DBMS for Web: The Future of Database Management

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Database Management Systems (DBMS)

Database group website: db.cs.berkeley.edu

Declarative languages and runtime systems

Design and implementation of declarative programming languages with applications to distributed systems, networking, machine learning, metadata management, and interactive visualization; design of query interface for applications.

Scalable data analysis and query processing

Scalable data processing in new settings, including interactive exploration, metadata management, cloud and serverless environments, and machine learning; query processing on compressed, semi-structured, and streaming data; query processing with additional constraints, including fairness, resource utilization, and cost.

Consistency, concurrency, coordination and reliability

Coordination avoidance, consistency and monotonicity analysis; transaction isolation levels and protocols; distributed analytics and data management, geo-replication; fault tolerance and fault injection.

Data storage and physical design

Hot and cold storage; immutable data structures; indexing and data skipping; versioning; new data types; implications of hardware evolution.

Metadata management

Data lineage and versioning; usage tracking and collective intelligence; scalability of metadata management services; metadata representations; reproducibility and debugging of data pipelines.

Systems for machine learning and model management

Distributed machine learning and graph analytics; physical and logical optimization of machine learning pipelines; online model management and maintenance; prediction serving; real-time personalization; latency-accuracy tradeoffs and edge computing for large-scale models; machine learning lifecycle management.

Data cleaning, data transformation, and crowdsourcing

Human-data interaction including interactive transformation, query authoring, and crowdsourcing; machine learning for data cleaning; statistical properties of data cleaning pipelines; end-to-end systems for crowdsourcing.

Interactive data exploration and visualization

Interactive querying and direct manipulation; scalable spreadsheets and data visualization; languages and interfaces for interactive exploration; progressive query visualization; predictive interaction.

Secure data processing

Data processing under homomorphic encryption; data compression and encryption; differential privacy; oblivious data processing; databases in secure hardware enclaves.

Foundations of data management

Optimal trade-offs between storage, quality, latency, and cost, with applications to crowdsourcing, distributed data management, stream data processing, version management; expressiveness, complexity, and completeness of data representations, query languages, and query processing; query processing with fairness constraints.

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Related Courses

  • CS 186. Introduction to Database Systems
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Advances in database systems education: Methods, tools, curricula, and way forward

Muhammad ishaq.

1 Department of Computer Science, National University of Computer and Emerging Sciences, Lahore, Pakistan

2 Department of Computer Science, Virtual University of Pakistan, Lahore, Pakistan

3 Department of Computer Science, University of Management and Technology, Lahore, Pakistan

Muhammad Shoaib Farooq

Muhammad faraz manzoor.

4 Department of Computer Science, Lahore Garrison University, Lahore, Pakistan

Uzma Farooq

Kamran abid.

5 Department of Electrical Engineering, University of the Punjab, Lahore, Pakistan

Mamoun Abu Helou

6 Faculty of Information Technology, Al Istiqlal University, Jericho, Palestine

Associated Data

Not Applicable.

Fundamentals of Database Systems is a core course in computing disciplines as almost all small, medium, large, or enterprise systems essentially require data storage component. Database System Education (DSE) provides the foundation as well as advanced concepts in the area of data modeling and its implementation. The first course in DSE holds a pivotal role in developing students’ interest in this area. Over the years, the researchers have devised several different tools and methods to teach this course effectively, and have also been revisiting the curricula for database systems education. In this study a Systematic Literature Review (SLR) is presented that distills the existing literature pertaining to the DSE to discuss these three perspectives for the first course in database systems. Whereby, this SLR also discusses how the developed teaching and learning assistant tools, teaching and assessment methods and database curricula have evolved over the years due to rapid change in database technology. To this end, more than 65 articles related to DSE published between 1995 and 2022 have been shortlisted through a structured mechanism and have been reviewed to find the answers of the aforementioned objectives. The article also provides useful guidelines to the instructors, and discusses ideas to extend this research from several perspectives. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first research work that presents a broader review about the research conducted in the area of DSE.


Database systems play a pivotal role in the successful implementation of the information systems to ensure the smooth running of many different organizations and companies (Etemad & Küpçü, 2018 ; Morien, 2006 ). Therefore, at least one course about the fundamentals of database systems is taught in every computing and information systems degree (Nagataki et al., 2013 ). Database System Education (DSE) is concerned with different aspects of data management while developing software (Park et al., 2017 ). The IEEE/ACM computing curricula guidelines endorse 30–50 dedicated hours for teaching fundamentals of design and implementation of database systems so as to build a very strong theoretical and practical understanding of the DSE topics (Cvetanovic et al., 2010 ).

Practically, most of the universities offer one user-oriented course at undergraduate level that covers topics related to the data modeling and design, querying, and a limited number of hours on theory (Conklin & Heinrichs, 2005 ; Robbert & Ricardo, 2003 ), where it is often debatable whether to utilize a design-first or query-first approach. Furthermore, in order to update the course contents, some recent trends, including big data and the notion of NoSQL should also be introduced in this basic course (Dietrich et al., 2008 ; Garcia-Molina, 2008 ). Whereas, the graduate course is more theoretical and includes topics related to DB architecture, transactions, concurrency, reliability, distribution, parallelism, replication, query optimization, along with some specialized classes.

Researchers have designed a variety of tools for making different concepts of introductory database course more interesting and easier to teach and learn interactively (Brusilovsky et al., 2010 ) either using visual support (Nagataki et al., 2013 ), or with the help of gamification (Fisher & Khine, 2006 ). Similarly, the instructors have been improvising different methods to teach (Abid et al., 2015 ; Domínguez & Jaime, 2010 ) and evaluate (Kawash et al., 2020 ) this theoretical and practical course. Also, the emerging and hot topics such as cloud computing and big data has also created the need to revise the curriculum and methods to teach DSE (Manzoor et al., 2020 ).

The research in database systems education has evolved over the years with respect to modern contents influenced by technological advancements, supportive tools to engage the learners for better learning, and improvisations in teaching and assessment methods. Particularly, in recent years there is a shift from self-describing data-driven systems to a problem-driven paradigm that is the bottom-up approach where data exists before being designed. This mainly relies on scientific, quantitative, and empirical methods for building models, while pushing the boundaries of typical data management by involving mathematics, statistics, data mining, and machine learning, thus opening a multidisciplinary perspective. Hence, it is important to devote a few lectures to introducing the relevance of such advance topics.

Researchers have provided useful review articles on other areas including Introductory Programming Language (Mehmood et al., 2020 ), use of gamification (Obaid et al., 2020 ), research trends in the use of enterprise service bus (Aziz et al., 2020 ), and the role of IoT in agriculture (Farooq et al., 2019 , 2020 ) However, to the best of our knowledge, no such study was found in the area of database systems education. Therefore, this study discusses research work published in different areas of database systems education involving curricula, tools, and approaches that have been proposed to teach an introductory course on database systems in an effective manner. The rest of the article has been structured in the following manner: Sect.  2 presents related work and provides a comparison of the related surveys with this study. Section  3 presents the research methodology for this study. Section  4 analyses the major findings of the literature reviewed in this research and categorizes it into different important aspects. Section  5 represents advices for the instructors and future directions. Lastly, Sect.  6 concludes the article.

Related work

Systematic Literature Reviews have been found to be a very useful artifact for covering and understanding a domain. A number of interesting review studies have been found in different fields (Farooq et al., 2021 ; Ishaq et al., 2021 ). Review articles are generally categorized into narrative or traditional reviews (Abid et al., 2016 ; Ramzan et al., 2019 ), systematic literature review (Naeem et al., 2020 ) and meta reviews or mapping study (Aria & Cuccurullo, 2017 ; Cobo et al., 2012 ; Tehseen et al., 2020 ). This study presents a systematic literature review on database system education.

The database systems education has been discussed from many different perspectives which include teaching and learning methods, curriculum development, and the facilitation of instructors and students by developing different tools. For instance, a number of research articles have been published focusing on developing tools for teaching database systems course (Abut & Ozturk, 1997 ; Connolly et al., 2005 ; Pahl et al., 2004 ). Furthermore, few authors have evaluated the DSE tools by conducting surveys and performing empirical experiments so as to gauge the effectiveness of these tools and their degree of acceptance among important stakeholders, teachers and students (Brusilovsky et al., 2010 ; Nelson & Fatimazahra, 2010 ). On the other hand, some case studies have also been discussed to evaluate the effectiveness of the improvised approaches and developed tools. For example, Regueras et al. ( 2007 ) presented a case study using the QUEST system, in which e-learning strategies are used to teach the database course at undergraduate level, while, Myers and Skinner ( 1997 ) identified the conflicts that arise when theories in text books regarding the development of databases do not work on specific applications.

Another important facet of DSE research focuses on the curriculum design and evolution for database systems, whereby (Alrumaih, 2016 ; Bhogal et al., 2012 ; Cvetanovic et al., 2010 ; Sahami et al., 2011 ) have proposed solutions for improvements in database curriculum for the better understanding of DSE among the students, while also keeping the evolving technology into the perspective. Similarly, Mingyu et al. ( 2017 ) have shared their experience in reforming the DSE curriculum by adding topics related to Big Data. A few authors have also developed and evaluated different tools to help the instructors teaching DSE.

