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Stanford University

Introduction to Databases

Stanford University and Meta via Coursera


In this course, you will be introduced to databases and explore the modern ways in which they are used. Learn to distinguish between different types of database management systems then practice basic creation and data selection with the use of Structured Query Language (SQL) commands. By the end of this course, you’ll be able to: - Demonstrate a working knowledge of the concepts and principles that underpin how databases work - Identify and explain the different types of core technology and management systems used in databases - Identify and interpret basic SQL statements and commands - Manipulate records in a database with the use of SQL statements and commands - Outline alternatives to SQL - and plan and design a simple relational database system You’ll also gain experience with the following: • Fundamental concepts in database • Basic MySQL syntax and commands • Database management systems • MySQL software • Relational databases


  • Introduction to Databases
    • In this module, you’ll receive an introduction to the course and explore possible career roles that you could follow as a database engineer. You’ll also review some tips on how to take this course successfully and discuss what it is that you hope to learn. As part of your introduction, you’ll learn about the basics of databases and data and how they work. You’ll then receive an introduction to SQL, or Standard Query Language, the coding syntax used to interact with databases. Finally, you’ll explore the basic structure of databases and discover the different types of keys they use.
  • Create, Read, Update and Delete (CRUD) Operations
    • In this module, you’ll explore CRUD, or Create, Read Update and Delete operations. You’ll begin with an exploration of SQL data types and learn how to differentiate between numeric data, string data and default values. You’ll also embark upon several exercises in which you’ll learn how to utilize these different data types within your database projects. You’ll then move on to learn how to Create and Read data within a database. You’ll discover how to create databases and tables and populate them with data using SQL statements. Lastly, you’ll explore the SQL statements used for updating and deleting data in a database. And to demonstrate your ability with CRUD operations, you’ll complete exercises that will task you with creating and managing data.
  • SQL Operators and sorting and filtering data
    • In this module, you’ll explore SQL operators and learn how to sort and filter data. You’ll begin this module with a lesson on SQL operators. As part of this first lesson, you’ll explore the syntax and process steps used to deploy SQL arithmetic and comparison operators within a database. Next, you’ll discover how to sort and filter data using clauses. The clauses that you’ll learn about include the Order By clause, Where clause and Select Distinct clause. In each lesson item, you’ll receive an overview of how each clause is used to sort and filter data in a database. You’ll also view demonstrations of these clauses and then receive an opportunity to try them for yourself.
  • Database design
    • In this module, you’ll learn about database design. In the first lesson, you’ll receive an overview of how to design a database schema. As part of this overview, you’ll learn about basic database design concepts like schema and find out about different types of schemas. The next lesson focuses on relational database design. In this lesson, you’ll explore how to establish relationships between tables in a database using keys. You’ll also learn about the different types of keys that are used in relational database design, such as primary keys and foreign keys.
  • Graded assessment
    • In this module, you’ll have an opportunity to recap what you learned and identify your strengths as well as target topics that you would like to revisit in this course.

Taught by

Jennifer Widom


4.7 rating, based on 30 Class Central reviews

4.7 rating at Coursera based on 1007 ratings

Start your review of Introduction to Databases

  • Henrik Warne
    There was a total of almost 900 minutes of video lectures, or 100 minutes per week on average. The video lectures showed the material to be covered as slides, with a small picture in the lower right-hand corner showing Professor Widom as she present…
  • Rio Akasaka
    The DB-class had one fantastic feature that made it a lot more fun to work with databases: a “Command Workbench” that would allow one to test SQLite queries, triggers or transactions within the browser. Jennifer dangled Jamba Juice cards for anyone who could find bugs, and it was remarkable to note that there was I think just one documented case of anyone getting those cards, because there weren’t any issues to uncover. The sheer volume of the homework assignments (and the fact that most of them had some sort of mechanism to check whether or not your answers were correct) made the whole exercise a little too pedantic at times: I’d be like “all right, all right! I understand transactions already!”
  • Anonymous
    The perfect introduction to databases, this course gave me an incredible grounding from which to start using databases at work. I started out knowing nothing about databases and by the end of the course I was more than ready to use them in a professional capacity. I have since implemented a lot of what I learned form this course at work. Brilliant lectures, great exercises, broad coverage of the topic, thanks prof Widom!!!
  • Franklin Chen
    Overall, the course was not very difficult. The in-lecture quizzes were very helpful, and one of the highlights of this learning format. They enabled me to get quick assessment of whether I totally understood the material I just watched or needed to review a bit more.

