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July 15, 2004

4 Days of Data Modelling and Writing SQL

Monday I started on a project to rewrite how our system thinks about a course. I wrote out a few thoughts we'd gathered in the past few years about what's wrong with our course data and then dove into documentation from several other projects who have been working on this issue; IMS Global Learning Consortium, MIT's Open Knowledge Initiative and OpenCourseWare, Internet2 MACE group's eduCourse and courseID and the Sakai project. Tufts University has been involved in all of these in one way or another. I guess we see value in using existing knowledge both because it makes our job easier and so that at some future point we may more easily share our courses having used something that's hopefully moving towards a standard.

After a day of review I came up with a primitive sketch, and on Tuesday a few of us met for 2 hours hashing a number of issues out. Since then I've been writing documentation, which includes SQL statements to build the database structure.

There's still a ways to go on the documentation, and no doubt after review there will be some changes, but I'm getting antsy to get on to the next phase. Not so much because I'm looking forward to the next phase, but because I'm exhausted. Having to keep my head around the terminology, tables and relationships is tiring. The next phase is writing conversion tools to migrate data from the existing structure to the new tables, should be lighter work. After that is writing some code which will actually present the data.

Posted by mike at July 15, 2004 3:22 PM