A visual introduction to conceptual database design for all

Don Goelman, Suzanne Dietrich

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

3 Scopus citations

Abstract

The goal of the presented pedagogical tool is to engage all disciplines in learning how to understand their data and the relationships among the data, and subsequently representing those data in a relational database. The tool provides a visual introduction to important concepts in database design using Entity Relationship Diagrams as the primary visual design model, relating these same concepts to other models, such as UML diagrams and the crow's feet notation used in MySQL Workbench. Once the conceptual design is realized, the tool visually presents a methodology for mapping the various data concepts to a collection of relations. Relational databases are ubiquitous and conceptually simple for all majors to understand based on the analogy of a spreadsheet with named columns. A unique feature of this tool is a built-in formative self-assessment feature, called a checkpoint, to engage learners in reflecting on what they have learned. The checkpoint provides 20 questions, multiple-choice and true/false, over a given conceptual design to test the student's understanding of the design features and mapping to relations. Another novel capability of this tool is its ability for instructors to customize the example to their discipline, supporting the introduction of database topics within the context of the domain to which it is being applied. There are already customizations of the tool available in several disciplines, broadening the accessibility of data design to many majors. Experience has shown that the tool supports visual learners in all majors, including computer science.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationSIGCSE 2018 - Proceedings of the 49th ACM Technical Symposium on Computer Science Education
PublisherAssociation for Computing Machinery, Inc
Pages320-325
Number of pages6
ISBN (Electronic)9781450351034
DOIs
StatePublished - Feb 21 2018
Event49th ACM Technical Symposium on Computer Science Education, SIGCSE 2018 - Baltimore, United States
Duration: Feb 21 2018Feb 24 2018

Publication series

NameSIGCSE 2018 - Proceedings of the 49th ACM Technical Symposium on Computer Science Education
Volume2018-January

Conference

Conference49th ACM Technical Symposium on Computer Science Education, SIGCSE 2018
CountryUnited States
CityBaltimore
Period2/21/182/24/18

Keywords

  • Computer science for all
  • Courseware
  • Visualizations

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Computer Science(all)
  • Education

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  • Cite this

    Goelman, D., & Dietrich, S. (2018). A visual introduction to conceptual database design for all. In SIGCSE 2018 - Proceedings of the 49th ACM Technical Symposium on Computer Science Education (pp. 320-325). (SIGCSE 2018 - Proceedings of the 49th ACM Technical Symposium on Computer Science Education; Vol. 2018-January). Association for Computing Machinery, Inc. https://doi.org/10.1145/3159450.3159555