Teradata University Network: A New Resource for Teaching


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Communications of the Association for Information Systems

Volume 12

Article 9

July 2003
Teradata University Network: A New Resource for Teaching Large Data Bases and Their Applications
Hugh J. Watson
University of Georgia, [email protected]
Jeffrey A. Hoffer
UNiversity of Dayton, [email protected]

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Recommended Citation
Watson, Hugh J. and Hoffer, Jeffrey A. (2003) "Teradata University Network: A New Resource for Teaching Large Data Bases and Their Applications," Communications of the Association for Information Systems: Vol. 12 , Article 9. DOI: 10.17705/1CAIS.01209 Available at: https://aisel.aisnet.org/cais/vol12/iss1/9
This material is brought to you by the AIS Journals at AIS Electronic Library (AISeL). It has been accepted for inclusion in Communications of the Association for Information Systems by an authorized administrator of AIS Electronic Library (AISeL). For more information, please contact [email protected]

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TERADATA UNIVERSITY NETWORK:
A NEW RESOURCE FOR TEACHING LARGE DATA BASES AND THEIR APPLICATIONS
HUGH J. WATSON Terry College of Business University of Georgia [email protected]
JEFFREY A. HOFFER School of Business Administration University of Dayton
ABSTRACT
A free learning portal designed to help faculty to teach, learn, and connect with others in the fields of data warehousing, DSS/BI, and database is being made available by Teradata, a division of NCR. Teradata worked closely with leading academics to create the Teradata University Network (www.teradatauniversitynetwork.com). The network is reached by faculty through a portal that includes (1) course syllabi; (2) access to software; (2) Power Point presentations (with speaker’s notes); (4) cases, projects, and assignments (with teaching notes); (5) book chapters, articles, and research reports; (6) the Teradata library; (7) web-based courses; and (8) links to related sites.
In addition, a separate portal for students, located at www.teradatastudentnetwork.com, leads to a subset of the above materials, including (1) access to software; (2) cases, projects, and assignments (without teaching notes); (3) book chapters, articles, and research reports; (4) the Teradata library; and (5) links to related sites. The student site excludes materials that are only for course instructors.
This tutorial describes the creation of the Teradata University Network (TUN), discusses how faculty access and use TUN, describes how a faculty member might use it in a typical session, and faculty reactions to TUN. Special attention is given to the software available on TUN and TSN. It also discusses working with Teradata and TUN and provides lessons learned to help other faculty involved in vendor-supported initiatives.
Keywords: Teradata University Network, Teradata Student Network, data warehousing, DSS/BI, database, teaching, learning portal
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I. BACKGROUND
In 2001, Teradata, a division of NCR and a vendor of terabyte-size database products, decided to develop closer ties with colleges and universities. Up to then, Teradata participated only in a few individual relationships with selected Computer Science and MIS departments. One such relationship was with the MIS, OM, and Decision Sciences Department at the University of Dayton (UD), to which a combination of NCR and Teradata business units donated a Teradata server and software1. Jeff Hoffer, the contact at UD, encouraged Teradata to create a data warehousing community of academics and Teradata associates.
Teradata’s objectives for a new and wider initiative with colleges and universities included:
(1) students to be more familiar with Teradata’s products,
(2) to be better positioned to hire outstanding college graduates,
(3) to be more familiar with academic thinking and research, and
(4) to contribute to information systems education around the world.
To help think through how these objectives might be best met, Teradata contacted Hugh Watson, who had worked with them in the past on various projects. In turn, Hugh asked Jeff Hoffer and Barbara Wixom of the University of Virginia to be part of the deliberations. Both Hoffer and Wixom knew Teradata from working on previous projects.
The discussions led to the decision to create the Teradata University Network (TUN), a premier learning and teaching resource for faculty interested in data warehousing, data mining, DSS/BI, and database. Faculty would be able to access a variety of resources (e.g., ranging from articles to software) using a web browser. Students would be able to access portions of the network through a companion resource called the Teradata Student Network (TSN). An important decision was that leading academicians in the field would provide the guidance and direction for TUN and TSN through an Advisory Board. Teradata would provide the financial resources, develop and maintain the TUN website, and contribute educational content.
The initial plans for TUN were presented at Partners 2001, Teradata’s large users’ group conference. In addition to Teradata management, leading academicians were in attendance for the presentation and learned about TUN. The presentation solidified the support for TUN and generated valuable suggestions.
During the next year, many important milestones were accomplished. Membership on the Advisory Board was finalized. Hugh Watson was named Director, Jeff Hoffer (University of Dayton) and Barbara Wixom (University of Virginia) were named Associate Directors. Paul Gray (Claremont Graduate University), Sal March (Vanderbilt University), Arun Sen (Texas A&M University), and Robert Winter (University of St. Gallen, Switzerland) were named to the Board. Also named to the Board were Ron Swift (Teradata) who provided much of the early support for Teradata’s educational initiative and Alan Chow (Teradata) who later became the initiative’s executive sponsor.
During the next year, the initial design and testing of TUN and TSN were completed, and content began to be added. Promotion of TUN and TSN began at AMCIS 2002 with promotional flyers and with an announcement on ISWorld in September 2002.
At Partners 2002, TUN was presented once again. At this session, Alan Chow, who is in charge of Teradata product development and sales support, committed the resources needed to make Teradata software available through an ASP arrangement. Data would be loaded into a Teradata database server, and faculty and students could access and analyze the data using a web
1 NCR’s headquarters are located in Dayton, Ohio.
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browser. Colleges and universities would not have to obtain, install, and maintain the Teradata database and other software.
Through the fall of 2002 to the summer of 2003, Teradata and MicroStrategy (one of Teradata’s business partners) software were placed on servers, loaded with data, and tested. In August 2003, the availability of software was announced to TUN members and though ISWorld so that faculty could plan to use it in their fall 2003 classes. The following sections of this tutorial describe:
• How faculty and students can access TUN and TSN (Section II), • The available software (Section III) • A typical session using TUN (Section IV) • Reactions to TUN (Section V), and • Lessons learned (Section VI).
II. ACCESSING AND USING TUN AND TSN To gain access to TUN, faculty must first go to www.teradatauniversitynetwork.com and register. In addition to providing information such as name, university, and desired password, applicants must provide the URL of a web page that shows that they are a teaching faculty member. TUN contains material that is only for faculty members, such as the solutions to cases, projects, and assignments. Once their application is authenticated (usually within 24 hours), faculty can access TUN using their email address as their ID and the password that they specified. The portal’s content includes:
1. Course syllabi (for data warehousing, data mining, DSS/BI, and database courses) 2. Access to software (Teradata database, MicroStrategy, a dimensional modeling tool, with
more software to come) 3. Power Point presentations (with speaker’s notes) 4. Cases, projects, and assignments (with teaching notes) 5. Book chapters and articles 6. The Teradata library 7. Web-based courses (1 to 2 hours in length) 8. Links to related sites A separate site for students, www.teradatastudentnetwork.com, contains a subset of the above materials, including: 1. Access to software 2. Cases, projects, and assignments (without teaching notes) 3. Book chapters and articles 4. The Teradata library 5. Links to related sites TSN is protected with a password that is changed three times a year, corresponding with changes in the academic terms. Faculty can learn the password on TUN or receive it through regular communications as a TUN member.