There are further studies which focus on different aspects including specialized tools for specific topics in DSE (Mcintyre et al, 1995 ; Nelson & Fatimazahra, 2010 ). For instance, Mcintyre et al. ( 1995 ) conducted a survey about using state of the art software tools to teach advanced relational database design courses at Cleveland State University. However, the authors did not discuss the DSE curricula and pedagogy in their study. Similarly, a review has been conducted by Nelson and Fatimazahra ( 2010 ) to highlight the fact that the understanding of basic knowledge of database is important for students of the computer science domain as well as those belonging to other domains. They highlighted the issues encountered while teaching the database course in universities and suggested the instructors investigate these difficulties so as to make this course more effective for the students. Although authors have discussed and analyzed the tools to teach database, the tools are yet to be categorized according to different methods and research types within DSE. There also exists an interesting systematic mapping study by Taipalus and Seppänen ( 2020 ) that focuses on teaching SQL which is a specific topic of DSE. Whereby, they categorized the selected primary studies into six categories based on their research types. They utilized directed content analysis, such as, student errors in query formulation, characteristics and presentation of the exercise database, specific or non-specific teaching approach suggestions, patterns and visualization, and easing teacher workload.

Another relevant study that focuses on collaborative learning techniques to teach the database course has been conducted by Martin et al. ( 2013 ) This research discusses collaborative learning techniques and adapted it for the introductory database course at the Barcelona School of Informatics. The motive of the authors was to introduce active learning methods to improve learning and encourage the acquisition of competence. However, the focus of the study was only on a few methods for teaching the course of database systems, while other important perspectives, including database curricula, and tools for teaching DSE were not discussed in this study.

The above discussion shows that a considerable amount of research work has been conducted in the field of DSE to propose various teaching methods; develop and test different supportive tools, techniques, and strategies; and to improve the curricula for DSE. However, to the best of our knowledge, there is no study that puts all these relevant and pertinent aspects together while also classifying and discussing the supporting methods, and techniques. This review is considerably different from previous studies. Table ​ Table1 1 highlights the differences between this study and other relevant studies in the field of DSE using ✓ and – symbol reflecting "included" and "not included" respectively. Therefore, this study aims to conduct a systematic mapping study on DSE that focuses on compiling, classifying, and discussing the existing work related to pedagogy, supporting tools, and curricula.

Comparison with other related research articles

Research methodology

In order to preserve the principal aim of this study, which is to review the research conducted in the area of database systems education, a piece of advice has been collected from existing methods described in various studies (Elberzhager et al., 2012 ; Keele et al., 2007 ; Mushtaq et al., 2017 ) to search for the relevant papers. Thus, proper research objectives were formulated, and based on them appropriate research questions and search strategy were formulated as shown in Fig.  1 .

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Research objectives

The Following are the research objectives of this study:

  • i. To find high quality research work in DSE.
  • ii. To categorize different aspects of DSE covered by other researchers in the field.
  • iii. To provide a thorough discussion of the existing work in this study to provide useful information in the form of evolution, teaching guidelines, and future research directions of the instructors.

Research questions

In order to fulfill the research objectives, some relevant research questions have been formulated. These questions along with their motivations have been presented in Table ​ Table2 2 .

Study selection results

Search strategy

The Following search string used to find relevant articles to conduct this study. “Database” AND (“System” OR “Management”) AND (“Education*” OR “Train*” OR “Tech*” OR “Learn*” OR “Guide*” OR “Curricul*”).

Articles have been taken from different sources i.e. IEEE, Springer, ACM, Science Direct and other well-known journals and conferences such as Wiley Online Library, PLOS and ArXiv. The planning for search to find the primary study in the field of DSE is a vital task.

Study selection

A total of 29,370 initial studies were found. These articles went through a selection process, and two authors were designated to shortlist the articles based on the defined inclusion criteria as shown in Fig.  2 . Their conflicts were resolved by involving a third author; while the inclusion/exclusion criteria were also refined after resolving the conflicts as shown in Table ​ Table3. 3 . Cohen’s Kappa coefficient 0.89 was observed between the two authors who selected the articles, which reflects almost perfect agreement between them (Landis & Koch, 1977 ). While, the number of papers in different stages of the selection process for all involved portals has been presented in Table ​ Table4 4 .

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Selection criteria

Title based search: Papers that are irrelevant based on their title are manually excluded in the first stage. At this stage, there was a large portion of irrelevant papers. Only 609 papers remained after this stage.

Abstract based search: At this stage, abstracts of the selected papers in the previous stage are studied and the papers are categorized for the analysis along with research approach. After this stage only 152 papers were left.

Full text based analysis: Empirical quality of the selected articles in the previous stage is evaluated at this stage. The analysis of full text of the article has been conducted. The total of 70 papers were extracted from 152 papers for primary study. Following questions are defined for the conduction of final data extraction.

Quality assessment criteria

Following are the criteria used to assess the quality of the selected primary studies. This quality assessment was conducted by two authors as explained above.

  • The study focuses on curricula, tools, approach, or assessments in DSE, the possible answers were Yes (1), No (0)
  • The study presents a solution to the problem in DSE, the possible answers to this question were Yes (1), Partially (0.5), No (0)
  • The study focuses on empirical results, Yes (1), No (0)

Score pattern of publication channels

Almost 50.00% of papers had scored more than average and 33.33% of papers had scored between the average range i.e., 2.50–3.50. Some articles with the score below 2.50 have also been included in this study as they present some useful information and were published in education-based journals. Also, these studies discuss important demography and technology based aspects that are directly related to DSE.

Threats to validity

The validity of this study could be influenced by the following factors during the literature of this publication.

Construct validity

In this study this validity identifies the primary study for research (Elberzhager et al., 2012 ). To ensure that many primary studies have been included in this literature two authors have proposed possible search keywords in multiple repetitions. Search string is comprised of different terms related to DS and education. Though, list might be incomplete, count of final papers found can be changed by the alternative terms (Ampatzoglou et al., 2013 ). IEEE digital library, Science direct, ACM digital library, Wiley Online Library, PLOS, ArXiv and Google scholar are the main libraries where search is done. We believe according to the statistics of search engines of literature the most research can be found on these digital libraries (Garousi et al., 2013 ). Researchers also searched related papers in main DS research sites (VLDB, ICDM, EDBT) in order to minimize the risk of missing important publication.

Including the papers that does not belong to top journals or conferences may reduce the quality of primary studies in this research but it indicates that the representativeness of the primary studies is improved. However, certain papers which were not from the top publication sources are included because of their relativeness wisth the literature, even though they reduce the average score for primary studies. It also reduces the possibility of alteration of results which might have caused by the improper handling of duplicate papers. Some cases of duplications were found which were inspected later whether they were the same study or not. The two authors who have conducted the search has taken the final decision to the select the papers. If there is no agreement between then there must be discussion until an agreement is reached.

Internal validity

This validity deals with extraction and data analysis (Elberzhager et al., 2012 ). Two authors carried out the data extraction and primary studies classification. While the conflicts between them were resolved by involving a third author. The Kappa coefficient was 0.89, according to Landis and Koch ( 1977 ), this value indicates almost perfect level of agreement between the authors that reduces this threat significantly.

Conclusion validity

This threat deals with the identification of improper results which may cause the improper conclusions. In this case this threat deals with the factors like missing studies and wrong data extraction (Ampatzoglou et al., 2013 ). The objective of this is to limit these factors so that other authors can perform study and produce the proper conclusions (Elberzhager et al., 2012 ).

Interpretation of results might be affected by the selection and classification of primary studies and analyzing the selected study. Previous section has clearly described each step performed in primary study selection and data extraction activity to minimize this threat. The traceability between the result and data extracted was supported through the different charts. In our point of view, slight difference based on the publication selection and misclassification would not alter the main results.

External validity

This threat deals with the simplification of this research (Mateo et al., 2012 ). The results of this study were only considered that related to the DSE filed and validation of the conclusions extracted from this study only concerns the DSE context. The selected study representativeness was not affected because there was no restriction on time to find the published research. Therefore, this external validity threat is not valid in the context of this research. DS researchers can take search string and the paper classification scheme represented in this study as an initial point and more papers can be searched and categorized according to this scheme.

Analysis of compiled research articles

This section presents the analysis of the compiled research articles carefully selected for this study. It presents the findings with respect to the research questions described in Table ​ Table2 2 .

Selection results

A total of 70 papers were identified and analyzed for the answers of RQs described above. Table ​ Table6 6 represents a list of the nominated papers with detail of the classification results and their quality assessment scores.

Classification and quality assessment of selected articles

RQ1.Categorization of research work in DSE field

The analysis in this study reveals that the literature can be categorized as: Tools: any additional application that helps instructors in teaching and students in learning. Methods: any improvisation aimed at improving pedagogy or cognition. Curriculum: refers to the course content domains and their relative importance in a degree program, as shown in Fig.  3 .

