According to the author, the intent of this site is to provide a tutorial covering SQL Server, Oracle, MySQL, DB2, Mimer SQL, PostgreSQL and Access. The site is divided into six sections; tutorial, how-to reference, answers to tutorial questions, assesments, "other" covering related topics, diversion covering non-related topics and links to the SQL tutorial in major non-Scandinavian western European languages. The quality of those translations is not part of this review. There are links to reference materials such as a user manual and some sketetal notes on programming with SQL, the SQL standard and getting ready to program.
Type of Material:
The materials consist of both reference and tutorial.
The intent of the material according to the author is for guided study. An experienced programmer could self-learn at this site.
Identify Major Learning Goals:
To get hands-on experience constructing SQL queries across several database engines. Special SQL topics in the reference section and the diversions section provide further hands-on practice.
Target Student Population:
The target student is the programmer/student new to SQL, whether in secondary school, in university or in the working sector.
Prerequisite Knowledge or Skills:
It would be helpful, but not necessary, to have prievious programming experience.
The tutorial took four commands with variation and first demonstrated the command then provided opportunities for the student to try it under several database engines. If the statement input was incorrect, a compiler-like error message occured and the student could see what the resulting incorrect answer would produce.The answer pages are a duplicate of the tutorial page with the commands completed. The student can see the resulting quiry from the correct answer. The assessment section divided the questions up by difficulty. Some of the databases used in the assessment section were available for download. The diversion section contained other ways to use SQL with examples and the opportunity for the student to view the results. The other section provided links to related topics.
There was some inconsitency of format in the tutorial pages. Some pages addressed the command in an obvious link, while others didn't. The answer pages were also not consistent explaining why something was or wasn't correct. The assessments do not come with the answers for the instructor. There were some broken links along the way such as the links in the programming with SQL, first section.
Potential Effectiveness as a Teaching Tool
Nothing beats hands-on when learning to program. This site offers plenty of hands-on in the tutorial section and throughout most of the offered sections. Side topics are also available.
The beginning student will require some guidance in using the material. The experienced programmer would be able to find a logical approach to learning the material with minimum supervision.
Ease of Use for Both Students and Faculty
This site loaded quickly on a LAN connection. The database engines all ran well during the review. Most of the links were current.
The organization of the material on this site could be problematic. In the "Other" section are some topics that might better reside in an introductory section. The how to use the tutorial has a section of important information for the teacher covering concerns about students using the site database engines. The site is not organized in a logical sequence for education. One has to hunt around for materials where initial learning would start.
Other Issues and Comments:
This is a very nice and ambitious site addressing SQL. It is indeed a gentle introduction. A reorganization of main page would be helpful for the first-time visitor.
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