Online Computer Skills Study Guide
(This study guide is more comprehensive than the downloadable version)
What is a database? A database is an organized collection of related information.Things to think about:
- Unorganized information is meaningless and difficult to use. (Example: scrambled list of universities and their mascots.)
- Organized data is easy to understand. (Same example with mascots paired with their schools.
Print Databases that we are familiar with include:
- telephone directories
- address books
- encyclopedias and dictionariesComputerized Databases you may be familiar with include:
- NCWise (Student Information management System)
- Automated Card Catalog (Athena)
- CD-ROM EncyclopediasAdvantages of Computerized Databases
- Can find a specific file quickly
- Can alphabetize and sort data faster than most people
- Can filter/search for specific types of information
- Is an accurate as the data that is entered
- Can make many different types of reportsWho uses computerized databases in the real world?
- Stores use them to keep track of inventory
- Travel agents can keep up with their customers and reservations
- Hospitals track patient information.___________________________________________________________________________________________
Database: A database is an organized collection of information.
Database File: A database file is made up of related records in a database.
Field: A category of information in a database. An example of a field would be the street address category in a computerized address book.
Entry: Data that is in a field. An example of an entry would be the person's name or phone number.
Wildcard: A character in a search that permits any character to be specified. For example, the search
criteria al* will find Alabama, already, or Albert. Ion a database search, the asterisk (*) is the wildcard
character to replace one or more letters; the question mark (?) is the wildcard character to replace only
Multiple Criterion Filter: A database operation that displays records that meet several criteria
Connectors: Words such as and, or, and not that join certain conditions together when performing a
Operators: Mathematical symbols used in database filters(>) greater than
(<) less than
(=) equal to
(>) greater than or equal to
(<) less than or equal to When searching/filtering for text, it is often best to use the "contains" operator. This will allow you to key in the first several identifying letters, but not the whole word or words.
RELATIONSHIP -- The comparison of two pieces of information using logical operators: less than (<), greater than (>), equals (=), less than or equal to (=<), greater than or equal to (=>). Other comparison terms to look for are “at most,” meaning less than or equal to, and “at least,” which translates as equal to or greater than.
SEARCH -- The process of finding all records of a database that meet a certain rule, statement, or criterion. A search may be based on a single statement, rule, or criterion, or a combination of statements, rules, and criteria joined by AND, OR, and AND/OR. This process is also called a query or match in some database software programs.
SORT -- Arranging information in a specific order (usually ascending and descending).
- Ascending order: method of sorting data in order from lowest to highest (A-Z) or numerical order (0-9)
- Descending order: the opposite of ascending order. Example: Reverse alphabetical order
(Z-A) or reverse numerical is high to low (9-0).
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Keyboard Utilization • Desktop Publishing • Word Processing Vocabulary
ALIGNMENT -- How your text conforms to the left and right margins of a page. The text can be right-aligned, centered, left-aligned, or fully-aligned/justified.
BOLD -- A style of text that makes a letter or word darker and thicker to stand out in a document.
COPY -- To make an exact copy of information in your document, so you can place in order to duplicate it in a new location.
CURSOR -- This is where the action is located on your screen, represented by a flashing line. When you type on your keyboard, the information appears at the cursor.
DELETE -- A key used to erase characters.
DESKTOP PUBLISHING -- Using features of word processing/DTP software to format and produce documents, letters, reports, flyers, and newsletters with graphics.
EDIT -- To make changes in a document or presentation.
ENTER -- The key used to begin a new line in a word processor, or to enter information into a spreadsheet. It is the same as clicking OK in a dialog box.
FONT -- The shape and style of text.
GRAPHIC -- Images/pictures created, edited, and/or published using a computer.
HIGHLIGHT/SELECT -- To choose part of a document by clicking and dragging over it with the mouse to highlight the text.
HOME ROW -- Keys on the keyboard with fingers of the left hand are on A-S-D-F and fingers on the right hand on J-K-L-;
INDENT -- To set the first line of a paragraph in from the margin in a word processing document.
LANDSCAPE -- The page setup that permits a document to be printed in a horizontal position.
LINE SPACING -- The span between lines of text. (Reports are typically double-spaced. Business letters have single-spaced paragraphs with double space between the paragraphs.)
NUMERIC KEYPAD -- The portion of a keyboard, set up like an adding machine or calculator used to enter numbers and equations quickly into the computer.
