February’s featured digital faculty member: Alanah Mitchell

Each month a faculty member, nominated by their dean, is recognized for their efforts to integrate innovative technology into their classroom. February’s digital faculty member of the month is Alanah Mitchell, associate professor of Information Systems, College of Business and Public Administration. Read an interview with Alanah below:

Which course do you use this technology in? 
IS 160: Database Management. In this course, required for all Information Systems students as well as Data Analytics students, we cover foundational database concepts and technologies. It’s also open to students in other majors where students are encouraged to understand data and where and how it’s stored and accessed. 

What type of technology do you use?The students in this class learn Structured Query Language (SQL). We use technologies including a Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI), Citrix Workspace, MySQL, MySQL Workbench, Microsoft Vizio, Microsoft Excel, Microsoft PowerBI, and Tableau. 

In what context do you use this technology? 
Students work in groups to design and implement their own database using real data. Groups begin by identifying data they want to use and developing a data model in Microsoft Visio to present their database plans. The initial data models are converted to specific database design using MySQL Workbench. They then use SQL to create the tables and data in a MySQL database. Additional work is done to identify interesting questions and answers with the data. Finally, groups develop visualizations using Microsoft Excel, Microsoft PowerBI, and Tableau. 

How does this type of technology align with your teaching pedagogy?Understanding the theoretical foundations of database management is important. However, having the hands-on experience is the best way to really understand “why” as well as other best practices in database management. I don’t expect that every student in this course will go on to work as a database administrator (DBA); however, the majority of the students in this course will work with data and database administrators. 

How long did it take for you to implement this technology? 
Immediately upon my arrival at Drake, four years ago, I was able to identify the right people in ITS to help me. ITS was able to make a server available with the necessary software for my students to learn hands-on. I am really happy with the ongoing success of this arrangement. 

Did ITS assist you in implementing this technology? If so, how?
Every semester ITS helps me create both individual and group storage accounts to make this class successful. The help desk also assists students with initial setup or connection issues.

Are you interested in trying out new technology in your classroom? Want help from ITS staff? Schedule a technology adoption consultation.

Jon Hurdelbrink, CPHS, and Carla Herling, ITS