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Taxonomy of DSE study types

Most of the articles provide a solution by gathering the data and also prove the novelty of their research through results. These papers are categorized as experiments w.r.t. their research types. Whereas, some of them case study papers which are used to generate an in depth, multifaceted understanding of a complex issue in its real-life context, while few others are review studies analyzing the previously used approaches. On the other hand, a majority of included articles have evaluated their results with the help of experiments, while others conducted reviews to establish an opinion as shown in Fig.  4 .

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Cross Mapping of DSE study type and research Types

Educational tools, especially those related to technology, are making their place in market faster than ever before (Calderon et al., 2011 ). The transition to active learning approaches, with the learner more engaged in the process rather than passively taking in information, necessitates a variety of tools to help ensure success. As with most educational initiatives, time should be taken to consider the goals of the activity, the type of learners, and the tools needed to meet the goals. Constant reassessment of tools is important to discover innovation and reforms that improve teaching and learning (Irby & Wilkerson, 2003 ). For this purpose, various type of educational tools such as, interactive, web-based and game based have been introduced to aid the instructors in order to explain the topic in more effective way.

The inclusion of technology into the classroom may help learners to compete in the competitive market when approaching the start of their career. It is important for the instructors to acknowledge that the students are more interested in using technology to learn database course instead of merely being taught traditional theory, project, and practice-based methods of teaching (Adams et al., 2004 ). Keeping these aspects in view many authors have done significant research which includes web-based and interactive tools to help the learners gain better understanding of basic database concepts.

Great research has been conducted with the focus of students learning. In this study we have discussed the students learning supportive with two major finding’s objectives i.e., tools which prove to be more helpful than other tools. Whereas, proposed tools with same outcome as traditional classroom environment. Such as, Abut and Ozturk ( 1997 ) proposed an interactive classroom environment to conduct database classes. The online tools such as electronic “Whiteboard”, electronic textbooks, advance telecommunication networks and few other resources such as Matlab and World Wide Web were the main highlights of their proposed smart classroom. Also, Pahl et al. ( 2004 ) presented an interactive multimedia-based system for the knowledge and skill oriented Web-based education of database course students. The authors had differentiated their proposed classroom environment from traditional classroom-based approach by using tool mediated independent learning and training in an authentic setting. On the other hand, some authors have also evaluated the educational tools based on their usage and impact on students’ learning. For example, Brusilovsky et al. ( 2010 )s evaluated the technical and conceptual difficulties of using several interactive educational tools in the context of a single course. A combined Exploratorium has been presented for database courses and an experimental platform, which delivers modified access to numerous types of interactive learning activities.

Also, Taipalus and Perälä ( 2019 ) investigated the types of errors that are persistent in writing SQL by the students. The authors also contemplated the errors while mapping them onto different query concepts. Moreover, Abelló Gamazo et al. ( 2016 ) presented a software tool for the e-assessment of relational database skills named LearnSQL. The proposed software allows the automatic and efficient e-learning and e-assessment of relational database skills. Apart from these, Yue ( 2013 ) proposed the database tool named Sakila as a unified platform to support instructions and multiple assignments of a graduate database course for five semesters. According to this study, students find this tool more useful and interesting than the highly simplified databases developed by the instructor, or obtained from textbook. On the other hand, authors have proposed tools with the main objective to help the student’s grip on the topic by addressing the pedagogical problems in using the educational tools. Connolly et al. ( 2005 ) discussed some of the pedagogical problems sustaining the development of a constructive learning environment using problem-based learning, a simulation game and interactive visualizations to help teach database analysis and design. Also, Yau and Karim ( 2003 ) proposed smart classroom with prevalent computing technology which will facilitate collaborative learning among the learners. The major aim of this smart classroom is to improve the quality of interaction between the instructors and students during lecture.

Student satisfaction is also an important factor for the educational tools to more effective. While it supports in students learning process it should also be flexible to achieve the student’s confidence by making it as per student’s needs (Brusilovsky et al., 2010 ; Connolly et al., 2005 ; Pahl et al., 2004 ). Also, Cvetanovic et al. ( 2010 ) has proposed a web-based educational system named ADVICE. The proposed solution helps the students to reduce the gap between DBMS, theory and its practice. On the other hand, authors have enhanced the already existing educational tools in the traditional classroom environment to addressed the student’s concerns (Nelson & Fatimazahra, 2010 ; Regueras et al., 2007 ) Table ​ Table7 7 .

Tools: Adopted in DSE and their impacts

Hands on database development is the main concern in most of the institute as well as in industry. However, tools assisting the students in database development and query writing is still major concern especially in SQL (Brusilovsky et al., 2010 ; Nagataki et al., 2013 ).

Student’s grades reflect their conceptual clarity and database development skills. They are also important to secure jobs and scholarships after passing out, which is why it is important to have the educational learning tools to help the students to perform well in the exams (Cvetanovic et al., 2010 ; Taipalus et al., 2018 ). While, few authors (Wang et al., 2010 ) proposed Metube which is a variation of YouTube. Subsequently, existing educational tools needs to be upgraded or replaced by the more suitable assessment oriented interactive tools to attend challenging students needs (Pahl et al., 2004 ; Yuelan et al., 2011 ).

One other objective of developing the educational tools is to increase the interaction between the students and the instructors. In the modern era, almost every institute follows the student centered learning(SCL). In SCL the interaction between students and instructor increases with most of the interaction involves from the students. In order to support SCL the educational based interactive and web-based tools need to assign more roles to students than the instructors (Abbasi et al., 2016 ; Taipalus & Perälä, 2019 ; Yau & Karim, 2003 ).

Theory versus practice is still one of the main issues in DSE teaching methods. The traditional teaching method supports theory first and then the concepts learned in the theoretical lectures implemented in the lab. Whereas, others think that it is better to start by teaching how to write query, which should be followed by teaching the design principles for database, while a limited amount of credit hours are also allocated for the general database theory topics. This part of the article discusses different trends of teaching and learning style along with curriculum and assessments methods discussed in DSE literature.

A variety of teaching methods have been designed, experimented, and evaluated by different researchers (Yuelan et al., 2011 ; Chen et al., 2012 ; Connolly & Begg, 2006 ). Some authors have reformed teaching methods based on the requirements of modern way of delivering lectures such as Yuelan et al. ( 2011 ) reform teaching method by using various approaches e.g. a) Modern ways of education: includes multimedia sound, animation, and simulating the process and working of database systems to motivate and inspire the students. b) Project driven approach: aims to make the students familiar with system operations by implementing a project. c) Strengthening the experimental aspects: to help the students get a strong grip on the basic knowledge of database and also enable them to adopt a self-learning ability. d) Improving the traditional assessment method: the students should turn in their research and development work as the content of the exam, so that they can solve their problem on their own.

The main aim of any teaching method is to make student learn the subject effectively. Student must show interest in order to gain something from the lectures delivered by the instructors. For this, teaching methods should be interactive and interesting enough to develop the interest of the students in the subject. Students can show interest in the subject by asking more relative questions or completing the home task and assignments on time. Authors have proposed few teaching methods to make topic more interesting such as, Chen et al. ( 2012 ) proposed a scaffold concept mapping strategy, which considers a student’s prior knowledge, and provides flexible learning aids (scaffolding and fading) for reading and drawing concept maps. Also, Connolly & Begg (200s6) examined different problems in database analysis and design teaching, and proposed a teaching approach driven by principles found in the constructivist epistemology to overcome these problems. This constructivist approach is based on the cognitive apprenticeship model and project-based learning. Similarly, Domínguez & Jaime ( 2010 ) proposed an active method for database design through practical tasks development in a face-to-face course. They analyzed results of five academic years using quasi experimental. The first three years a traditional strategy was followed and a course management system was used as material repository. On the other hand, Dietrich and Urban ( 1996 ) have described the use of cooperative group learning concepts in support of an undergraduate database management course. They have designed the project deliverables in such a way that students develop skills for database implementation. Similarly, Zhang et al. ( 2018 ) have discussed several effective classroom teaching measures from the aspects of the innovation of teaching content, teaching methods, teaching evaluation and assessment methods. They have practiced the various teaching measures by implementing the database technologies and applications in Qinghai University. Moreover, Hou and Chen ( 2010 ) proposed a new teaching method based on blending learning theory, which merges traditional and constructivist methods. They adopted the method by applying the blending learning theory on Access Database programming course teaching.

Problem solving skills is a key aspect to any type of learning at any age. Student must possess this skill to tackle the hurdles in institute and also in industry. Create mind and innovative students find various and unique ways to solve the daily task which is why they are more likeable to secure good grades and jobs. Authors have been working to introduce teaching methods to develop problem solving skills in the students(Al-Shuaily, 2012 ; Cai & Gao, 2019 ; Martinez-González & Duffing, 2007 ; Gudivada et al., 2007 ). For instance, Al-Shuaily ( 2012 ) has explored four cognitive factors such as i) Novices’ ability in understanding, ii) Novices’ ability to translate, iii) Novice’s ability to write, iv) Novices’ skills that might influence SQL teaching, and learning methods and approaches. Also, Cai and Gao ( 2019 ) have reformed the teaching method in the database course of two higher education institutes in China. Skills and knowledge, innovation ability, and data abstraction were the main objective of their study. Similarly, Martinez-González and Duffing ( 2007 ) analyzed the impact of convergence of European Union (EU) in different universities across Europe. According to their study, these institutes need to restructure their degree program and teaching methodologies. Moreover, Gudivada et al. ( 2007 ) proposed a student’s learning method to work with the large datasets. they have used the Amazon Web Services API and.NET/C# application to extract a subset of the product database to enhance student learning in a relational database course.