PAGE SETUP -- The term in reference to the way a document is formatted to print.
PASTE -- To insert the last information that was cut or copied into a document. Cut and paste can be used to move information within or between documents.
PORTRAIT -- The default page setup that prints the document vertically.
PRINT -- To put what is on the computer screen on paper. It creates a paper copy of the document created on the computer.
RETRIEVE -- Open a saved document.
SAVE -- To store information on a floppy disk, hard drive, flash drive, or CD for later use. (Work should be saved often, every 5 or 10 minutes, to make sure your latest changes are safely recorded.)
SAVE AS -- To save a document with a new name.
TEXT -- the written or printed material, which forms the main body of a document or file.
THESAURUS -- A feature in most word processors that suggests synonyms for a chosen word.
WORD PROCESSING -- Using keyboarding skills to produce documents such as letters, reports, manuals, and newsletters.
WORD WRAP -- This occurs when you get to the end of a line and as you continue typing, the text will automatically move to the next line.
WYSIWYG -- WYSIWYG is an acronym for "What You See Is What You Get" and is pronounced "wizzy wig." WYSIWYG simply means that the text and graphics shown on your screen exactly match your printouts.
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MULTIMEDIA is defined as any presentation or program that combines two or more types of media, such as graphics, sound, video, animation, and/or text. Two of the most popular forms of multimedia that students are familiar with are video games and Internet web sites. Programs that you might have used to create a multimedia presentation are Macromedia Flash, Hyperstudio, and Microsoft PowerPoint.
LINEAR PRESENTATION -- A story or presentation where each event occurs in certain order. This type of presentation that has a beginning and an end. Linear presentations move in a straight line, either forward or backward.
NON-LINEAR PRESENTATION – Navigation in this type of presentation is based on choices listed in a menu on a storyboard. The Hyperstudio screen shot above shows a variety of buttons that links the user to different parts of a presentation. A user might jump from screen 1 to screen 5 to screen 3, based on the menu items and choices made.
BUTTONS – Similar to links; can be found in Hyperstudio and PowerPoint presentations, as well as webpages..
CREDITS – Refers to the creator and/or sources of information used in a multimedia presentation.
LINKS (also known as HYPERLINKS)-- Connectors that link web pages, cards, images, or words together and allow a viewer to move through a presentation.
PRESENTATION -- An oral report that may include audio, text, graphics, and the use of presentation software application such as Flash, Hyperstudio, PowerPoint, or even an internet browser.
RESIZE -- Resizing has two different software-related meanings. The first is simply making a graphic to be used in a document larger or smaller by adjusting the height and/or width. In this case you often "grab" the "resize corner" and move it to adjust the size. In digital photography, resizing generally means reducing or replicating pixels to make the filesize smaller or larger. For multimedia presentations, small filesizes load quicker and do not take as much storage room. For print photography, the user generally wants a larger filesize to ensure a clear image in print.
STORYBOARD -- A graphic organizer or set of drawings used for planning a multimedia presentation. All of the aspects of the presentation such as graphics, sounds, content, and navigation are preplanned on a storyboard.
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Societal · Ethical Issues Vocabulary
ACCEPTABLE USE POLICY (AUP) -- A set of rules and guidelines that are set up to regulate Internet use and to protect the user.
ANTIVIRUS SOFTWARE -- An application designed to search for viruses and repair files on a computer.
COMMERCIAL SOFTWARE – Application software designed to be sold for a PROFIT.
COMPUTER VANDALISM -- The intentional act of destroying computer files or computer networks.
COPYRIGHT -- Law granting a legal right to a copyright holder or author which requires their permission to make non-archival copies of the work in question.
FAIR USE AND MULTIMEDIA GUIDELINES -- The fair use doctrine provides educators with the right to make reasonable copies of copyrighted materials without specific consent of the author for purposes of criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching, scholarship, or research. The guidelines permit the use of copyrighted works in teaching, if certain factors are considered, including: the purpose and character of the use (commercial vs. educational), the nature of the copyrighted work, the amount of the work copied in relation to the work as a whole, the effect of use on the potential market for or value of the work.
CPU -- The main chip that allows computers to do millions of calculations per second and makes it possible for users to write letters and balance your checkbook.
EMERGING TECHNOLOGIES -- Technologies that are new and in the developmental stages; not in widespread use
FIREWALL -- Technology that prevents users from visiting inappropriate web sites, and protects the network from unauthorized users.
