds to user needs.
A new session of each course starts monthly. If enrolling in a series of two or more courses, please be sure to space the start date for each course at least two months apart.
All courses run for six weeks, with a two-week grace period at the end. Two lessons are released each week for the six-week duration of the course. You do not have to be present when lessons are released. You will have access to all lessons until the course ends. However, the interactive discussion area that accompanies each lesson will automatically close two weeks after the lesson is released. As such, we strongly recommend that you complete each lesson within two weeks of its release.
The final exam will be released on the same day as the last lesson. Once the final exam has been released, you will have two weeks to complete all of your course work, including the final exam.
Lesson 01 – Databases and Why They’re Necessary
Who can benefit from a database? Anyone who needs to store data and later retrieve meaning from that data. In this lesson, you’ll see where databases came from, explore the major types, and see how the various parts fit together.
Lesson 02 – Developing a Database System
This lesson will define and describe the major components of a database system. You’ll learn about the System Development Life Cycle, which practically guarantees the success of any database system you produce.
Lesson 03 – Building a Database Model
In this lesson, you will learn how important the non-technical portions of a development project are. You’ll see why it’s not enough to build a system that meets design goals–it also needs to satisfy the people who will use it. You’ll learn how to build an Entity-Relationship model that is based on a consensus of what all the stakeholders need.
Lesson 04 – Practical Considerations
This lesson will teach you how to find out what the client organization really needs from the development project–it may be very different from what they originally asked for! You’ll review the pros and cons of upgrading an existing system versus building a new one from scratch
Lesson 05 – The Relational Model
Relational databases are by far the most commonly used database type. They’re the most likely type of database that you will find yourself designing and using. In this lesson, you’ll learn the relational model: how to create relational databases that have the right combination of performance and reliability to meet your needs.
Lesson 06 – Using the E-R Model to Design a Database
This lesson is the pivot point of the course; you’ll learn how to translate the Entity-Relationship model into a relational model that you can implement directly as a database. A model that accurately describes the system you are modeling is your best guarantee that the system you deliver will perform as you need it to.
Lesson 07 – Implementing a Database Design with Access
In this lesson, you’ll move to the hands-on portion of the course. You will take what you have learned so far to build an actual database, using the popular Microsoft Access database management system. The database will track important information for a fictitious nonprofit organization.
Lesson 08 – Implementing a Database Design with SQL
In this lesson, you will learn how to build a database with the SQL language–a language that is supported by all relational database management systems. You’ll also learn how to protect it from accidental or intentional harm.
Lesson 09 – Building a Database Application Using Access
Databases store data. That’s important, but it’s not worth much if you can’t pick and choose the information you want to retrieve from the database. In this lesson, you will learn how to create a database application that will give users a turnkey tool for retrieving exactly the information they want with a minimum of hassle.
Lesson 10 – Database Security and Integrity
It’s more important than ever to ensure that your company’s organizational data does not fall into the wrong hands. This lesson teaches you how to control who accesses your data. It will also cover how to protect your data if your hardware fails or if some other unexpected disaster occurs.
Lesson 11 – Building a More Sophisticated Database Application
This lesson takes you to the next level—creating sophisticated database applications by combining code written with procedural languages such as Visual Basic, or C with SQL statements. It will go on to discuss how to make databases and database applications available on an organization’s network and on the web.
Lesson 12 – Database Development Essentials
This lesson emphasizes the critically important (but often overlooked) human aspect of a database development project. Your client may not have a clear idea of what they want at the outset of your database project. That means your communication and interpersonal skills are going to be just as important as your technical expertise. After you complete this final piece of the database puzzle, you’ll be ready to create database systems that truly meet the needs of your client organization.
Frequently Asked Questions
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Before enrolling, please review the following links and ensure that your computer meets these requirements.
Software must be installed and fully operational before the course begins.
Email capabilities and access to a personal email account.
Instructional Material Requirements:
The instructional materials required for this course are included in enrollment and will be available online.
Allen G. Taylor
Allen G. Taylor is a 30-year veteran of the computer industry. He has authored 28 books about computer-related subjects, including “Crystal Reports 2008 For Dummies,” “Database Development For Dummies” and “SQL For Dummies.” He has also taught computer courses for more than 10 years.