Adding Databases

Article Last Updated June 2021

A database is a way for students and teachers to build a searchable collection of items within a course. Databases are set up with a set of customized fields for course participants to enter data for each item in the collection which can include file or image uploads. These custom fields need to be created by the instructor (or chosen from a series of preset templates) before students can begin contributing.

Adding a Database

  1. Click on Turn editing on, near top right side.
  2. Move to the topic area where you wish to add content (the week, unit, etc.) and click on the Add an Activity or Resource button.
  3. Click on the Database icon.
  4. A new page will appear with the database settings.


  • "Name" is required. Make this as meaningful as possible for your students.
  • "Description" is optional. You may provide an explanation or instructions here for your students.
  • "Display description on course page": Toggles whether or not the description of your database will be displayed on the course page below the link to the database.


  • "Approval required": Toggles whether or not entries require approving by a teacher, before they are viewable by everyone.
  • "Allow editing of approved entries": Toggles whether or not approved entries will be editable or deleteable by the user who added them, provided that Approval required is enabled.
  • "Allow comments on entries": Toggles whether or not students are allowed to post comments on entries.
  • "Entries required before viewing": Determines the number of entries a student is required to submit before they can view entries from other students. Note: If entries are required before viewing, the database auto-linking filter should be disabled. This is because the database auto-linking filter cannot determine whether a user has submitted the required number of entries.
  • "Maximum number of entries": Determines the maximum number of entries a student is allowed to submit for this activity.


This setting allows the instructors to specify the access dates when participants can enter items in the database and when they can only read the contents with the "Available from", "Available to", "Read only from", and "Read only to".


  • "Entries in the RSS feed": Toggles how many articles appear in the database RSS feed.


  • "Grade category": Allows you to choose which category it will be assigned to in the gradebook.
  • "Grade to pass": Determines the minimum required grade to pass. The value is used in activity or course completion, and in the gradebook, where pass grades are highlighted in green and fail grades in red.


Common module settings

  • "Availability": This setting has 3 options:
    • 'Show on course page' - The activity is available to students (subject to any access restrictions which may be set).
    • 'Hide from students' - The activity is only available to users with permission to view hidden activities (by default, users with the role of teacher or non-editing teacher).
    • 'Make available but now shown on course page' - A link to the activity must be provided from elsewhere, such as from a page resource. The activity would still be listed in the gradebook and other reports.
  • "ID number": An ID number identifies the activity for grade calculation purposes.
  • "Group mode": The group mode defined at course level is the default mode for all activities within the course. Each activity that supports groups can also define its own group mode, though if the group mode is forced at course level, the group mode setting for each activity is ignored. This setting has 3 options:
    • 'No groups' - Students are not segregated into groups.
    • 'Separate groups' - Only group members can see their own group while other groups remain invisible.
    • 'Visible groups' - Group members can see other groups but still work in their own group.
  • "Grouping": A grouping is a collection of groups within a course. If a grouping is selected, students assigned to groups within the grouping will be able to work together.
  • "Add group/grouping access restriction": Allows access only to students who belong to a specified group, or all groups.

Restrict access

Activity completion

  • "Completion tracking": Activity completion is tracked, either manually or automatically, based on certain conditions. Multiple conditions may be set if desired. If so, the activity will only be considered complete when ALL conditions are met. A tick next to the activity name on the course page indicates when the activity is complete.
  • "Require view":
    • Student must view this activity to complete it: A tick will only appear once the student views the activity.
  • "Require grade":
    • Student must receive a grade to complete this activity: A tick will only appear once the students receives a grade in this activity.
  • "Require entries":
    • Count of entries: If enabled, you must specify the number of entries the student is required to submit.
  • "Expect completed on": This setting specifies the date when the activity is expected to be completed. The date is not shown to students and is only displayed in the activity completion report.


Types of Database Fields

A field allows the input of data. Each entry in a database activity can have multiple fields of multiple types including:

  • Checkbox: Allows participants to select one or more options.  
  • Date: Allows participants to select a day, month and year from a drop down list.
  • File: Allows participants to upload a file.
  • Latlong(Latitude/longitude): Allows participants to enter a geographic location using latitude and longitude. This will automatically generate links to geographic data services such as Google Earth, OpenStreetMap, GeaBios, Mapstars, etc.
  • Menu: Displays a drop-down menu based on the text entered in the options area (note: each line becomes a different option).
  • Multimenu: Displays a list based on the text entered in the options area (note: each line becomes a different option). By holding down the CTRL or shift key as they click, participants can select multiple options at the same time.  
  • Number: Stores a floating number (e.g. -1000, 0, 0.123).
  • Picture: Allows participants to upload an image file.
  • Radio button: Allows participants to select one option from a range of options. Participants will be required to select one option before submitting an entry.
  • Text area: Allows participants to enter a longer string of text as well as some formatting options.
  • Text input: Allows participants to enter up to 60 characters of text. For more text, use Text Area instead.
  • URL: Allows participants to add a URL. If autolink is selected, a live link is automatically generated.

To add new database fields:

  1. In the Fields tab, click on the drop-down menu under the Create a new field option to select a type of database field.

  2. Add a unique field name. The field description is optional. Then click the Add button.

  3. Your newly added database fields will be displayed in your database.


  • It is incredibly important to actually view the database template and save it, even if you do not make changes to it.  If you don't, the template will not show up correctly and students will not be able to add database entries.
  • There is a known issue with re-using database entries from year to year. eClass considers these entries as user-submitted content so it gets excluded via the regular content-copy course creation routines. If you want to re-use entries, there is a manual process you can use to pull data forward explained in this article.
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