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Journal of Information Systems Education

Abstract

This paper presents a case study of the selection and use of a software package for an introductory Database Management course in a typical MIS program. Teachers of Database Management face the challenge of providing their students with meaningful experiences with actual database software. The software selected for use in a database course can generally be categorized as one of three types: commercial enterprise software, such as Oracle or IBM’s DB2; personal database software, such as Microsoft Access; or software available for no cost (including open source software), such as PostgreSQL or MySQL. The advantages and disadvantages of each of these types of software are discussed, as is the selection process utilized in this specific case. The teaching approach examined in detail is the use of MySQL on a Linux platform to allow students to create, modify, populate, and query databases. This approach is shown to have several advantages: the software is available at no cost to the students or the institution; it is configurable and manageable by the course instructor without the need to consult specialized database professionals; it provides an enterprise database experience using Structured Query Language (SQL); and using the Internet, it is available to students from remote computers.

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