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31271 Database Fundamentals

Warning: The information on this page is indicative. The subject outline for a particular session, location and mode of offering is the authoritative source of all information about the subject for that offering. Required texts, recommended texts and references in particular are likely to change. Students will be provided with a subject outline once they enrol in the subject.

Subject handbook information prior to 2018 is available in the Archives.

UTS: Information Technology: Software
Credit points: 6 cp

Subject level:

Undergraduate

Result type: Grade and marks

Requisite(s): 31267 Programming Fundamentals OR 48023 Programming Fundamentals
These requisites may not apply to students in certain courses.
There are course requisites for this subject. See access conditions.
Anti-requisite(s): 31061 Database Principles AND 31474 Database Fundamentals AND 31487 Database Management Systems AND 32606 Database

Recommended studies: it is assumed that students are familiar with basic system analysis concepts and have basic software skills

Description

This subject introduces students to the fundamentals of effective database systems. Students are taught how data is structured and managed in an organisation in a way that can be used effectively by applications and users. They also learn to use the language SQL for effective data retrieval and modification. This subject teaches students to appreciate the significance and challenges of good database design and management, which underpin the development of functional software applications.

Subject learning objectives (SLOs)

Upon successful completion of this subject students should be able to:

1. Explain the main issues related to the design and use of structured data.
2. Construct conceptual and logical data models applying database design principles.
3. Evaluate data redundancy levels and their impact on database integrity and maintainability.
4. Construct conceptual data models applying data modeling principles.
5. Construct logical data models adhering to data normalisation principles.
6. Distinguish between good and bad database design.
7. Construct efficient SQL queries to retrieve and manipulate data as required.

Course intended learning outcomes (CILOs)

This subject also contributes specifically to the development of the following Course Intended Learning Outcomes (CILOs):

  • Identify and apply relevant problem solving methodologies (B.1)
  • Design components, systems and/or processes to meet required specifications (B.2)
  • Synthesise alternative/innovative solutions, concepts and procedures (B.3)
  • Implement and test solutions (B.5)
  • Apply abstraction, mathematics and/or discipline fundamentals to analysis, design and operation (C.1)
  • Develop models using appropriate tools such as computer software, laboratory equipment and other devices (C.2)
  • Evaluate model applicability, accuracy and limitations (C.3)
  • Communicate effectively in ways appropriate to the discipline, audience and purpose. (E.1)
  • Be able to conduct critical self-review and performance evaluation against appropriate criteria as a primary means of tracking personal development needs and achievements (F.1)

Teaching and learning strategies

Lectures and tutorial sessions totalling 3 hours per week, plus some optional, drop-in laboratory sessions during the session.

Related materials (lecture notes, tutorial questions, etc.) will be provided on UTSOnline. Students can also benefit from the discussion board on UTSOnline where they can share their questions and engage in the inquiry before attending the classes. They need to be prepared for their weekly quiz that will be held in each lecture.

In tutorials, students will be involved in discussions about provided tasks to analyze the problem from different perspectives. Students have the opportunity to share their ideas and skills with their teammates under the supervision of their tutor. Suggested solutions will be presented by each team and discussed/evaluated during the tutorial.

During the session, students will receive feedback on their progress and performance through weekly quizzes, tutorial discussions and reviewed assignments.

Content (topics)

  1. The Role of Databases in Information Systems
  2. The Relational Data Model
  3. Conceptual database design (ER modeling)
  4. Logical design: ER conversion to a relational model
  5. Normalisation
  6. SQL: simple queries, aggregate functions, data modification statements, simple joins, complex joins, subqueries and set operators

Assessment

Assessment task 1: Online SQL Test

Intent: The online test assesses the student's practical ability to construct appropriate SQL statements to retrieve particular information from the database.
Objective(s):

This assessment task addresses the following subject learning objectives (SLOs):

7

This assessment task contributes to the development of the following course intended learning outcomes (CILOs):

B.1, B.3, B.5 and C.1

Type: Quiz/test
Groupwork: Individual
Weight: 20%
Criteria linkages:
Criteria Weight (%) SLOs CILOs
Accuracy 50 7 B.1, B.3, B.5, C.1
Validity of solution 50 7 B.1, B.3, B.5, C.1
SLOs: subject learning objectives
CILOs: course intended learning outcomes

Assessment task 2: Data Modeling and Database Design Assignment

Intent:

The assignment assesses the student's ability to analyse and interpret data requirements, and to create conceptual and logical designs for a suitable database by applying the principles of data modeling and data normalisation.