FREEWARE -- Software written and then donated to the public, so anyone is free to copy it and share it with their friends. Ownership of the software is retained by the owner/software developer who may choose to charge for future releases of the software.
HACKER -- An unauthorized person who secretly gains access to computer files.
HARDWARE -- Part of the computer system such as a keyboard, screen, mouse, joystick, printer, speakers, etc.
MONITOR -- The device with a screen used to show computer images.
MOUSE -- A tool used to move the cursor and pointer around the screen.
NETWORK -- A system of connected computers that allows the sharing of files and equipment. There are two types of networks: local area network (LAN) and wide area network (WAN).
ONLINE SAFETY -- Precautions taken to protect personal information and images from being misused by others.
OPEN SOURCE SOFTWARE – Application software for which the underlying programming language is open for others to access. This allows the program to be changed by other programmers to meet other needs of the users. (This is the opposite of proprietary software.)
PASSWORD -- A code for the security protection to allow access to a computer or the computer programs.
PRINTER -- A hardware device used to make a paper copy of what is created on the computer.
PROPRIETARY SOFTWARE – Application software for which the underlying programming language is protected by the software developer/owner so that others cannot modify it for other purposes. (This is the opposite of OPEN SOURCE software.)
PUBLIC DOMAIN SOFTWARE-- Software written and then donated to the public. The software developer does not retain the right of ownership. (Freeware and Public Domain Software are similar in that they are both free. The ownership of the copyright determines the difference. With Freeware, the developer retains the ownership rights, but with Public Domain Software, the ownership rights are given to the public.)
SECURITY -- Protection of computer, computer files or a computer network from use without permission of the owner or owners.
SERVER -- A special computer used to store programs and files, and then sends it out to other computers one or all at a time.
SHAREWARE -- Software that can be tried before you purchase.
SOFTWARE/APPLICATIONS -- Programs that allow you to accomplish certain tasks such as write letters, analyze numbers, sort files, manage finances, draw pictures, and play games.
SOFTWARE LICENSE -- Also known as End User License Agreement (EULA). The software license is a legally binding agreement that states how one who has purchased the rights to use software, can legally use the software. (Single user license, classroom license, and site licenses are all examples of various software licenses.)
STANDALONE COMPUTER -- A computer that does not rely upon any other computer or server to work.
TROJAN HORSE – Malicious software that is disguised as a useful application. It is sometimes called a "backdoor virus," though it is not technically a virus.
VIRUS -- Software program that is designed to damage files on a computer that receives it. The virus spreads from file to file on a single computer, and does not intentionally try to move to another computer. It must replicate (reproduce) and execute itself to be defined as a virus. Since the virus reproduces itself, it can spread to other application and operating system software. Some viruses cause little or no damage (they are more of a nuisance because they place messages on the monitor, etc); however, other viruses can destroy the hard drive and render the computer unusable.
WORM -- Malicious software code that is designed to copy itself and intentionally move from computer system to computer system, via networks, internet etc. Unlike a true computer virus, a worm does not need a host file to move from one computer to the next; therefore, worms can spread more rapidly than viruses. Worms always harm the network (if only by consuming bandwidth), whereas viruses always infect or corrupt files on a targeted computer.
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Spreadsheet Vocabulary and Helpful Information
Spreadsheet: A grid of rows and columns containing numbers and text that allows the user to manage, predict, and present information. An electronic spreadsheet is a computer application program that can also hold formulas in a cell that serve as a calculator. These formulas allow the electronic spreadsheet to perform calculations much faster and more accurately that spreadsheets created with pencil, paper, and calculator. An electronic spreadsheet is a computer application program that can also hold formulas in a cell that serve as a calculator. These formulas allow the electronic spreadsheet to perform calculations much faster and more accurately that spreadsheets created with pencil, paper, and calculator.
ROWS go horizontally--a side by side layout of boxes
COLUMNS go vertically--an up and down layout of boxes
CELL--the block created where a column and a row intersect each other
CELL ADDRESS--the location of a cell on the spreadsheet
FORMULA BAR or DATA ENTRY BAR--the bar at the top of the spreadsheet used to enter
data into the cell that you have selected
CELL RANGE—a group or block of cells in a spreadsheet. Operations can be performed on a range of cells. The range highlighted below is B3 through D4. It is written as B3:D4
Points to remember about spreadsheets:
There are 3 types of data that you can enter into a spreadsheet--
VALUES, LABELS, and FORMULAS.