On the other hand, authors have also evaluated the traditional teaching methods to enhance the problem-solving skills among the students(Eaglestone & Nunes, 2004 ; Wang & Chen, 2014 ; Efendiouglu & Yelken, 2010 ) Such as, Eaglestone and Nunes ( 2004 ) shared their experiences of delivering a database design course at Sheffield University and discussed some of the issues they faced, regarding teaching, learning and assessments. Likewise, Wang and Chen ( 2014 ) summarized the problems mainly in teaching of the traditional database theory and application. According to the authors the teaching method is outdated and does not focus on the important combination of theory and practice. Moreover, Efendiouglu and Yelken ( 2010 ) investigated the effects of two different methods Programmed Instruction (PI) and Meaningful Learning (ML) on primary school teacher candidates’ academic achievements and attitudes toward computer-based education, and to define their views on these methods. The results show that PI is not favoured for teaching applications because of its behavioural structure Table ​ Table8 8 .

Methods: Teaching approaches adopted in DSE

Students become creative and innovative when the try to study on their own and also from different resources rather than curriculum books only. In the modern era, there are various resources available on both online and offline platforms. Modern teaching methods must emphasize on making the students independent from the curriculum books and educate them to learn independently(Amadio et al., 2003 ; Cai & Gao, 2019 ; Martin et al., 2013 ). Also, in the work of Kawash et al. ( 2020 ) proposed he group study-based learning approach called Graded Group Activities (GGAs). In this method students team up in order to take the exam as a group. On the other hand, few studies have emphasized on course content to prepare students for the final exams such as, Zheng and Dong ( 2011 ) have discussed the issues of computer science teaching with particular focus on database systems, where different characteristics of the course, teaching content and suggestions to teach this course effectively have been presented.

As technology is evolving at rapid speed, so students need to have practical experience from the start. Basic theoretical concepts of database are important but they are of no use without its implementation in real world projects. Most of the students study in the institutes with the aim of only clearing the exams with the help of theoretical knowledge and very few students want to have practical experience(Wang & Chen, 2014 ; Zheng & Dong, 2011 ). To reduce the gap between the theory and its implementation, authors have proposed teaching methods to develop the student’s interest in the real-world projects (Naik & Gajjar, 2021 ; Svahnberg et al., 2008 ; Taipalus et al., 2018 ). Moreover, Juxiang and Zhihong ( 2012 ) have proposed that the teaching organization starts from application scenarios, and associate database theoretical knowledge with the process from analysis, modeling to establishing database application. Also, Svahnberg et al. ( 2008 ) explained that in particular conditions, there is a possibility to use students as subjects for experimental studies in DSE and influencing them by providing responses that are in line with industrial practice.

On the other hand, Nelson et al. ( 2003 ) evaluated the different teaching methods used to teach different modules of database in the School of Computing and Technology at the University of Sunder- land. They outlined suggestions for changes to the database curriculum to further integrate research and state-of-the-art systems in databases.

  • III. Curriculum

Database curriculum has been revisited many times in the form of guidelines that not only present the contents but also suggest approximate time to cover different topics. According to the ACM curriculum guidelines (Lunt et al., 2008 ) for the undergraduate programs in computer science, the overall coverage time for this course is 46.50 h distributed in such a way that 11 h is the total coverage time for the core topics such as, Information Models (4 core hours), Database Systems (3 core hours) and Data Modeling (4 course hours). Whereas, the remaining hours are allocated for elective topics such as Indexing, Relational Databases, Query Languages, Relational Database Design, Transaction Processing, Distributed Databases, Physical Database Design, Data Mining, Information Storage and Retrieval, Hypermedia, Multimedia Systems, and Digital Libraries(Marshall, 2012 ). While, according to the ACM curriculum guidelines ( 2013 ) for undergraduate programs in computer science, this course should be completed in 15 weeks with two and half hour lecture per week and lab session of four hours per week on average (Brady et al., 2004 ). Thus, the revised version emphasizes on the practice based learning with the help of lab component. Numerous organizations have exerted efforts in this field to classify DSE (Dietrich et al., 2008 ). DSE model curricula, bodies of knowledge (BOKs), and some standardization aspects in this field are discussed below:

Model curricula

There are standard bodies who set the curriculum guidelines for teaching undergraduate degree programs in computing disciplines. Curricula which include the guidelines to teach database are: Computer Engineering Curricula (CEC) (Meier et al., 2008 ), Information Technology Curricula (ITC) (Alrumaih, 2016 ), Computing Curriculum Software Engineering (CCSE) (Meyer, 2001 ), Cyber Security Curricula (CSC) (Brady et al., 2004 ; Bishop et al., 2017 ).

Bodies of knowledge (BOK)

A BOK includes the set of thoughts and activities related to the professional area, while in model curriculum set of guidelines are given to address the education issues (Sahami et al., 2011 ). Database body of Knowledge comprises of (a) The Data Management Body of Knowledge (DM- BOK), (b) Software Engineering Education Knowledge (SEEK) (Sobel, 2003 ) (Sobel, 2003 ), and (c) The SE body of knowledge (SWEBOK) (Swebok Evolution: IEEE Computer Society n.d. ).

Apart from the model curricula, and bodies of knowledge, there also exist some standards related to the database and its different modules: ISO/IEC 9075–1:2016 (Computing Curricula, 1991 ), ISO/IEC 10,026–1: 1998 (Suryn, 2003 ).

We also utilize advices from some studies (Elberzhager et al., 2012 ; Keele et al., 2007 ) to search for relevant papers. In order to conduct this systematic study, it is essential to formulate the primary research questions (Mushtaq et al., 2017 ). Since the data management techniques and software are evolving rapidly, the database curriculum should also be updated accordingly to meet these new requirements. Some authors have described ways of updating the content of courses to keep pace with specific developments in the field and others have developed new database curricula to keep up with the new data management techniques.

Furthermore, some authors have suggested updates for the database curriculum based on the continuously evolving technology and introduction of big data. For instance Bhogal et al. ( 2012 ) have shown that database curricula need to be updated and modernized, which can be achieved by extending the current database concepts that cover the strategies to handle the ever changing user requirements and how database technology has evolved to meet the requirements. Likewise, Picciano ( 2012 ) examines the evolving world of big data and analytics in American higher education. According to the author, the “data driven” decision making method should be used to help the institutes evaluate strategies that can improve retention and update the curriculum that has big data basic concepts and applications, since data driven decision making has already entered in the big data and learning analytic era. Furthermore, Marshall ( 2011 ) presented the challenges faced when developing a curriculum for a Computer Science degree program in the South African context that is earmarked for international recognition. According to the author, the Curricula needs to adhere both to the policy and content requirements in order to be rated as being of a particular quality.

Similarly, some studies (Abourezq & Idrissi, 2016 ; Mingyu et al., 2017 ) described big data influence from a social perspective and also proceeded with the gaps in database curriculum of computer science, especially, in the big data era and discovers the teaching improvements in practical and theoretical teaching mode, teaching content and teaching practice platform in database curriculum. Also Silva et al. ( 2016 ) propose teaching SQL as a general language that can be used in a wide range of database systems from traditional relational database management systems to big data systems.

On the other hand, different authors have developed a database curriculum based on the different academic background of students. Such as, Dean and Milani ( 1995 ) have recommended changes in computer science curricula based on the practice in United Stated Military Academy (USMA). They emphasized greatly on the practical demonstration of the topic rather than the theoretical explanation. Especially, for the non-computer science major students. Furthermore, Urban and Dietrich ( 2001 ) described the development of a second course on database systems for undergraduates, preparing students for the advanced database concepts that they will exercise in the industry. They also shared their experience with teaching the course, elaborating on the topics and assignments. Also, Andersson et al. ( 2019 ) proposed variations in core topics of database management course for the students with the engineering background. Moreover, Dietrich et al. ( 2014 ) described two animations developed with images and color that visually and dynamically introduce fundamental relational database concepts and querying to students of many majors. The goal is that the educators, in diverse academic disciplines, should be able to incorporate these animations in their existing courses to meet their pedagogical needs.

The information systems have evolved into large scale distributed systems that store and process a huge amount of data across different servers, and process them using different distributed data processing frameworks. This evolution has given birth to new paradigms in database systems domain termed as NoSQL and Big Data systems, which significantly deviate from conventional relational and distributed database management systems. It is pertinent to mention that in order to offer a sustainable and practical CS education, these new paradigms and methodologies as shown in Fig.  5 should be included into database education (Kleiner, 2015 ). Tables ​ Tables9 9 and ​ and10 10 shows the summarized findings of the curriculum based reviewed studies. This section also proposed appropriate text book based on the theory, project, and practice-based teaching methodology as shown in Table ​ Table9. 9 . The proposed books are selected purely on the bases of their usage in top universities around the world such as, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Stanford University, Harvard University, University of Oxford, University of Cambridge and, University of Singapore and the coverage of core topics mentioned in the database curriculum.

