Database theory in practice: Learning from cooperative group projects

Suzanne Dietrich, Susan D. Urban

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

14 Scopus citations


This paper describes the use of cooperative group learning concepts in support of an undergraduate database management course that emphasizes the theoretical and practical aspects of database application development. The course project is divided into three main phases, involving requirements analysis and conceptual design, relational database mapping and prototyping, and database system implementation using Microsoft Access. The project deliverables are designed so that students not only develop a database implementation, but also evaluate their design in terms of functional dependencies, normal forms, the lossless join property, and the dependency preservation property, thus establishing the need for sound database design principles. Students are required to actively participate in each phase, with students assuming different roles in each phase to allow them to experience different leadership responsibilities. As part of the grading process, students evaluate their own performance as well as the performance of others in the group. This paper describes our experience with the structure and administration of cooperative groups and provides a discussion of the lessons we have learned, including initial observations of the effectiveness of the approach.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationSIGCSE Bulletin (Association for Computing Machinery, Special Interest Group on Computer Science Education)
Number of pages5
StatePublished - Mar 1996

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Food Science
  • Hardware and Architecture
  • Software


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