Online Introduction to Databases class

I recently finished a free online course from Stanford on Databases (link to course webpage). It’s taught by Professor Jennifer Widom, who gives excellent lectures throughout the course. The exercises are well thought out and fun to do, and the online submission and grading system is very intuitive. Another nice feature is the “progress” tab, which shows a bar graph of all the points you’ve earned on each individual assignment, as well as your current total of points for the course. The progress graph makes writing SQL and XML queries feel like playing a video game.

I really enjoyed the challenge of thinking of ways to build up different sets using nested SQL queries. Besides just learning SQL for its own sake, taking the class has helped me understand the conventions behind some operations in other environments, for example dataframe joins in pandas. I definitely feel much more powerful in regards to accessing and manipulating data after taking the class.

I highly recommend the class. I imagine it will be offered again.