- VALUES are numbers (like in cell B4);
- LABELS are text (like in cell A5); and
- FORMULAS are mathematical calculations (like what is
in the data entry bar to get the answer for cell E4)
One of the main uses of spreadsheets is to forecast or to predict! Spreadsheets are often used to answer “WHAT IF...” questions.
PERFORMING CALCULATIONS IN A SPREADSHEET:
- Formula: Arthmetic equation with symbols(+-*/) for mathematical operations: A3+B3-C3*4
- Function: Functions create shortcut formulas for the user: Sum (auto addition) and Avg (auto averaging of numbers).; A special formula that does not use operators to calculate a result
- Operand: a number, cell reference, or field name used in a calculation in the formulas of spreadsheets or databases; in a database the operands are field names.
- Operator: Tells the spreadsheet software what to do with the operands in a formula.
- Order of Operation: The sequence used to calculate the value of a formula. (Follow the same rules as in math class.)
Order of Operations
- All formulas begin with an equal (=) sign. No exceptions!
- When a formula is written, many times a cell’s address is used rather than the value (number) in it. If a number changes, then the formula automatically recalculates the answer.
- Use the following symbols as operators:
- + add - subtract * multiply / divide
Johnny has the following grades and wants to know his average:
The formula for cell E1 would be:
The parentheses indicates order of operation—add up the cells first, then divide by 4 (the number of grades)
=AVG(A1:D1) This formula tells the computer to average the cell range from
A1 through D1.
Can answer, "What is? " (determines current information)
Can answer "What if?" (predicts future events/information)
Various Uses for Spreadsheets
Scatter Chart (Note that you probably will not need to know about scatter charts for the Computer Skills Test)
- Sometimes called XY charts
- Show the relationship between two categories of data.
- One category is represented on the vertical axis and the other category is represented on the horizontal axis.
- The result is a "cloud" of data points that may or may not have a recognizable shape.
- It is not practical to connect the data points with a line because points on a scatter chart usually do not relate to each other.
Steps to create a chart (This is general information. In the Computer Skills Test follow the question's directions carefully. Not all of these steps may be required for your chart. If you do one of the steps below, such as labeling the axes, and are not instructed to do it on the test, your answer may be considered wrong.)
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Telecommunications · Internet Vocabulary & Helpful Information
Telecommunications = Distance + CommunicationsHistory of distance communications:
Postal Service - also known as Snail Mail
What is the Internet?
What is the Intranet?
- An intranet is a restricted-access network that works like the Web/Internet, but isn't a part of it.
- Intranets are usually owned and managed by a company or government entity.
- Intranets enable a company to share its resources with its employees without confidential information being made available to everyone with Internet access.Advantages of Modern Telecommunication:
Disadvantages of Modern Telecommunication:
Other advantages of the Internet:
What things do you need to get on the Internet?
Types of telecommunications services:
Searching the Internet:
ACCEPTABLE USE POLICY (AUP) -- A set of rules and guidelines that are set up to regulate Internet use and to protect the user.
ATTACHMENT or ATTACHED FILE -- a separate document that you may send with an e-mail message. It might be a document, such as a report that you need to send to a teacher, or it could be a photograph or another type of computer file.
BLOG - Originally known as Web Log. Blogs are websites that contains dated text entries, generally listed in reverse chronological order (most recent first) about a particular topic. Blogs serve many purposes from online newsletters to personal diaries to topical discussions. They can be written by one person or a group. Blog entries may contain commentary and links to other Web sites. They may contain photographs and/or videos. Blogs that contain videos are sometimes calld VLOGS since the video can communicate the author's thoughts and ideas. "Blog" can also be used as a verb, meaning to maintain or add content to a blog.
BOOLEAN OPERATORS – Connecting terms such as AND, OR, NOT that
can often be used in keyword searches to refine search criteria.
BROWSER – software used to view various kinds of Internet resources found on the World Wide Web.
COOKIES -- Small text files identify a user’s personal preferences and settings and allows the web site's server to retrieve your information from its database.
EMAIL -- Sending and receiving messages through a computer network. This process requires a computer, modem or network connection, and an e-mail address. It is convenient because all messages are sent and received immediately over short or long distances.
