Friday, August 19, 2011

Free online class, "Introduction to Databases," coming this fall from Stanford University

Stanford University's Introduction to Databases (


"A bold experiment in distributed education, "Introduction to Databases" will be offered free and online to students worldwide during the fall of 2011. Students will have access to lecture videos, receive regular feedback on progress, and receive answers to questions. When you successfully complete this class, you will also receive a statement of accomplishment. Taught by Professor Jennifer Widom, the curriculum draws from Stanford's popular Introduction to Databases course. A syllabus and more information is available here.


Course Description

This course covers database design and the use of database management systems for applications. It includes extensive coverage of the relational model, relational algebra, and SQL. It also covers XML data including DTDs and XML Schema for validation, and the query and transformation languages XPath, XQuery, and XSLT. The course includes database design in UML, and relational design principles based on dependencies and normal forms. Many additional key database topics from the design and application-building perspective are also covered: indexes, views, transactions, authorization, integrity constraints, triggers, on-line analytical processing (OLAP), and emerging "NoSQL" systems.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. What are the dates of the class?
The class will start October 10 and end on December 12.
2. What textbook should I buy?
We will provide detailed lecture notes of all the technical content, which will be yours to keep after the end of class. Having a textbook in addition to the notes is not necessary, but you might want to purchase one for reference, ...
3. Will students receive a Stanford certificate or grade for completing the course?
No. You will receive a statement of accomplishment from the instructor,...
4. Will the text of the lectures be available?
The instructors hope to transcribe the lectures into text to make them more accessible for those not fluent in English. Stay tuned.
5. Can online students ask questions and/or contact the professors?
Yes, but not directly. Students can submit questions that ...
6. Will other Stanford resources be available to online students?
7. Will other free online classes in computer science be offered this fall?
Yes. Stanford will also offer ...


That's pretty darn cool.

What the heck, signed up. Everything I know about databases I learned in kindergarten (err... I mean on the job, just in time, via books, blogs, etc.) so formalizing that knowledge a little couldn't hurt? And given the price and the source... :)


(via Davide Mauri - “Introduction to Databases” from Stanford University)

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