Monday, September 20, 2010


Designing the dater base

Teaching IT to international students provides me with constant challenges, not the least of which is keeping classroom fatalities to an absolute minimum.

Fortunately, years of teaching experience have equipped me with a giddying array of classroom strategies, the best of which is: keep it relevant to the students' interests.

For example, this week I had to teach Microsoft's Access database: the one part of MS Office that nobody, but nobody is going to use casually in everyday life.

Happily, I'd caught a few of the ladies looking for true love (a willing sap) online in a previous lesson, so I came up with a top exercise: design a database for an internet dating site.

I put some examples up on the board:

Username - text
Telephone number - text
Height (cm) - number

I warned my students against using "number" format for telephone numbers. I also warned them against including "weight" on their list of required fields - as if anyone would ever tell the truth.

I then left them to it for a few minutes before I wondered round and inspected their efforts. It proved a bit of an insight into human nature: several of the ladies had specified salary - number as a required field. Damn gold diggers.

I decided to check on one of the blokes. It wasn't much better.

Virgin - Yes/No

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