Database technologies are a core component of computing technology curricula. Their importance will only continue to expand as more and more data are retained in database systems. An effective database system is predicated on a good data model. Database design is the conceptualization of an underlying data model that progresses from identifying user requirements to graphically depicting those requirements and finally mapping the graphical models to a set of tables implemented in a physical database system. The abstract nature of much of database design makes it challenging to teach. This paper presents a set of software animations designed to support the teaching of database design concepts. Topic areas covered include mapping problem descriptions to Entity Relationship (ER) diagrams, mapping ER diagrams to tables, normalization and denormalization and comparison of various ER notation sets. The animations are fairly intuitive to use and are independent of any specific database text or product. They are intended to provide supplemental instructional support and also provide students with additional learning opportunities.
Issues in Informing Science and Information Technology