Networked Blended Learning An analysis of best practices through the use of ICT in developing countries - for Structured Query

Language.
Janani Thevananth
Department of Communication and Psychology

University of Aalborg Aalborg, Denmark Email: jananit@hum.aau.dk

Abstract
This paper presents the typical problems students have when learning Structured Query Language in the blended learning model and then discuss some methodology to resolve the problem and find a new learning style, to support Structured Query Language learning and briefly discuss the new teaching practice for efficient Structured Query Language learning. Structured Query Language, the dominant database language, is a simple and highly structured language, yet students have many difficulties learning it in the blended Learning Model. Structured Query Language is usually taught in the Lab and in the classroom by solving problems at the blackboard, complemented with lab exercises. However students find that because of syntax errors, it is not easy to learn Structured Query Language directly by working with Database Management system. Unfortunately, in developing countries some of the students didn’t get any knowledge about computer skill before. The research aims are to investigate • To analyze learning problems and deficiencies associated with current •

pedagogical practices in structured query languages To design a blended learning model that blend face-to-face learning and online learning. The model will be used to solve learning problems of current educational practice in introductory Structured Query Language programming. To implement the model in Structured Query Language programming, and to find out whether novice students, without prior knowledge in programming , are able to acquire basic Structured Query Language programming concepts and to solve programming tasks using the learning model. To discuss the implications of the learning model and to identity critical factors of success when applying the model to introductory Structured Query Language programming

This research is using action research as one of the most appropriate approaches for designing and evaluating blended learning. Action research describes continues cycle of research of the learning model. Using iterative and incremental process, it is possible to gain effective blended learning and theoretical foundation in Structured Query Language.

Keywords

Structured Query Language, blended Learning, Database Management system, Action Research

Based on a study , using questionnaires the following learning problems have been identified
• A number of students found that the level of difficulty, scope, and depth of the subject matter compared to the students’ background was relatively high. The most students did not possess sufficient prerequisite knowledge in programming. Some students felt that Computer programming was a challenging task. They recommended more teacher guidance and feedback, as well as pedagogically sound explanations. However, even if the learning of programming was difficult, most students found that the degree of technical support provided by the online resources was very good because it gave access to course information at any time and any place. While the majority of the students believed that the electronic platform contained useful resources for online collaboration, most students preferred faceto-face discussions, which were considered to be highly important to the learning of computer programming. Most of the students were facing language problems, because all the instructions are in English Language. Most of the students are facing difficulties to learn online materials, because they are not very much familiar with that kind of studies

Introduction
The research project is going to take point of departure in a specific course in SQL as a part of a Database Management. The course has been taught by the researcher since 1999. Each year this course is taken by about 60 higher –level undergraduate students from north part of SriLanka. This course includes various topics, such as entity-relationship diagram, different data models, database design, and structured query language for relational model, normalization, transaction processing, and distributed databases. One of the challenges in teaching is trying to meet the needs of a variety of students. Many studies have found that many students have difficulty in learning SQL(About Semantic Errors in Database Queries, Christian Goldberg Martin-Luther-Universität Halle, Institut , Detecting Semantic Errors in SQL Queries, Stefan Brass, Christian Goldberg, and Alexander Hinneburg, Germany). Based on these papers and some previous work done by the researcher the typical problems, which students have when learning SQL are presented and discussed in relation to a methodology to supporting to find a efficient blended SQL learning method.

Errors in SQL Errors in SQL queries can be classified into syntactic errors (included clerical errors) and semantic errors. Syntactic errors means that the entered character string is not a valid SQL query or the SQL statement has been incorrectly structured. Then DBMS send an error message, thus the error is certainly detected and usually easy to correct. A semantic error means, the SQL queries which SQL queries which are syntactically correct, but certainly not intended, no matter for which task the query was written. Some times queries return the empty set or the system responds with a table of values - but these values are wrong.

Why SQL?
SQL (Structured Query Language) is a database computer language designed for managing data in relational database management systems (RDBMS), and originally based upon Relational Algebra. Its scope includes data query and update, schema creation and modification, and data access control. SQL was one of the first languages for Edgar F. Codd's relational model in his influential 1970 paper, "A Relational Model of Data for Large Shared Data Banks" and became the most widely used language for relational databases.[

Some Known learning problems

Blended Learning

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As blended learning becomes more and more pervasive in higher education as the most prominent delivery mechanism (Bonk & Graham 2006), expectations for learning benefits in computer programming are becoming greater. Blended learning, which blends face-to-face learning and online learning, is becoming an attractive model in higher education. However, just to blend face-to-face learning with information technologies cannot provide

effective teaching and efficient learning. To be successful, blended learning must rely on solid learning theory and pedagogical strategies. There are many definition found related with Blended Learning (Blended Learning Systems:, Charles R. Graham, Brigham Young University, USA). The working definition of this project is Combining eLearning and face to face learning.

Face-toface learning

Online
Webbased Learning

Computer based

e

Online learning

e-learning

Fig 2: Components of Blended learning
According to Bonk and Graham (2006) this definition reflects that blended learning “is the combination of instruction from two historically separate models of teaching and learning: Traditional learning systems and distributed learning systems. It emphasizes the central role of computer- based technologies in blended learning.”(p. 5). To sum up, blended learning is a combination of eLearning and face-to-face learning (Fig 2). E-learning itself includes both network-based (online learning, and Web based learning) and non-network-based learning (computer-based learning). E-learning itself includes both online learning , Internet-based learning and web-based learning. Here considering blended learning is the sum of face-to-face and e-learning.

