Wednesday, November 26, 2008

DB2 on Campus at Georgian College

On Tuesday, Nov. 25th, I presented the DB2 on Campus for the first time in Canada to ~25 2nd year programming students at Georgian College, who have all taken a fundamentals SQL course, and are in the midst of a PL/SQL course. In addition, they are preparing to write the DB2 Fundamentals Certification exam mid December. They are currently using some of the Control Center features, command line, and Workbench/IBM Data Studio (Workbench is currently in their lab, but they are using IBM Data Studio at home). Although their current course outlines do not cover XML, they have been exposed to XML in another programming course in preparation for the upcoming certification exam. Some of the students knew PHP and Ruby on Rails. Next summer these same students will be taking a DB2 Administration course, therefore, they are already on the right path to becoming DB2 experts!

Their professor, Prof. Kirsty Fowler, used to be an Oracle guru before teaching computer science, so maybe now that the students are using DB2 in their labs, she can encourage some of them to do some research and write articles comparing the different data servers from a student's point of view. Prof. Fowler and students also asked some questions I couldn't answer, so I encourage them to join channelDB2 to get answers from knowledgeable DB2 users/developers at the Lab. I've also asked them to create a DB2 at Georgian College group for themselves on channelDB2 so that they can grow their DB2 community and communicate easily on DB2 topics, similar to DB2 in Naples, which has skyrocketed in a matter of months!

However, the most interesting and unusual thing about this presentation was that it needed to be accessible; Alissa Price, the ASL-English interpreter, who seems to be having fun, did an amazing job in replicating the hour-long technical presentation, including three demos, in sign language! This brought to light the fact that our DB2 on Campus presentations and demos need to be accessible as well from now on (and we have already started looking into this). Maybe we can get Alissa and her student to test/approve the presentations and demos for us, when they're accessible! ;-)

I introduced the students to the XML Superstar contest and encouraged them not only to participate, but to judge some of the entries as well. Unfortunately their free t-shirts did not arrive on time, but the students did receive free DB2 gaming and discovery DVDs, as well as a DB2 Certification Roadmap to help them decide which career path to take with DB2.

Before the presentation, I chatted a bit with Prof. Greg Rodrigo, whom I had met at CASCON 2008. He is the Co-ordinating and Professor of Computer Studies at this college, and he was quite interested in presenting the DB2 on Campus program to 1st year and 3rd year students as well. Both Prof. Fowler and Prof. Rodrigo were interested in the IBM Academic Initiative program, and Pat Moffatt, the WW Data Servers Education Offering Manager at the Toronto Lab, and I will present this program to faculty when we go back to proctor the certification exam mid December. Prof. Fowler was interested in more collaboration on projects with the IBM Toronto Lab (a common thread with all other universities I've visited), possibly having IBMers supervise some of the projects. Overall, another exceptional experience for me, and a success! The students were happy to learn more about DB2; and the demos were a huge hit! I hope this first visit to a Canadian college will be the beginning of many more visits not only to Georgian College again, but to many other Canadian universities and colleges, who will follow suit and use, or continue to use/promote, DB2 Express-C and other IBM products in their labs.

One last point, 1 other country and 1 college need to be added to DB2 on Campus 2008 Tour results. ;-)
Cheers, Agatha Colangelo

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