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Novel Simulation-Based Learning Modules for Teaching Database Concepts

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2020 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access


Virtual On line

Publication Date

June 22, 2020

Start Date

June 22, 2020

End Date

June 26, 2021

Conference Session

Computers in Education Division Technical Session 7: Advanced CS courses

Tagged Division

Computers in Education

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Paper Authors


Sabahattin Gokhan Ozden Penn State Abington Orcid 16x16

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Dr. Ozden is an assistant professor of Information Sciences and Technology at Penn State Abington. He has a PhD and MS from Auburn University in Industrial and Systems Engineering and a B.Sc. in Software Engineering and double major in Industrial Systems Engineering from Izmir University of Economics. His research interests are warehousing, optimization, and information systems. Dr. Ozden has published in various journals/conferences including Computers and Operations Research. His website address is

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Omar M. Ashour Penn State Erie, the Behrend College Orcid 16x16

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Dr. Omar Ashour is an Associate Professor of Industrial Engineering at Pennsylvania State University, The Behrend College. Dr. Ashour received the B.S. degree in Industrial Engineering/Manufacturing Engineering and the M.S. degree in Industrial Engineering from Jordan University of Science and Technology (JUST) in 2005 and 2007, respectively. He received his M.Eng. degree in Industrial Engineering/Human Factors and Ergonomics and the Ph.D. degree in Industrial Engineering and Operations Research from Pennsylvania State University (PSU) in 2010 and 2012, respectively. Dr. Ashour was the inaugural recipient of William and Wendy Korb Early Career Professorship in Industrial Engineering in 2016. Dr. Ashour's research areas include applied decision making, modeling and simulation, virtual reality, and process improvement. He contributed to research directed to improve engineering education.

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Ashkan Negahban Pennsylvania State University, School of Graduate Professional Studies

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Dr. Ashkan Negahban is an Assistant Professor of Engineering Management at The Pennsylvania State University, School of Graduate Professional Studies. He has a PhD and MS from Auburn University and a BS from University of Tehran (all in Industrial Engineering). His research interest is in the application of agent-based, discrete event, and Monte Carlo simulation in design and operation of complex systems. His web address is

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This paper presents novel immersive simulation-based learning (I-SBL) modules as an alternative active-learning method for teaching and learning fundamental concepts related to database design. I-SBL involves a 3-dimensional simulated environment that resembles a real-world system. Students can navigate through the simulated environment (in low- and high-immersion modes), observe and understand the underlying dynamics, evaluate the effect of the changes on the system, and learn by doing. The use of such modules is especially important when access to the real system is limited or impossible due to geographical barriers and/or regulations and safety considerations. We assess the impact of the proposed approach by implementing a sample I-SBL module in an undergraduate database class. The study involves two groups of students: control and test groups. Students in the control group complete a traditional problem-based learning (PBL) assignment, while the test group uses the I-SBL version of the same assignment. The assessment data collected include demographics, prior preparation, motivation, usability tests, and pre/post quizzes to measure knowledge gain. Statistical analysis of the results suggests that I-SBL performs at least as well as PBL. The results also provide important insights into the effective design and implementation of I-SBL.

Ozden, S. G., & Ashour, O. M., & Negahban, A. (2020, June), Novel Simulation-Based Learning Modules for Teaching Database Concepts Paper presented at 2020 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access, Virtual On line . 10.18260/1-2--35001

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