HOST -- The name given to a computer directly connected to the Internet. Host computers are associated with computer networks, online services, or bulletin board systems. The host name is often referred to as the “domain name.”
HYPERLINK-- Text or graphics that, when clicked with a mouse, will connect the user to a new web page or another place on the same page. The hyperlink is often called a "link." Many web designers draw your attention to the hyperlink with an underlined word or phrase in a different color. Most "buttons" and some other graphics and pictures on a webpage are also hyperlinks.
INTERNET -- A global network of thousands of other computer networks that offers e-mail and information retrieval services to millions of people.
KEYWORD -- A word or reference point used to describe content on a web page that search engines use to properly index the page.
LINKS -- Connections that bridge one image, page, or word to another by clicking on a highlighted word or phrase. (See also HYPERLINK.)
MODEM -- A device that permits a computer to transmit and receive data over a telephone line.
NEWSGROUP -- A discussion group on the Internet. Just as e-mail and information webpages are services on the Internet, newsgroups are another service. Although a newsgroup topic can be newsworthy, newsgroups often have nothing to do with the daily news; thus, the term is somewhat misleading.
ONLINE RESEARCH -- Research that utilizes primary and secondary electronic resources such as CD-ROM, networked, and Internet encyclopedias, dictionaries, databases, video conferences, e-mail,etc.
SEARCH ENGINE -- Software that searches, gathers and identifies information from a database based on keywords, indices, titles and text.
SEARCH STRATEGIES -- There are 3 basic ways to begin a search.
1. Try to guess at the URL (not ideal!)
2. Use subject directories provided by some search engines. The selected resources are grouped by subject, categories, and subcategories that can be used for keyword searches or to browse the categories.
3. Use a search engine for large searches using unique keywords or combinations of keywords to narrow the search.
TELECOMMUNICATIONS -- The act of sending and receiving information electronically between two or more computers via modem and phone line or local area networks (LAN). The exchange of information can be within a building or around the globe.
UNIFORM RESOURCE LOCATOR (URL) -- Full website address. Example: http://www.wcpss.net
USER NAME -- First part of an e-mail address. Example: jsmith is the user name of the following e-mail address. email@example.com
VIDEO CONFERENCING -- Using a camera and phone lines or the Internet, video conferencing allows individuals at two or more sites to see and hear each other and to share and collaborate on graphical and text based data.
Webcast - An audio or video broadcast that is conducted over the Internet. Often, "webcast" refers to a live streaming production.
WiFi - This abbreviated word comes from "Wireless Fidelity." While there are specific standards for WiFi, most people use the abbreviated word loosely to refer to all wireless networks.
WIKI - A website that visitors can edit using their browser. Groups can use a wiki to author documents collaboratively. An example is Wikipedia.org , the collaborative encyclopedia.
WILDCARD -- A character that can be used to represent any other character or series of characters in a statement. For instance, the wildcard "*" allows "S*ND" to refer to both "SEND" and "SAND." Wildcards are useful in searches when you don't know the exact text you are looking for, and in specifying and action to be performed on a group of files.
WORLD WIDE WEB (WWW) -- The section of the Internet that allows access to text, graphics, sound, and even video. A lot of free information can be found on the WWW.
Windows Management Vocabulary
ACTIVE WINDOW – The window in which a user is currently working or directing input. An active window is typically at the top of the windows layers and is distinguished by the color of its title bar.
INACTIVE WINDOW(S) - A window users are not currently interacting with. This window cannot receive keyboard input. Inactive windows usually have gray title bars.
MAXIMIZE – To display a window at its largest size.
MINIMIZE - To hide a window that is currently displayed on screen. The window is removed and represented with an icon or file name on the taskbar.
RESIZE - To change the height or width of a window. Usually this is done with the mouse by catching a corner or side of the window and dragging in or out.
CLOSE or EXIT – To remove a window from active or inactive status on the desktop.
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Source: NC DPI Computer Skills and WCPSS Instructional Technology Services
Special thanks to Sharon Irby, my predecessor in this position. Her work and guidance was the inspiration of this page.
Note to educators and computer experts: This study guide is a work in process and is adjusted as needed to help students succeed in passing the NC Online Computer Skills Test. Please contact me if you see errors in information, or if you feel that an item needs additional elaboration. Thank you. Send suggestions to: Diane Walters.
© Wake County Public School System
Page created: November 11, 2004
Last updated: February 11, 2010