• “participatory process concerned with
developing practical knowing in the pursuit of worthwhile human purposes. It seeks to bring together action and reflection, theory and practices, in participation with other” (Reason and Bradbury, 2003) “it is about working toward practical outcomes, and also about creating new forms of understanding, since action without reflection and understanding is blind, just a theory without action is meaningless” (Reason and Bradbury, 2008)

Methodology
Why my research can be considered an Action Learning Research Definitions of Action Research

Action research is deliberate, solution-oriented investigation that is group or personally owned and conducted. It is characterized by spiraling cycles of problem identification, systematic data collection, reflection, analysis, data-driven action taken, and, finally, problem redefinition. (Johnson, Beverly, Washington DC.) Action research differs from formal research conducted by education theorists because it is typically designed and controlled directly by the teacher or in collaboration with other practitioners. I understand that, action research is the process of systematically testing new ideas in the blended teaching, analyzing the results, and deciding to implement the new idea or begin the process again with another idea. The linking of the terms "action" and "research" highlights the

• “it proceeds in a spiral of steps, each of which
is composed of a circle of planning, action and fact finding about the results of the action (Lewin 1946/48)

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essential features of this method: trying out ideas in practice as a means of increasing knowledge about and/or improving curriculum, teaching, and learning (Kemmis & McTaggart, 1982). Among many approaches to technology, I think, that Action research is one of the most appropriate

approaches for designing and evaluating blended learning. Action research describes continues cycle of research of the learning model. It is suitable for blended learning. Continues evolution is important for the quality of blended learning. The Methodology can be described as four phases.

Analysis of learning problems in SQL Programming

Determination of blended learning model in SQL Programming

Implementation of blended learning in SQL Programming

Evaluation of blended learning in SQL Programming

Fig1 : Four major phases in the Research approach.
1 What Identify the question, issue, or problem. Following are the starting point. I will determine the right focus for the research, analysis known learning problems, current pedagogical practices, Preliminary analysis based on learning theory How Using a combination of quantitative and qualitative method (Kvale, ) and literature study Who I as a researcher together with teachers and students

Preliminary findings from the analysis are discussed with teachers and students 2 The solution will be a new design pedagogical model, technique,

Theoretical framework taking point of departure in social theory of learning / learning in communities of practice (Wenger, 1998) Workshop Design workshops Literature study: problem

I as a researcher

I as a researcher together with teachers and students I as a researcher together with teachers

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strategy, new environment, or new material that I feel has potential to correct the problem. 3 Implement and try out the solution and collect data. Here I will need to define how I will apply the technique and the method I will use to collect the data. If possible, it is helpful to have at least two groups that I can use for my research, Analyze the findings. Determine whether the solution had an impact on learning.

and project based learning /Learning in communities of practice /networked learning Apply Methods

I as a Researcher

4

Apply Methods and determine correct findings

I as a Researcher

Table 1 : a comparison between the criteria of the Action Learning, as Action Research strategy, with the research I aim to do in practice
Using iterative and incremental process together with literature studies, it is possible to developed effective blended learning model and theoretical foundation in structured Query Language which can help students to acquire the needed theoretical, methodological and practical competences. the redesigning the model is minimizing the students’ work load, difficulty of understanding programming techniques, and encouraging new ideas of programming.

Reference 1. Guido Robling, Mike Joy, (2008) Enhancing
Learning Management Systems to Better Support Computer Science Education, Sigcse Bulletin, vol 40, number 4 Dec Catherine Bruen, (2008) A Development Framework for Re-useable Learning Resources for Different Learning Styles and Requirements, Centre for Learning Technology, Trinity College, Dublin Joe Raelin, Management Learning 1999; 30; 115, http://mlq.sagepub.com George Fessakis, Angelique Dimitracopoulou, Exploitation of Data Modelling For Database Design in Secondary Education Learning Activities: A case study concerning real stories, University of Aegean, GR Dr.Joe Luca, Using Blended Learning to Enhance Teaching and Learning, Edith Cowan University, Western Australia. Thomas M cannolly, Carolyn E. Begg , A Constructivist- Based Approach to Teaching Database Analysis and Design, University of Paisley, Scotland. Judy Brown and Jiayun Lu, Designing Bettor Online Teaching Material, School of Mathematics and Computing Science, Victoria University of Wellinggton, New Zealand.

The steps involving in the Development of Project
1. To analyze learning problems and deficiencies associated with current pedagogical practices in structured query languages To design a blended learning model that blend face-to-face learning and online learning. The model will be used to solve learning problems of current educational practice in introductory SQL programming. To report on and evaluate an implementation of the model in SQL programming, and to find out whether novice students, without prior knowledge in programming , are able to acquire basic SQL programming concepts and to solve programming tasks using the learning model. To discuss the implications of the learning model and to identity critical factors of success when applying the model to introductory SQL programming.

2.

2.

3. 4.

3.

5. 6.

4.

Analysis of learning problems will enable students to suggest improvements to the good blended course. Further more, the findings of the analysis will give the opportunity to redesign the learning model. The goal of

7.

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8. George Fessakis1, Angelique
Dimitracopoulou2, Exploitation of data modelling for database design in secondary education learning activities: a case study concerning real stories analysis, department of Education, University of Aegean, GR Said Hadjerrouit , A Blended Learning Model in Java Programming: A Design-Based Research Approach, Agder University College, Kristiansand, Norway

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