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Introduction to Databases

Stanford University via Coursera

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"Introduction to Databases" was one of Stanford's three inaugural massive open online courses in the fall of 2011; it was offered again in MOOC format in 2013 and 2014. Materials from the MOOC offerings have been available for self-study on Coursera as well as on other platforms. Starting in summer 2014, the materials are now being offered on the OpenEdX platform as a set of smaller self-paced "mini-courses", which can be assembled in a variety of ways to learn about different aspects of databases. All of the mini-courses are based around video lectures and/or video demos. Many of them include in-video quizzes to check understanding, in-depth standalone quizzes, and/or a variety of automatically-checked interactive programming exercises. Each mini-course also includes a discussion forum and pointers to readings and resources. Taught by Professor Jennifer Widom, the overall curriculum draws from Stanford's popular Databases course. To explore and enroll in the new Databases mini-courses, please visit https://class.stanford.edu/courses/DB/2014/SelfPaced/about.

Syllabus

Taught by

Jennifer Widom

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Reviews for Coursera's Introduction to Databases
4.7 Based on 31 reviews

  • 5 stars 74%
  • 4 stars 19%
  • 3 stars 6%
  • 2 star 0%
  • 1 star 0%

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  • 1
Henrik W
5.0 5 years ago
Henrik completed this course.
There was a total of almost 900 minutes of video lectures, or 100 minutes per week on average. The video lectures showed the material to be covered as slides, with a small picture in the lower right-hand corner showing Professor Widom as she presented the material. She also wrote on the slides, just as if she were using a normal white-board. This worked very well for me – it felt like I was sitting in on a real lecture.

The week after the course had finished, a colleague of mine asked me a question about an SQL query. He needed to remove some duplicated entries in a table of 300,000 items. Before taking the course I would not have known how to do that, but now I solved it with a self-join in a sub-query for the delete. Very pleased that the course proved its value so soon!
3 people found
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A
4.0 5 years ago
completed this course.
The DB-class had one fantastic feature that made it a lot more fun to work with databases: a “Command Workbench” that would allow one to test SQLite queries, triggers or transactions within the browser. Jennifer dangled Jamba Juice cards for anyone who could find bugs, and it was remarkable to note that there was I think just one documented case of anyone getting those cards, because there weren’t any issues to uncover. The sheer volume of the homework assignments (and the fact that most of them had some sort of mechanism to check whether or not your answers were correct) made the whole exercise a little too pedantic at times: I’d be like “all right, all right! I understand transactions already!”
1 person found
this review helpful
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Anonymous
5.0 4 years ago
Anonymous completed this course.
The perfect introduction to databases, this course gave me an incredible grounding from which to start using databases at work. I started out knowing nothing about databases and by the end of the course I was more than ready to use them in a professional capacity. I have since implemented a lot of what I learned form this course at work. Brilliant lectures, great exercises, broad coverage of the topic, thanks prof Widom!!!
2 people found
this review helpful
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Franklin C
4.0 5 years ago
Franklin completed this course.
Overall, the course was not very difficult. The in-lecture quizzes were very helpful, and one of the highlights of this learning format. They enabled me to get quick assessment of whether I totally understood the material I just watched or needed to review a bit more.

Without more detailed homework and projects that would require supplemental reading, there was less depth than there would be in a traditional course.
1 person found
this review helpful
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Anonymous
5.0 6 years ago
Anonymous completed this course.
Prof Windom provides an excellent dose of RDB theory and programming using free, open source tools like mysql and postgres. This course became relatively challenging (for me) during classes covering XSLT. I appreciated the challenge. As a result of this class, I was able to go out and develop a relatively sophisticated DB in mysql. Unfortunately the course did not cover interfacing with the DB to create reports in a format useable to most businesses, but that was a lesson I had to pursue on my own.
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John J
5.0 5 years ago
John completed this course.
This class consisted of video lectures, review questions, and exercises. Topics covered included XML (markup, DTDs, schema, XPath, XQuery, and XSLT) and relational databases (relational algebra, database normalization, SQL, constraints, triggers, views, authentication, online analytical processing, and recursion). At the end we had a quick lesson on NoSQL systems just to introduce the topic and discuss where they are appropriate.
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Anonymous
5.0 6 years ago
Anonymous completed this course.
Agree with all previous reviews. Very useful course. It's open for self-study on coursera and I was coming back to look up a solution for the queries I had to write at work. In addition to relation databases, it also has pretty deep XML portion. The course is intense, I was spending all weekends doing homework, but once done, it will stay with you forever and you will be using it in everyday life. Highly recommend!
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CJ F
5.0 5 years ago
CJ completed this course.
I was very impressed with the breadth of Widom’s approach to the subject: it was a major reason I decided to spend time on the course. Another strength is its nuts-n-bolts approach: some theoretical topics are covered but for the most part this is a course for practitioners. Finally, I particularly appreciated the extensive use of FOSS (Free and Open Source Software) in the course.
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Anonymous
5.0 6 years ago
Anonymous completed this course.
Have to agree that if you're aiming for certificate, get ready to work hard. The course is designed in such way that you can master each component (either XML or SQL) separately. if you're interested only in database material (as I was) you can take your time and do all SQL-related work only. For certificate, deadlines and % of the correct answers matter though.
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Anonymous
5.0 6 years ago
Anonymous completed this course.
This was the first online course I took and it was very well done. Professor Widom explained things very well. This course is relevant to my everyday work as well as I'm a DBA Developer. Would recommend this class to anyone!
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Anonymous
5.0 6 years ago
Anonymous completed this course.
Everything you need to know to get started and keep working with databases. Quizzes are challenging, and there are two exams. But the good part is that you could test the answers unlimited time until you get it right.
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Anonymous
4.0 5 years ago
Anonymous completed this course.
This is a more theoretical class than it is a practical class. Less of the actual running of a database. Lectures are good and there is a great progression, overall a pretty good class.
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Anonymous
5.0 5 years ago
Anonymous completed this course.
Finally I could find a course where databases where explained in a clear and simple way. The huge amount of example and exercises is a great learning tool.
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Anonymous
5.0 6 years ago
Anonymous completed this course.
The first MOOX I took.

Excellent class, with very clear and precise explanation.

A must to better understand the databases.
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Anonymous
5.0 6 years ago
Anonymous completed this course.
XPATH and XML material was very relevant to my job tasks as I have to do a lot of XML parsing. Thank you!
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Anonymous
5.0 6 years ago
Anonymous completed this course.
Not a beginner's course. Excellent lectures and assignments. Stanford's quality. Proud to have it on my resume.
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Anonymous
5.0 6 years ago
Anonymous completed this course.
Very powerful course on Databases. Lots of exercises.

Many thanks to the author!
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Anonymous
5.0 6 years ago
Anonymous completed this course.
An excellent course on relational databases/ SQL as well as XML, JSON, NoSQL.
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Anonymous
5.0 6 years ago
Anonymous completed this course.
Great course. Highly recommended. Be aware the workload is heavy though :-)
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Anonymous
5.0 6 years ago
Anonymous completed this course.
The only db class available on the web. Great lectures and plenty of practice.
Was this review helpful to you? Yes
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