Students’ Perceptions on Engaging Database Domains and Structures
Several educational studies have argued for the contextualization of assignments, i.e., for providing a context or a story instead of an abstract or a symbolic problem statement. Such contextualization may have beneficial effects such as lower dropout rates and higher student engagement.
In the domain of database education, textbooks and educators typically provide an example database for context. This toy example is then used to introduce key concepts related to database design, and for students to execute queries against. However, it remains unstudied what kinds of database contexts are engaging for novices.
In this paper we study which aspects of database domain and complexity students find engaging, through analyzing student reflections on a database creation assignment. We identify six factors regarding engaging domains, and five factors regarding engaging complexity. The main factor for domain-related engagement was Personal interest, while the main factor for complexity engagement was Matching information requirements.
Our findings can be used by database educators and book authors to design engaging exercise databases targeted for novices.
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