Tools for supporting the teaching and learning of data modelling

Thomas, Pete; Waugh, Kevin and Smith, Neil (2007). Tools for supporting the teaching and learning of data modelling. In: Proceedings of World Conference on Educational Multimedia, Hypermedia and Telecommunications 2007, 25 Jun 2007, Vancouver, Canada.



This paper describes three software tools that have been developed to help students learn to produce entity-relationship diagrams (ERDs) in the context of data modelling. The primary tool, called the Exerciser, presents a student with a series of questions and enables the student to produce ERDs that represent the data requirements for the scenarios embedded in the questions. The Exerciser marks each attempt at a diagram and provides several feedback perspectives on the student’s answer. The questions, specimen solutions and feedback are built using a tool (the Tutor Tool) which is also described. Both the Exerciser and the Tutor Tool incorporate a purpose-built entity-relationship diagramming tool known as SimpleDraw. The Exerciser has been evaluated and the results of the evaluation are presented. This feedback shows that the tool was found to be very useful and has provided information on which to base a revised version with improved usability.

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