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Concepts in Database Systems Education (Kleiner, 2015 )

Recommended text books for DSE

Curriculum: Findings of Reviewed Literature

RQ.2 Evolution of DSE research

This section discusses the evolution of database while focusing the DSE over the past 25 years as shown in Fig.  6 .

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Evolution of DSE studies

This study shows that there is significant increase in research in DSE after 2004 with 78% of the selected papers are published after 2004. The main reason of this outcome is that some of the papers are published in well-recognized channels like IEEE Transactions on Education, ACM Transactions on Computing Education, International Conference on Computer Science and Education (ICCSE), and Teaching, Learning and Assessment of Database (TLAD) workshop. It is also evident that several of these papers were published before 2004 and only a few articles were published during late 1990s. This is because of the fact that DSE started to gain interest after the introduction of Body of Knowledge and DSE standards. The data intensive scientific discovery has been discussed as the fourth paradigm (Hey et al., 2009 ): where the first involves empirical science and observations; second contains theoretical science and mathematically driven insights; third considers computational science and simulation driven insights; while the fourth involves data driven insights of modern scientific research.

Over the past few decades, students have gone from attending one-room class to having the world at their fingertips, and it is a great challenge for the instructors to develop the interest of students in learning database. This challenge has led to the development of the different types of interactive tools to help the instructors teach DSE in this technology oriented era. Keeping the importance of interactive tools in DSE in perspective, various authors have proposed different interactive tools over the years, such as during 1995–2003, when different authors proposed various interactive tools. Some studies (Abut & Ozturk, 1997 ; Mcintyre et al., 1995 ) introduced state of the art interactive tools to teach and enhance the collaborative learning among the students. Similarly, during 2004–2005 more interactive tools in the field of DSE were proposed such as Pahl et al. ( 2004 ), Connolly et al. ( 2005 ) introduced multimedia system based interactive model and game based collaborative learning environment.

The Internet has started to become more common in the first decade of the twenty-first century and its positive impact on the education sector was undeniable. Cost effective, student teacher peer interaction, keeping in touch with the latest information were the main reasons which made the instructors employ web-based tools to teach database in the education sector. Due to this spike in the demand of web-based tools, authors also started to introduce new instruments to assist with teaching database. In 2007 Regueras et al. ( 2007 ) proposed an e-learning tool named QUEST with a feedback module to help the students to learn from their mistakes. Similarly, in 2010, multiple authors have proposed and evaluated various web-based tools. Cvetanovic et al. ( 2010 ) proposed ADVICE with the functionality to monitor student’s progress, while, few authors (Wang et al., 2010 ) proposed Metube which is a variation of YouTube. Furthermore, Nelson and Fatimazahra ( 2010 ) evaluated different web-based tools to highlight the complexities of using these web-based instruments.

Technology has changed the teaching methods in the education sector but technology cannot replace teachers, and despite the amount of time most students spend online, virtual learning will never recreate the teacher-student bond. In the modern era, innovation in technology used in educational sectors is not meant to replace the instructors or teaching methods.

During the 1990s some studies (Dietrich & Urban, 1996 ; Urban & Dietrich, 1997 ) proposed learning and teaching methods respectively keeping the evolving technology in view. The highlight of their work was project deliverables and assignments where students progressively advanced to a step-by-step extension, from a tutorial exercise and then attempting more difficult extension of assignment.

During 2002–2007 various authors have discussed a number of teaching and learning methods to keep up the pace with the ever changing database technology, such as Connolly and Begg ( 2006 ) proposing a constructive approach to teach database analysis and design. Similarly, Prince and Felder ( 2006 ) reviewed the effectiveness of inquiry learning, problem based learning, project-based learning, case-based teaching, discovery learning, and just-in-time teaching. Also, McIntyre et al. (Mcintyre et al., 1995 ) brought to light the impact of convergence of European Union (EU) in different universities across Europe. They suggested a reconstruction of teaching and learning methodologies in order to effectively teach database.

During 2008–2013 more work had been done to address the different methods of teaching and learning in the field of DSE, like the work of Dominguez and Jaime ( 2010 ) who proposed an active learning approach. The focus of their study was to develop the interest of students in designing and developing databases. Also, Zheng and Dong ( 2011 ) have highlighted various characteristics of the database course and its teaching content. Similarly, Yuelan et al. ( 2011 ) have reformed database teaching methods. The main focus of their study were the Modern ways of education, project driven approach, strengthening the experimental aspects, and improving the traditional assessment method. Likewise, Al-Shuaily ( 2012 ) has explored 4 cognitive factors that can affect the learning process of database. The main focus of their study was to facilitate the students in learning SQL. Subsequently, Chen et al. ( 2012 ) also proposed scaffolding-based concept mapping strategy. This strategy helps the students to better understand database management courses. Correspondingly, Martin et al. ( 2013 ) discussed various collaborative learning techniques in the field of DSE while keeping database as an introductory course.

In the years between 2014 and 2021, research in the field of DSE increased, which was the main reason that the most of teaching, learning and assessment methods were proposed and discussed during this period. Rashid and Al-Radhy ( 2014 ) discussed the issues of traditional teaching, learning, assessing methods of database courses at different universities in Kurdistan and the main focus of their study being reformation issues, such as absence of teaching determination and contradiction between content and theory. Similarly, Wang and Chen ( 2014 ) summarized the main problems in teaching the traditional database theory and its application. Curriculum assessment mode was the main focus of their study. Eaglestone and Nunes ( 2004 ) shared their experiences of delivering a databases design course at Sheffield University. Their focus of study included was to teach the database design module to a diverse group of students from different backgrounds. Rashid ( 2015 ) discussed some important features of database courses, whereby reforming the conventional teaching, learning, and assessing strategies of database courses at universities were the main focus of this study. Kui et al. ( 2018 ) reformed the teaching mode of database courses based on flipped classroom. Initiative learning of database courses was their main focus in this study. Similarly, Zhang et al. ( 2018 ) discussed several effective classroom teaching measures. The main focus of their study was teaching content, teaching methods, teaching evaluation and assessment methods. Cai and Gao ( 2019 ) also carried out the teaching reforms in the database course of liberal arts. Diversified teaching modes, such as flipping classroom, case oriented teaching and task oriented were the focus of their study. Teaching Kawash et al. ( 2020 ) proposed a learning approach called Graded Group Activities (GGAs). Their main focus of the study was reforming learning and assessment method.

Database course covers several topics that range from data modeling to data implementation and examination. Over the years, various authors have given their suggestions to update these topics in database curriculum to meet the requirements of modern technologies. On the other hand, authors have also proposed a new curriculum for the students of different academic backgrounds and different areas. These reformations in curriculum helped the students in their preparation, practically and theoretically, and enabled them to compete in the competitive market after graduation.

During 2003 and 2006 authors have proposed various suggestions to update and develop computer science curriculum across different universities. Robbert and Ricardo ( 2003 ) evaluated three reviews from 1999 to 2002 that were given to the groups of educators. The focus of their study was to highlight the trends that occurred in database curriculum. Also, Calero et al. ( 2003 ) proposed a first draft for this Database Body of Knowledge (DBBOK). Database (DB), Database Design (DBD), Database Administration (DBAd), Database Application (DBAp) and Advance Databases (ADVDB) were the main focus of their study. Furthermore, Conklin and Heinrichs (Conklin & Heinrichs, 2005 ) compared the content included in 13 database textbooks and the main focus of their study was IS 2002, CC2001, and CC2004 model curricula.

The years from 2007 and 2011, authors managed to developed various database curricula, like Luo et al. ( 2008 ) developed curricula in Zhejiang University City College. The aim of their study to nurture students to be qualified computer scientists. Likewise, Dietrich et al. ( 2008 ) proposed the techniques to assess the development of an advanced database course. The purpose behind the addition of an advanced database course at undergraduate level was to prepare the students to respond to industrial requirements. Also, Marshall ( 2011 ) developed a new database curriculum for Computer Science degree program in the South African context.

During 2012 and 2021 various authors suggested updates for the database curriculum such as Bhogal et al. ( 2012 ) who suggested updating and modernizing the database curriculum. Data management and data analytics were the focus of their study. Similarly, Picciano ( 2012 ) examined the curriculum in the higher level of American education. The focus of their study was big data and analytics. Also, Zhanquan et al. ( 2016 ) proposed the design for the course content and teaching methods in the classroom. Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) were the focus of their study. Likewise, Mingyu et al. ( 2017 ) suggested updating the database curriculum while keeping new technology concerning the database in perspective. The focus of their study was big data.

The above discussion clearly shows that the SQL is most discussed topic in the literature where more than 25% of the studies have discussed it in the previous decade as shown in Fig.  7 . It is pertinent to mention that other SQL databases such as Oracle, MS access are discussed under the SQL banner (Chen et al., 2012 ; Hou & Chen, 2010 ; Wang & Chen, 2014 ). It is mainly because of its ability to handle data in a relational database management system and direct implementation of database theoretical concepts. Also, other database topics such as transaction management, application programming etc. are also the main highlights of the topics discussed in the literature.

