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Peer Review

SQL Interpreter & Tutorial with live practice database



Overall Numeric Rating:

5 stars
Content Quality: 5 stars
Effectiveness: 5 stars
Ease of Use: 5 stars
Reviewed: Jan 13, 2003 by Information Technology Editorial Board
Overview: 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.
Type of Material: Tutorial and simulation.
Recommended Uses: 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.
Technical Requirements: HTML
Identify Major Learning Goals: 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.

Evaluation and Observation

Content Quality

Rating: 5 stars
Strengths: 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.

Concerns: 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

Rating: 5 stars
Strengths: 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.
Concerns: 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

Rating: 5 stars
Strengths: 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.
Concerns: 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.

Other Issues and Comments: