Thursday, January 13, 2011

DB2 University

Today, DB2 University ( was made available (in beta) to the community. DB2 university is an online educational Web site delivering free and paid courses by experienced professionals and teachers.

Why DB2 University?
DB2 University represents many things:

Online delivery of education is a growing trend. It allows students to learn at their own pace, in the comfort of their home, or wherever they may be. It allows companies to have their employees gain skill at a lower cost (No traveling expenses required).

The DB2 community demanded a site like this, and finally we have it! DB2 University delivers courses about DB2 and other technologies online, in either self-paced or Instructor-led format. The site has a sample of courses right now that you can check out:

- SQL Fundamentals I
- DB2 Essential Training I
- DB2 Essential Training II
- Data Studio Essential Training I

Some of these courses have been translated to different languages (Portuguese, Spanish, Russian); and they all have a corresponding book that can be used as a reference.  For example, the SQL Fundamentals I course is based on the Database Fundamentals eBook just published; the DB2 Essential Training I & II courses are based on the Getting started with DB2 Express-C eBook, and the Data Studio Essential Training I course is based on the Getting started with IBM Data Studio for DB2 ebook.

Books, videos, online delivery... A complete set of materials in different formats!

Quality, easily consumable material
Before DB2 University was released -- and this applies to internet content in general -- you could find a lot of material about DB2 on the Web; however, in many cases it was hard to make sense what was relevant or not. Some of the material out there is obsolete, incorrect, or too complex; and this would cause you a headache more than helping you.  Moreover, there is no logical flow when reading this material.  You just get an ocean of information that is hard to digest.

At DB2 University, we use Moodle open source course management system (CMS). A CMS helps instructors organize the material in a relevant and easily digestable way. Now students can go through the material with a logical flow that will save them time in their learning. They can also be confident the material is relevant, up-to-date, and of great quality, since it's been prepared by experienced professionals and teachers.

The Moodle version running on DB2 University was enabled to use DB2 as its database server.  This means Moodle is helping DB2, and DB2 is helping Moodle!

Everyone taking a course likes to have some document to attest they completed the course. At DB2 University, we offer completion certificates to all students passing a course.

A real-life reference: Moodle using DB2, DB2 on the Cloud
Every time you access DB2 University you are seeing DB2 in action!. As mentioned earlier, Moodle CMS was enabled to run on DB2.  Moreover, every time you access DB2 University, you are also seeing DB2 in action on the Cloud!. Yes, DB2 University was implemented on the Amazon Cloud. We manage it using Rightscale, a Cloud management platform. Working on the Cloud also enabled us to set up a disaster recovery site at a low cost, so we use a different elastic cloud computing (EC2) instance to run a DB2 Stand-by server in a HADR configuration.

There are many more things to say about DB2 University and how it was implemented. A developerWorks article published on January 13th has more details. It is the first in a series of articles describing how DB2 University was implemented, including it's open-ID sign up capabilities (that is, how ChannelDB2/Facebook/Yahoo/Google IDs can be used to log on to DB2 University), and also using an Android phone to access your marks at DB2 university.

I would like to end this post by inviting you once again to try out DB2 University. Right now we have a special promotion where the top 20 students passing some of the courses offered will receive free or discounted IBM Certification exam vouchers, and also free hard copies of books!

We would like to hear any feedback you may have about the site so we can improve it!.  Moreover, if you would like to host your quality material in our site, please let us know!  It could be hosted either as a free or a fee-based course. It's up to you!

Enjoy!  Raul.