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A game-playing experience in the learning of database concurrency control

A game-playing experience in the learning of database concurrency control

This article describes a card game intended to help Computing students practice database concurrency control. The game has helped students improve understanding.


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David Brown
David Brown (Staff)
18 years ago

This is an academic paper describing how a card game can be used to help students learn the concepts of database concurrency control. The authors are psychology students, not computer science students, and their priority is studying the effectiveness of the pedagogical approach to teaching concurrency control.

The paper begins with a short, but well-presented discussion of database concurrency control, including some simple examples. It then goes on to discuss a card game in which students take on the various roles of a DBMS (time-sharing, operation service, locking
execution, lock table maintenance, etc.) and uses cards to moderate their 'execution' of a series of database transactions. The authors then report of the effectiveness of the game at teaching students.

The game sounds worth a try. Although the results reported by the authors were good -- students seemed to improve their analytical skills and understanding of the topic -- they are strictly anectodal, based upon observations by the database professor. It would be very interesting to see a more in-depth follow-up to this research.

Used in course? Yes