My first proper Data Management System

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At the company where I now work it turns out that everything is on paper. Yes, absolutely everything. It’s completely bonkers. Its ridiculously inefficient.

After working here for a couple of months I got a bit of a shock when I found out that I am meant to have been conducting two-weekly reviews with all my learners. This is the process that I am meant to follow:
– Every Monday morning go to the admin office
– Queue with all the other tutors to get all the learner files (ring binders) out of the filing cupboard
– Go through each file individually and find the ones that need a review this week and write them down
– Each morning, work out which learners are there and then go and get their file from the cupboard, one at a time
– Read through their previous reviews and then sit with the learner for about 20 minutes to go through and see which targets they have achieved and set up to 5 new targets for the next 2 weeks.

Ridiculously poor.

So, I’ve started working on a new system in my spare time, I’ve code-named it stukweb and its written in ASP and connects to a Microsoft Access Database. I’ve copied the project that I worked on for primary schools as my final year project at Brunel University so that I don’t have to re-write the whole user logon system. Mike who I worked with at Blockbuster Video gave me the idea of basing the logon system to be the same as HSBC internet banking which only just went live. Making it use random digits of the password was really difficult, but it works!

Screen-shot of the logon screen, almost completely un-changed after 5 years of daily use!

I’ve gone through all of the paper learner files and made learner records that store:
– Title
– First Name(s)
– Last Name
– Address (Line 1)
– Address (Line 2)
– Town
– County
– Postcode
– Home Telephone Number
– Email Address
– Emergency Contact Name
– Emergency Contact Relationship to Learner
– Emergency Contact Telephone Number
– Ethnicity
– Length of time unemployed
– Referral Date (when the learner details are received on the fax)
– Projected Start Date
– Actual Start Date
– Projected End Date (automatically calculated to 13 weeks after Start Date)
– Actual End Date
– Tutor ID (comes from the users table)
– Date of last review
– Reason for leaving status

This way, I have a list of my learners, and I know who is due a review in the coming week so I don’t need to ever go search the files ever again.

It also records all reviews in the database as well when I press that I have undertaken a review and shows the actions and status of each so that actions can be automatically carried forward. I also have made a nice printable version that looks identical to the Word version so that the administrator, Joe, will never know.

I’ve turned my desktop PC into a server by installing Windows Server 2000 on it, and thus I can host the system on my PC. Gitesh and I are already using it for the IT department and its making our lives so much easier and saving so much time!

I’ve also changed the title of the project to STUKDMS (Data Management System) as it reflects what it does, it manages all of the learner data.

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