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Evolution of Database topics discussed in literature

Research synthesis, advice for instructors, and way forward

This section presents the synthesized information extracted after reading and analyzing the research articles considered in this study. To this end, it firstly contextualizes the tools and methods to help the instructors find suitable tools and methods for their settings. Similarly, developments in curriculum design have also been discussed. Subsequently, general advice for instructors have been discussed. Lastly, promising future research directions for developing new tools, methods, and for revising the curriculum have also been discussed in this section.

Methods, tools, and curriculum

Methods and tools.

Web-based tools proposed by Cvetanovic et al. ( 2010 ) and Wang et al. ( 2010 ) have been quite useful, as they are growing increasingly pertinent as online mode of education is prevalent all around the globe during COVID-19. On the other hand, interactive tools and smart class room methodology has also been used successfully to develop the interest of students in database class. (Brusilovsky et al., 2010 ; Connolly et al., 2005 ; Pahl et al., 2004 ; Canedo et al., 2021 ; Ko et al., 2021 ).

One of the most promising combination of methodology and tool has been proposed by Cvetanovic et al. ( 2010 ), whereby they developed a tool named ADVICE that helps students learn and implement database concepts while using project centric methodology, while a game based collaborative learning environment was proposed by Connolly et al. ( 2005 ) that involves a methodology comprising of modeling, articulation, feedback, and exploration. As a whole, project centric teaching (Connolly & Begg, 2006 ; Domínguez & Jaime, 2010 ) and teaching database design and problem solving skills Wang and Chen ( 2014 ), are two successful approaches for DSE. Whereas, other studies (Urban & Dietrich, 1997 ) proposed teaching methods that are more inclined towards practicing database concepts. While a topic specific approach has been proposed by Abbasi et al. ( 2016 ), Taipalus et al. ( 2018 ) and Silva et al. ( 2016 ) to teach and learn SQL. On the other hand, Cai and Gao ( 2019 ) developed a teaching method for students who do not have a computer science background. Lastly, some useful ways for defining assessments for DSE have been proposed by Kawash et al. ( 2020 ) and Zhang et al. ( 2018 ).

Curriculum of database adopted by various institutes around the world does not address how to teach the database course to the students who do not have a strong computer science background. Such as Marshall ( 2012 ), Luo et al. ( 2008 ) and Zhanquan et al. ( 2016 ) have proposed the updates in current database curriculum for the students who are not from computer science background. While Abid et al. ( 2015 ) proposed a combined course content and various methodologies that can be used for teaching database systems course. On the other hand, current database curriculum does not include the topics related to latest technologies in database domain. This factor was discussed by many other studies as well (Bhogal et al., 2012 ; Mehmood et al., 2020 ; Picciano, 2012 ).

Guidelines for instructors

The major conclusion of this study are the suggestions based on the impact and importance for instructors who are teaching DSE. Furthermore, an overview of productivity of every method can be provided by the empirical studies. These instructions are for instructors which are the focal audience of this study. These suggestions are subjective opinions after literature analysis in form of guidelines according to the authors and their meaning and purpose were maintained. According to the literature reviewed, various issues have been found in this section. Some other issues were also found, but those were not relevant to DSE. Following are some suggestions that provide interesting information:

Project centric and applied approach

  • To inculcate database development skills for the students, basic elements of database development need to be incorporated into teaching and learning at all levels including undergraduate studies (Bakar et al., 2011 ). To fulfill this objective, instructors should also improve the data quality in DSE by assigning the projects and assignments to the students where they can assess, measure and improve the data quality using already deployed databases. They should demonstrate that the quality of data is determined not only by the effective design of a database, but also through the perception of the end user (Mathieu & Khalil, 1997 )
  • The gap between the database course theory and industrial practice is big. Fresh graduate students find it difficult to cope up with the industrial pressure because of the contrast between what they have been taught in institutes and its application in industry (Allsopp et al., 2006 ). Involve top performers from classes in industrial projects so that they are able to acquiring sufficient knowledge and practice, especially for post graduate courses. There must be some other activities in which industry practitioners come and present the real projects and also share their industrial experiences with the students. The gap between theoretical and the practical sides of database has been identified by Myers and Skinner ( 1997 ). In order to build practical DS concepts, instructors should provide the students an accurate view of reality and proper tools.

Importance of software development standards and impact of DB in software success

  • They should have the strategies, ability and skills that can align the DSE course with the contemporary Global Software Development (GSD) (Akbar & Safdar, 2015 ; Damian et al., 2006 ).
  • Enable the students to explain the approaches to problem solving, development tools and methodologies. Also, the DS courses are usually taught in normal lecture format. The result of this method is that students cannot see the influence on the success or failure of projects because they do not realize the importance of DS activities.

Pedagogy and the use of education technology

  • Some studies have shown that teaching through play and practical activities helps to improve the knowledge and learning outcome of students (Dicheva et al., 2015 ).
  • Interactive classrooms can help the instructors to deliver their lecture in a more effective way by using virtual white board, digital textbooks, and data over network(Abut & Ozturk, 1997 ). We suggest that in order to follow the new concept of smart classroom, instructors should use the experience of Yau and Karim ( 2003 ) which benefits in cooperative learning among students and can also be adopted in DSE.
  • The instructors also need to update themselves with full spectrum of technology in education, in general, and for DSE, in particular. This is becoming more imperative as during COVID the world is relying strongly on the use of technology, particularly in education sector.

Periodic Curriculum Revision

  • There is also a need to revisit the existing series of courses periodically, so that they are able to offer the following benefits: (a) include the modern day database system concepts; (b) can be offered as a specialization track; (c) a specialized undergraduate degree program may also be designed.

DSE: Way forward

This research combines a significant work done on DSE at one place, thus providing a point to find better ways forward in order to improvise different possible dimensions for improving the teaching process of a database system course in future. This section discusses technology, methods, and modifications in curriculum would most impact the delivery of lectures in coming years.

Several tools have already been developed for effective teaching and learning in database systems. However, there is a great room for developing new tools. Recent rise of the notion of “serious games” is marking its success in several domains. Majority of the research work discussed in this review revolves around web-based tools. The success of serious games invites researchers to explore this new paradigm of developing useful tools for learning and practice database systems concepts.

Likewise, due to COVID-19 the world is setting up new norms, which are expected to affect the methods of teaching as well. This invites the researchers to design, develop, and test flexible tools for online teaching in a more interactive manner. At the same time, it is also imperative to devise new techniques for assessments, especially conducting online exams at massive scale. Moreover, the researchers can implement the idea of instructional design in web-based teaching in which an online classroom can be designed around the learners’ unique backgrounds and effectively delivering the concepts that are considered to be highly important by the instructors.

The teaching, learning and assessment methods discussed in this study can help the instructors to improve their methods in order to teach the database system course in a better way. It is noticed that only 16% of authors have the assessment methods as their focus of study, which clearly highlights that there is still plenty of work needed to be done in this particular domain. Assessment techniques in the database course will help the learners to learn from their mistakes. Also, instructors must realize that there is a massive gap between database theory and practice which can only be reduced with maximum practice and real world database projects.

Similarly, the technology is continuously influencing the development and expansion of modern education, whereas the instructors’ abilities to teach using online platforms are critical to the quality of online education.

In the same way, the ideas like flipped classroom in which students have to prepare the lesson prior to the class can be implemented on web-based teaching. This ensures that the class time can be used for further discussion of the lesson, share ideas and allow students to interact in a dynamic learning environment.

The increasing impact of big data systems, and data science and its anticipated impact on the job market invites the researchers to revisit the fundamental course of database systems as well. There is a need to extend the boundaries of existing contents by including the concepts related to distributed big data systems data storage, processing, and transaction management, with possible glimpse of modern tools and technologies.

As a whole, an interesting and long term extension is to establish a generic and comprehensive framework that engages all the stakeholders with the support of technology to make the teaching, learning, practicing, and assessing easier and more effective.

This SLR presents review on the research work published in the area of database system education, with particular focus on teaching the first course in database systems. The study was carried out by systematically selecting research papers published between 1995 and 2021. Based on the study, a high level categorization presents a taxonomy of the published under the heads of Tools, Methods, and Curriculum. All the selected articles were evaluated on the basis of a quality criteria. Several methods have been developed to effectively teach the database course. These methods focus on improving learning experience, improve student satisfaction, improve students’ course performance, or support the instructors. Similarly, many tools have been developed, whereby some tools are topic based, while others are general purpose tools that apply for whole course. Similarly, the curriculum development activities have also been discussed, where some guidelines provided by ACM/IEEE along with certain standards have been discussed. Apart from this, the evolution in these three areas has also been presented which shows that the researchers have been presenting many different teaching methods throughout the selected period; however, there is a decrease in research articles that address the curriculum and tools in the past five years. Besides, some guidelines for the instructors have also been shared. Also, this SLR proposes a way forward in DSE by emphasizing on the tools: that need to be developed to facilitate instructors and students especially post Covid-19 era, methods: to be adopted by the instructors to close the gap between the theory and practical, Database curricula update after the introduction of emerging technologies such as big data and data science. We also urge that the recognized publication venues for database research including VLDB, ICDM, EDBT should also consider publishing articles related to DSE. The study also highlights the importance of reviving the curricula, tools, and methodologies to cater for recent advancements in the field of database systems.

