Jan 13, 2003 by Information Technology Editorial Board
This material is an introductory tutorial on SQL. It covers a subset of ANSI SQL with examples. An on-line SQL interpreter allows the learner to practice the commands introduced. Learners are able to create their own unique tables as well as perform selects, inserts, updates, deletes, and drops on their tables. The interpreter produces immediate results after submitting SQL commands. The site also contains links to two newsletters concerning databases and a discussion board.
To understand and practice SQL instructions such as "Select", "Insert", "Update", "Delete", "Create", and "Drop" . On successful completion of the material, students should be proficient in SQL.
Target Student Population:
Undergraduate college students
Prerequisite Knowledge or Skills:
Students would benefit from a prior exposure to database concepts. In particular, they should know for what reasons databases and database management systems have been so widely adopted. They would also benefit from a brief exposure to the concept of a relational database.
The material might be easier to understand for students who have a basic knowledge of EBNF, as some of the syntax of the SQL statements is explained in terms of this notation.
Type of Material:
Tutorial and simulation.
Can be used to provide students with instruction on the basic SQL commands in courses on computer systems or databases. The level is comparable to that of a introductory textbook on databases. It is also suitable for self-study.
Evaluation and Observation
It is very easy-to-understand, clear, concise, relevant and current. The strength is the excellent and thorough coverage of SQL. Moreover, the various elements of SQL are broken down into smaller chunks that are easily digested by a student. Finally, at the end of most lessons, the material contains a SQL simulator that allows the student to test their knowledge by typing in and executing SQL statements.
If any, the material might have been improved by the inclusion of more examples. Another, minor, concern, is the fact that the site is cluttered because of the inclusion of advertisements. However, the advertisements are clearly separated from the learning material, although the dynamic nature of some of the advertisements is sometimes distracting.
Potential Effectiveness as a Teaching Tool
Builds gradually on the concepts introduced earlier in eight units. The site also contains links to two newsletters concerning databases and a discussion board. Database journal can be searched by keyword. A follow-up intermediate/advanced SQL Tutorial covers the SELECT statement in greater detail. Contains a number of examples. The simulator allows the learner to practice the commands.
A glossary would be helpful.When the student makes a mistake in typing in a query, the error message that the simulator generates is not helpful. The simulator merely states that an error occurred and does not give any indication of what type of error.
Ease of Use for Both Students and Faculty
The material is broken down into sections that are small enough not to be too intimidating for a student. Each lesson contains both a general introduction and at least one example.
Error messages from the simulator are limited. It is also not possible to determine easily what is in the simulator.It is not always clear what tables,
if any, have already been loaded into the simulator.
Also, the fact that the page does not use frames means that the navigation bar to the left of the screen scrolls off the screen when one scrolls down to read the SQL material displayed on the page.