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III. TERADATA SOFTWARE ON TUN AND TSN
A separate site maintains all but the downloadable software for TUN and TSN. Special care was taken to create a software environment that would be easy for faculty and students to use. Consider the case of the Teradata software. The ASP site includes:
1. The Teradata DBMS, SQL Assistant / Web Edition (this commercial tool is provided by Teradata to customers. It is an easy-to-use web interface that helps someone write, edit, save, and run SQL commands and then recall prior commands and results from history)
2. Pre-loaded databases from several leading database textbooks
3. Software tutorials and reference manuals
A FAQ section will evolve. The plan for the future is for faculty to be able to submit additional databases. Currently, databases are read only.
Use of the SQL Assistant software is characterized by the following:
1. For protection of the site’s resources, a faculty member must register separately on the software site.
2. Registration is coordinated with TUN membership. Once the match with TUN membership is made, faculty can create an SQL Assistant login.
3. An instructor creates one or more course environments for her or his students. The environment contains a default database for each course that is automatically activated for any student working on that course. A course may be password protected. Students must know the password to gain access to the particular course environment (e.g., a ‘course’ could be an environment for an on-line examination, and the instructor does not give out that password until the time of the exam).
4. Besides the default database, other databases may be activated for a course. The instructor can change the specifications for a course at any time, including what databases are activated. For example, a faculty member can activate a practice data set for assignments, then activate a new data set for an examination, and then deactivate the second data set after the examination.
5. Finally, because we do forget even critical information, instructors can store an SQL Assistant password hint with their registration. By providing the value of a hint, the system will e-mail the forgotten password to the instructor.
We illustrate some of these capabilities and steps in the next section.
IV. A TYPICAL SESSION
Consider how a typical faculty member might use TUN and TSN. Professor Terabyte is teaching a database course for the first time. After becoming a TUN member, he goes to the TUN website and looks at the various course syllabi that are available (Figure 1a, 1b, and 1c). He finds one that has the mix and technical topics that he plans to include. It is even from the author of the textbook that he plans to use. He then looks at the cases, projects, and assignments that are available (Figure 1d) and finds several that meet his needs. All of them have teaching notes, which will make his work a lot easier.
He also finds several PowerPoint presentations that he can customize and use (no illustration provided, but many are found via the link of the same name on the Teach page shown in Figure 1b. Professor Terabyte then sees that the data set for the textbook that he is planning to use is available in a Teradata database that students can access from TSN (shown later in this section). To bring himself up-to-date on recent developments in the field, he even subscribes to several of the electronic newsletters that are available from TUN’s related sites section (found off the Connect link on the TUN homepage). In about an hour, Professor Tearabyte obtains great ideas
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a. First Part of TUN Homepage with Teach Links; Choose ‘Click here’ to Enter Teach Section