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Advances in Databases and Information Systems

  • Published: 27 December 2017
  • Volume 20 , pages 1–6, ( 2018 )

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  • Ladjel Bellatreche 1 ,
  • Patrick Valduriez 2 &
  • Tadeusz Morzy 3  

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1 Introduction

The success stories of the database technology keep companies continuously demanding more and more efficient services related to two principal entities: data and queries . The services dedicated to data concern mainly the following tasks: collecting, cleaning, filtering, integration, sharing, storing, transferring, visualizing, analyzing, securing. Regarding queries, services are often concentrated on processing, optimizing, personalizing and recommending. These services of both entities have to be revisited and extended to deal with the dimensions brought by Big Data Era and the new requirements of companies in the contexts of globalization, competition and climate change.

While (Huang et al. 2017 ) point out the seven V’s of Big Data, we would like to highlight four dimensions characterized by four V’s of Big Data, that challenges the traditional solutions of databases, in terms of data acquisition, storage, management and analysis. The first V concerns the Volume of data generated by traditional and new providers. To illustrate the data deluge, let consider three examples of data providers: Footnote 1 (i) the massive use of sensors (e.g. 10 Terabyte of data are generated by planes every 30 minutes), (ii) the massive use of social networks (e.g., 340 million tweets per day), (iii) transactions (Walmart handles more than 1 million customer transactions every hour, which is imported into databases estimated to contain more than 2.5 Peta-bytes of data). The second V is associated to the Variety, where data may come from various data sources, in different formats such as transactions, log data, social network, sensors, etc. from various applications, structured data as database table, semi-structured data such as XML data, unstructured data such as text, images, video streams, audio statement, and more. The third V is about the Velocity, where large amounts of data from transactions with high refresh rate resulting in data streams coming at great speed. The time to act on the basis of these data streams will often be very short. Consequently, the traditional batch processing has to move to real time streaming. The fourth V that got little attention is related to Vocabulary used to describe schemes, data models, semantics, ontologies, taxonomies, and other content- and context-based metadata that describe the data’s structure, syntax, content, and provenance.

The traditional database non-functional requirements were mainly focused on (i) improving low-latency query processing to satisfy the needs of end users (e.g., decision makers), (ii) minimizing the maintenance cost of the databases and optimization structures (e.g. indexes and materialized views) and (iii) better usage of the storage cost dedicated to store the optimization structures have been considered. These requirements have been enriched by new ones; mainly motivated by the development of green computing and services delivered by Cloud Computing. This for some years now, the international community regrouping states, governments, associations, and users has been closely involved in climate change by proposing initiatives to limit global warming. The database community has spared no effort propose initiatives in this sense. As a consequence, the reduction of energy has become a new non-functional requirement integrated in the processes of design and the exploitation of database and information systems (Roukh et al. 2017 ). The Claremont report on database research states the importance of designing power-aware DBMSs that limit energy costs without sacrificing scalability. This is also echoed in the more recent Beckman report on databases, which considers the energy constrained processing as a challenging issue in Big Data (Abadi et al. 2016 ). Another non-functional requirement that emerges with the development of Cloud computing is the pricing (Pay-as-You-Go) (Toosi et al. 2016 ). This is because Cloud computing providers offer numerous on-line services based on SLA (Service Level Agreement) between them and their customers.

Considerations above open the door to innovative research directions and challenges for the database research community, yet exploiting two opportunities: (i) computational and storage resource modeling and organization; (ii) Big Data programming models and (iii) processing power. This can be accomplished by means of actual powerful hardware and infrastructures as well as new programming models available at now.

Opportunity 1

The database storage systems are evolving towards decentralized commodity clusters that can scale in terms of capacity, processing power, and network throughput. The efforts that have been deployed to design such systems share simultaneously physical resources and data between applications. Cloud computing largely contributed in augmenting sharing capabilities of these systems thanks to their nice characteristics: elasticity , flexibility , on-demand storage and computing services .

Opportunity 2

Despite the data deluge and spectacular power of machines, traditional programming languages show their limitations. A new generation of programming models has been proposed, known by Big Data programming models (Wu et al. 2017 ). They represent the style of programming and present the interface paradigm for developers to write big data application programs (Wu et al. 2017 ). A nice classification of these programming paradigms is given in Wu et al. ( 2017 ). The authors distinguished eight classes of programming models: (1) Mapreduce (e.g. Hadoop), (2) functional (e.g. Spark, Flink), (3) SQL-based (e.g. HiveQL, SparkSQL), Actor (e.g., Akka, Storm), (5) statistical and analytical (e.g. R, Mahout), (6) dataflow (e.g. Oozie, Dryad), (7) Bulk Synchronous Parallel (BSP) (e.g. Giraph, Hama) and hogh-level DSL (e.g. Pig Latin, Linq).

Opportunity 3

Traditionally, storage systems managed databases that were primarily stored on secondary storage and only a small part of the data could fit in main memory. Therefore, disk Input-Output (IO) was the dominating cost factor. Nowadays, it is possible to equip servers with several terabytes of main memory, which allows us to keep databases in main memory to avoid the IO bottleneck (Arnold et al. 2014 ). Therefore, the performance of databases became limited by memory access and processing power (Breß et al. 2014 ). Many heterogeneous devices (e.g. GPU, FPGA, APU) are available and can be used in parallel in order to process database operations, where each processor is optimized for a certain application scenario (Breß et al. 2014 , 2016 ).

The database community, including researchers, industrials and funding organizations has spared no effort to conduct advanced research, by exploiting the achievements and above opportunities, to satisfy the requirements of companies in terms of data management and exploitation.

In the rest of this article, we first discuss some specific research challenges around the databases. We also present, in Section  3 , some of the latest development in this research area. We particularly report four research papers addressing different aspects of the database challenges.

2 Databases Research Challenges

The database and information systems technologies raise a good number of research challenges and in this section, we will discuss some of the most important ones, which are related to ADBIS conference, which represents the origin of this special section.

The ADBIS conference is one of concrete examples of these efforts. The ADBIS conference has been widely accepted as a key technology for enterprises and organizations to improve their abilities in data modeling, data management, data exploitation and information systems. The ADBIS conference has attracted the international interest of the research community and is being mentioned in several ranking lists and indexed in several digital libraries (e.g. DBLP, Google Scholar, Microsoft Academic Search).

The first challenge we would like to discuss is the management of evolution of new advanced databases. Methodologies and techniques used for designing advanced databases (data integration systems, data warehouses, data marts, etc.), research developments, and most of the commercially available technologies tacitly assumed that a semantic integration system is static (Bellatreche and Wrembel 2013 ). In practice, however, this assumption turned out to be false. An advanced database system requires changes among others as the result of: (1) the evolution of data sources, (2) changes of the real world represented in an integration system, (3) the evolution of domain ontologies and knowledge bases (such as DBpedia, FreeBase, Linked Open Data Cloud, Yago, etc.) usually involved in the construction of these databases, (4) new user requirements, and (5) creating simulation scenarios (what-if analysis).

As reported in the literature, structures of data sources change frequently. For example, during the last 4 years, the schema of Wikipedia changed every 9–10 days, on the average. From our experience, schemas of data sources may change even more frequently. For example, telecommunication data sources changed their schemas every 7–13 days, on the average. Banking data sources are more stable but they changed their schemas every 2–4 weeks, on the average. Changes in the structures of data sources impact all the layers of advanced database systems. Since such changes are frequent, developing solutions and tools for handling them automatically or semi-automatically is of high practical importance.

The data cleaning , also called data cleansing or scrubbing represents a serious challenge when integrating data from various sources (Rahm and Do 2000 ). It aims at detecting and removing errors and inconsistencies from data in order to improve the quality of data. Data cleaning is especially required when integrating heterogeneous data sources and should be addressed together with schema-related data transformations. In data warehouses, data cleaning is a major part of the so-called ETL (Extract, Transform, Load) process. The first task of an ETL process is to extract data from multiple data sources, typically into a Data Staging Area (DSA). Once data are available in a DSA, the second phase is to perform data quality checks and transformations in order to make data clean and consistent with the structure of a materialized integration system. Finally, the third phase is to load data into an integration system. The ETL process is error-prone and cause significant downtime; especially, when it deals with a deluge of data issued from various and heterogeneous data sources. The causes of these errors concern mainly availability of data sources, reading, writing, incomplete data, duplicate, system crash or power outage machine hosted ETL, etc. The development of rigorous of testing procedure before the loading task contributes in increasing the quality of data integration systems.

A connected issue to the ETL quality concern its performance. It should be noticed that ETL processes are performed outside DBMS. An ETL process is typically implemented as a work-flow, where various tasks (a.k.a. activities or operations), which process data, are connected by data flows (Ali and Wrembel 2017 ). Optimizing this work-flow is one of important challenges for ETL research community, especially, in Big Data Era, where various sources are involved in the integration process, with a deluge of data. The recourse to Big Data programming models are highly recommended (Ali and Wrembel 2017 ).