    Without more detailed homework and projects that would require supplemental reading, there was less depth than there would be in a traditional course.
  • Anonymous
    Prof Windom provides an excellent dose of RDB theory and programming using free, open source tools like mysql and postgres. This course became relatively challenging (for me) during classes covering XSLT. I appreciated the challenge. As a result of this class, I was able to go out and develop a relatively sophisticated DB in mysql. Unfortunately the course did not cover interfacing with the DB to create reports in a format useable to most businesses, but that was a lesson I had to pursue on my own.
  • John Johnson
    This class consisted of video lectures, review questions, and exercises. Topics covered included XML (markup, DTDs, schema, XPath, XQuery, and XSLT) and relational databases (relational algebra, database normalization, SQL, constraints, triggers, views, authentication, online analytical processing, and recursion). At the end we had a quick lesson on NoSQL systems just to introduce the topic and discuss where they are appropriate.
  • Anonymous
    Agree with all previous reviews. Very useful course. It's open for self-study on coursera and I was coming back to look up a solution for the queries I had to write at work. In addition to relation databases, it also has pretty deep XML portion. The course is intense, I was spending all weekends doing homework, but once done, it will stay with you forever and you will be using it in everyday life. Highly recommend!
  • CJ Fearnley
    I was very impressed with the breadth of Widom’s approach to the subject: it was a major reason I decided to spend time on the course. Another strength is its nuts-n-bolts approach: some theoretical topics are covered but for the most part this is a course for practitioners. Finally, I particularly appreciated the extensive use of FOSS (Free and Open Source Software) in the course.
  • Anonymous
    Have to agree that if you're aiming for certificate, get ready to work hard. The course is designed in such way that you can master each component (either XML or SQL) separately. if you're interested only in database material (as I was) you can take your time and do all SQL-related work only. For certificate, deadlines and % of the correct answers matter though.
  • Anonymous
    This was the first online course I took and it was very well done. Professor Widom explained things very well. This course is relevant to my everyday work as well as I'm a DBA Developer. Would recommend this class to anyone!
  • Anonymous
    Everything you need to know to get started and keep working with databases. Quizzes are challenging, and there are two exams. But the good part is that you could test the answers unlimited time until you get it right.
  • Anonymous
    This is a more theoretical class than it is a practical class. Less of the actual running of a database. Lectures are good and there is a great progression, overall a pretty good class.
  • Anonymous
    Finally I could find a course where databases where explained in a clear and simple way. The huge amount of example and exercises is a great learning tool.
  • Anonymous
    The first MOOX I took.

    Excellent class, with very clear and precise explanation.

    A must to better understand the databases.
  • Anonymous
    Not a beginner's course. Excellent lectures and assignments. Stanford's quality. Proud to have it on my resume.
  • Anonymous
    XPATH and XML material was very relevant to my job tasks as I have to do a lot of XML parsing. Thank you!
  • Anonymous
    Very powerful course on Databases. Lots of exercises.

    Many thanks to the author!
  • Anonymous
    An excellent course on relational databases/ SQL as well as XML, JSON, NoSQL.
  • Anonymous
    The only db class available on the web. Great lectures and plenty of practice.
  • Anonymous
    Great course. Highly recommended. Be aware the workload is heavy though :-)

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