b. Teach Section Page, Click on Blue Link to Access Desired Resource
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c. Sample of Course Syllabi Resources as of July 15, 2003
(d) Sample of Cases, Projects, and Assignments Resources as of July 15, 2003 Figure 1. Accessing Syllabi and other TUN Resources
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for teaching his database course and identified some of the resources that he now plans to use. He will definitely be back next semester when he will be teaching a data warehousing course for the first time.
Professor Terabyte knows that providing access to database software can be, by itself, a burden. In the past, the software was often difficult to install and maintain. Students often needed to go to a computer laboratory to gain access to it or had to work through a difficult installation of software on their personal computers. Sometimes a student had to get by with only simple tools because only simple tools were reliable. Then, every few years, the instructor had to renegotiate with his or her university to upgrade the software to a new release. And, any data sets the instructor wanted to use required periodic loading and protecting.
The software resources on TUN overcome these issues. Selecting the Software link on the TUN homepage (Figure 1a), Professor Terabyte finds the links to a dimensional modeling tool and the Teradata ASP server. He chooses to go to the Teradata ASP site to explore whether it can provide the SQL processing capabilities he wants for his students (Figure 2a shows the Teradata ASP homepage). He reviews the TUN Web Tutorial, finding that he can create an SQL processing environment for his students, and the data sets for his chosen textbook are already loaded on the site. He also discovers that he must register for an SQL Assistant account (see the 2nd link on the ASP site homepage). He will register only once, using his TUN ID and password, to verify that he is an authorized instructor, and then setting an SQL Assistant login ID and password, which the software needs.
Now Professor Terabyte is set to create a course environment, which he does by selecting the Course Management link off the SQL Assistant signup page2 . His options are to create a course, modify or delete a course, or manage databases for a course. He, of course, starts by creating a course environment for the class he will teach (Figure 2b). Before picking the default database

2 To reach the SQL Assistant signup page, click on the rightmost element in the standard menu bar on the ASP homepage (Figure 2a).
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a. Teradata ASP Site Homepage

b. Course Creation

Teradata University Network: A New Resource for Teaching Large Data Bases and their Applications by H.J. Watson and J.A. Hoffer

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c. Adding a Database to the Course
Figure 2. Using the Teradata ASP Site
(the one that will automatically be active for a student who signs on to his course environment), he clicks on the link next to the default database selection to see a description of the available databases. He picks the Pine Valley Furniture database, which is the one he wants to use for homework exercises in his class. Professor Terabyte also wants to limit access to his course environment by assigning a password, which he will give only to his students.
Selecting the manage databases link (see the menu bar at the top of Figure 2b) he adds the first of the two Mountain View Community Hospital data sets to his course (Figure 2c). He will use this database for in-laboratory training sessions on SQL. Professor Terabyte selected his course from the drop-down selection, and then selected the ‘db_mvch1’ data set for this second database. He is now ready to click on the right arrow to move it to the list of selected databases for his course. Later (not illustrated here) he will create a second course environment (called MIS385 SQL Exam), using the other Mountain View Community Hospital data set as the default database, which he will use during the in-laboratory hands-on SQL examination. This other “exam” course will also be password protected, and he will give the students the password at the time of the examination.
Professor Terabyte is eager to use SQL Assistant / Web Edition. So, he selects the HOME link in the menu bar, reads the SQL Assistant tutorial, learns about the Teradata reserved words, and glances at the .pdf file of the SQL Assistant user manual (Figure 3a). He then selects the link to SQL Assistant. After selecting the TUN server and logging in using his SQL Assistant ID and password, he is ready to enter a simply query. He first expands the db_pvfc directory on the left to see what tables are loaded (Figure 3b). He enters a simply query to display all the rows in the customer table. On the screen he has a window for entering the query (with a place to recall a stored query, which is really useful for students as they are learning SQL to be able to recall

a. the SQL Assistant resources (see bottom of screen)
Teradata University Network: A New Resource for Teaching Large Data Bases and their Applications by H.J. Watson and J.A. Hoffer

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