The fourth challenge is related the vocabulary brought by Big Data. The vocabulary has a great role in designing new applications requiring semantics. Let us consider the example of an emerging topic which is the Cultural Heritage that faces an array of challenges. Scientific researchers, organizations, associations, schools are looking for relevant technologies for accessing, integrating, sharing, annotating, visualizing, analyzing the mine of cultural collections by considering profiles and preferences of end users. Most cultural information systems today process data based on the syntactic level without leveraging the rich semantic structures underlying the content. Moreover, they use multiple thesauri without a formal connection between them. This situation has been identified in the 90’s when the need to build a unique interface to access huge collection of data has appeared. During the last decades, Semantic Web solutions have been proposed to explicit the semantic of data sources and make their content machine understandable and interoperable. Efforts on integrating the Web Semantic technology in the Cultural Heritage have to be taken, by constructing adequate ontologies and vocabularies (Markhoff et al. 2017 ).

Finally, another challenge that has to be addressed is the development of cost models evaluating the non-functional requirements. Generally speaking, a cost model ( \(\mathcal {CM}\) ) can be seen as a mathematical function with input parameters and as an output the value of the measured cost in terms of response time, size and/or energy. A \(\mathcal {CM}\) has five main roles: (i) it selects the best query plans (Andrès et al. 1995 ), (ii) it guides algorithms to select optimization structures such as indexes, materialized views, etc. Bellatreche et al. ( 2000 ), (iii) it is used to deploy a database in advanced platforms (parallel, Cloud, etc.) Kunjir et al. ( 2017 ), (iv) it is used by advisory tools to assist database administrators in various of systems tuning and physical design (Chaudhuri and Narasayya 1998 ) and (v) self-driving database management systems (Pavlo et al. 2017 ). A \(\mathcal {CM}\) is difficult to develop, since it includes several parameters belonging to databases, platforms, DBMS, queries, devices, etc. Ouared et al. ( 2016 ). The evolution of non-functional requirements, databases, processing devises, storage systems, etc. pushes the database community to propose methodologies and guidelines to construct, calibrate and validate \(\mathcal {CM}\) s.

3 Papers in this Special Section

We got 14 papers for our special section distributed as follows:

two papers from the main conference ADBIS (Morzy et al. 2015 );

the best paper of each ADBIS workshop. It should be noticed that MEBIS and GIG Workshops were merged. In total, we got 6 papers from ADBIS workshops;

six papers from our open call.

Authors of selected papers (from ADBIS main conference and its workshops) were invited to submit an extended version with at least 30% difference in technical content. These papers were evaluated by at least two reviewers. After a second round of reviews, we finally accepted four papers. Thus, the relative acceptance rate for the papers included in this special section is competitive (28.5%). Needless to say, these four papers represent innovative and high quality research. The topics of these accepted papers are very timely and include: Big Data Applications and Principles, Evolving Business Intelligence Systems, Cultural Heritage Preservation and Enhancement and database evolution management.

We congratulate the authors of these four papers and thank all authors who submitted articles to ADBIS 2014 and our special section. It should be noticed that certain papers used case studies issued from international projects funded either by European Commission or German Research Foundation.

The four selected papers are summarized as follows:

The first paper titled: Evaluating Queries and Updates on Big XML Documents by Carlo Sartiani, Nicole Bidoit, Dario Colazzo and Noor Malla presents Andromeda – a system able to execute a subcategory of iterative and update XQuery Queries over MapReduce (Sartiani et al. 2018 ). This subcategory is identified as queries that iterate over forward XPaths, and can therefore easily be distributed by partitioning the document according to these paths. The authors described the global architecture, the basic principle and the used algorithms of Andromeda . The basic idea of this system is to dynamically and/or statically partition the input data to leverage on the parallelism of a Map/Reduce cluster and to increase the scalability. A great effort on formalization of iterative XQuery queries and updates has to be highlighted. Two partitioning algorithms are given for iterative XQuery queries and updates, respectively. Intensive experiments have been conducted on a multi-tenant cluster composed of a single master machine and 100 slave machines. Two distinct datasets have been used covering iterative and updates queries. The proposal is compared against the existing systems such as BaseX.

The second paper titled: Dependency Modelling for Inconsistency Management in Digital Preservation - The PERICLES Approach , by Nikolaos Lagos, Marina Riga, Panagiotis Mitzias, Jean-Yves Vion-Dury, Efstratios Kontopoulos, Simon Waddington, Georgios Meditskos, Pip Laurenson, and Ioannis Kompatsiaris presents an important aspect of the PERICLES project: the Linked Resource Model (LRM). A conceptual model to handle contextual and environmental constraints, focusing on the preservation of cultural heritage is presented (Lagos et al. 2018 ). In the proposed approach, models provide an abstract representation of essential aspects of the environment. The goal is to model details of dependencies concerning components of the artwork. For instance, a dependency between MS Visio and JPEG objects. The LRM provides concepts that allow recording when a change is triggered and its impact on other entities. Here the LRM is extended by links to other existing ontologies giving rise to Digital Video Art (DVA), a domain-specific model. Examples of automatic reasoning and handling of inconsistencies are given, based on the use of SPIN. The presented case study concerns the preservation of video art and considers the problem of how technology changes are managed and traced over time. The particularity of this paper is its usage of a domain-independent ontology (LRM), combined with domain-specific ontology, to model changes to video art. It also applied to in detecting inconsistencies. This work presents one of the key outcomes of the PERICLES FP7 project ( http://pericles-project.eu/ ).

The third paper entitled Robust and Simple Database Evolution , by Kai Herrmann, Hannes Voigt, Jonas Rausch, Andreas Behrend and Wolfgang Lehner presents a domain specific language (DSL), named CoDEL, to support the database evolution process. Apart from the language concepts and syntax, the authors prove that their language is as expressive as the relational algebra. The paper starts from a very important and real supposition that, nowadays, the process of software evolution including updates to meet frequent changes of the user requirements is much better supported than the process of database evolution. The main argument given by the authors of this paper is based on the fact that the database evolution process often presents a major bottleneck in the whole software evolution process (Herrmann et al. 2018 ). CoDEL is a well-defined relationally complete database evolution language and consequently, it can serve as a reference language for productive implementations of database evolution in DBMSs or as foundation for further support of database evolution. As an example, the authors present semi-automatic variant co-evolution. This work is funded by the German Research Foundation (Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft; DFG) within the RoSI research training group (GRK 1907).

The fourth paper titled ETL Workflow Reparation by Means of Case-Based Reasoning , by Artur Wojciechowski presents a topic of high interest dealing with the following problem: How to cope with data source evolution in the ETL context? The paper proposes a prototype ETL framework, called E-ETL for repairing ETL workows semi automatically when structural changes in data sources occur (Wojciechowski 2018 ). The framework is based on a Case-Based Reasoning method. It consists of two main algorithms: (1) Case Detection Algorithm and (2) Best Case Searching Algorithm for choosing the most appropriate case. A test case scenario is presented for illustrating the approach. An experimental evaluation of the approach with respect to its performance is presented, for 6 different factors influencing the performance.


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We hope readers will find the content of this special section interesting and will inspire them to look further into the challenges that are still ahead before designing and exploiting advanced database and information systems.

The guest editors of this special section wish to express their sincere gratitude to all the authors who submitted their papers to this special section. We are also grateful to the Reviewing Committee for the hard work and the feedback provided to the authors. As guest editors of this special section, we also wish to express our gratitude to the Editors-in-Chief: Professor R. Ramesh and Professor H.R. Rao for the opportunity to edit this special section for our ADBIS conference, their assistance during the special section preparation, and for giving the authors the opportunity to publish their work in Information Systems Frontiers. We would like to mention that it is the first time that ADBIS conference organizes a special section for Information Systems Frontiers Journal, Springer, and this coincides with the first French organization of ADBIS in 2015 in Poitiers City . Last but not least, we wish to thank the Journal’s staff for their assistance and suggestions.

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Ladjel Bellatreche

INRIA and LIRMM, Montpellier, France

Patrick Valduriez

Institute of Computing Science, Poznan University of Technology, Poznan, Poland

Tadeusz Morzy

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Correspondence to Ladjel Bellatreche .

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Bellatreche, L., Valduriez, P. & Morzy, T. Advances in Databases and Information Systems. Inf Syst Front 20 , 1–6 (2018). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10796-017-9819-2

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Published : 27 December 2017

Issue Date : February 2018

DOI : https://doi.org/10.1007/s10796-017-9819-2

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    One way to maintain the security of the database is to use encryption techniques. The method used to secure the database is encryption using the ROTI3 and Caesar Cipher methods. Both of these methods have advantages in processing speed. For thisreason, the author will compare the use of the two algorithms above in terms of the encryption and ...

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  22. Nvd

    References to Advisories, Solutions, and Tools. By selecting these links, you will be leaving NIST webspace. We have provided these links to other web sites because they may have information that would be of interest to you.