Objective(s):

This assessment task addresses the following subject learning objectives (SLOs):

1, 2, 3, 4, 5 and 6

This assessment task contributes to the development of the following course intended learning outcomes (CILOs):

B.1, B.2, B.3, B.5, C.1, C.2, C.3, E.1 and F.1

Type: Design/drawing/plan/sketch
Groupwork: Group, group assessed
Weight: 20%
Criteria linkages:
Criteria Weight (%) SLOs CILOs
Correction of ‘interpretation’ of the problem 8 1, 2, 4, 6 B.1, B.2, E.1
Identification of appropriate data elements and their relationships 7 2, 4, 6 C.1, E.1
Correctness of analysis and modelling construct 20 1, 2, 4, 6 B.2, B.3, C.2, E.1
Correctness of schema conversion to the relations 13 1, 6 B.1, B.3
Accuracy of determining functional dependencies 17 3, 6 B.5, C.1
Functionality of design and validity of solution based on normalization 16 1, 3, 5, 6 B.3, B.5, C.1, C.3, E.1
Active participation in providing reflection 12 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 F.1
Quality of self-assessment 7 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 F.1
SLOs: subject learning objectives
CILOs: course intended learning outcomes

Assessment task 3: Final Examination

Intent: The final exam assesses the student's level of attainment of all of the subject objectives. The student's appreciation of good database design and management principles and the effects of poorly designed database on database integrity and maintainability will be assessed, as well as their understanding and practical application of the relational database model, conceptual and logical database design principles and SQL for effective data retrieval, management and modification.
Objective(s):

This assessment task addresses the following subject learning objectives (SLOs):

1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 and 7

This assessment task contributes to the development of the following course intended learning outcomes (CILOs):

B.1, B.2, B.3, C.1 and C.3

Type: Examination
Groupwork: Individual
Weight: 50%
Criteria linkages:
Criteria Weight (%) SLOs CILOs
Validity of Solution 25 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7 B.1, B.2, B.3, C.1, C.3
Functionality of design 25 2, 4, 6, 7 B.1, B.2, B.3, C.1, C.3
Application of analysis and construct 25 1, 3, 5, 6 B.1, B.3, C.1, C.3
Appropriate choice of construct 25 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7 B.1, B.2, B.3, C.1
SLOs: subject learning objectives
CILOs: course intended learning outcomes

Assessment task 4: Weekly Quiz

Intent:

To assess the individual student's understanding of one to two specified concepts covered in the lecture topic.

Objective(s):

This assessment task addresses the following subject learning objectives (SLOs):

1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 and 7

Type: Quiz/test
Groupwork: Individual
Weight: 10%
Criteria linkages:
Criteria Weight (%) SLOs CILOs
Correct recall, identification or brief definition of one piece of specific information in the current topic 50 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7
Correct explanation of a specific concept in the current topic 50 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7
SLOs: subject learning objectives
CILOs: course intended learning outcomes

Minimum requirements

To pass this subject students must:

  • Achieve a mark of 40% or greater in the final examination, and
  • Achieve an overall mark of 50% or greater.

Students who do not meet these minimum requirements but achieve an overall mark of 50% or greater will fail the subject and receive their overall mark with an "X" (fail) grade.

NB: Under the University's Assessment Policy no supplementary examination is required in this subject, and none is offered.

Required texts

To reduce the cost of the prescribed textbook for students, a custom book for this subject has been compiled, which includes only the six chapters from the original Hoffer book Modern Database Management (details below) that are used in the subject (chapters 1-4, 6 and the first part of 7). The custom book has a customised cover stating that it is a custom book based on this Hoffer title and 'compiled by Julia Prior'. It is available for purchase in the Co-Op Bookshop.

Students who prefer to purchase the full original Hoffer title (new or second-hand) will of course be able to use this as their prescribed textbook. The tenth edition is also acceptable, although the relevant page numbers may be different.

It is expected that every student has their own copy of the prescribed textbook, which is not simply a reference book for the subject. The content of the subject is based heavily on the contents of this textbook, which is the primary resource for the subject.

Modern Database Management, 11th Edition, by Hoffer, J.A, Ramesh, V., and Topi, H.. (2011), ISBN-10: 0273779281 or ISBN-13: 9780273779285, published by Pearson Education.

Recommended texts

Mannino, Michael V (University of Colorado, Denver).: Database Design, Application, Development & Administration, 2nd, 3rd (McGraw-Hill publishers) and 4th editions are all acceptable; the relevant material in all of these editions is essentially the same in content, it is mostly chapter and page numbers that may be different. There are several copies of the 4th edition available in 7-day loans section, open reserve and on the open shelves, as well as a number of copies of the 2nd edition in 7-day loans, closed reserve and on the open shelves, in the university's City campus library in Haymarket.
Date, C.J.: An introduction to Database Systems, Eighth Edition, Pearson Addison Wesley, 2003, ISBN: 0321197844 (there are several copies of this in the City campus library, and other books by the same author). Whilst this book is quite technical, this is the seminal text for relational database management systems.
Simsion, Graeme C. : Data Modeling Essentials, Morgan Kaufmann Publishers, Amsterdam, 2005, ISBN: 0126445516 (there is also a later edition, but this is not in the uni library).
Pratt, Philip J. : A Guide to SQL, Seventh Edition, Thomson Course Technology, 2005, ISBN 0619216743 (earlier editions also fine).
Connolly, Thomas M.: Database solutions : a step-by-step guide to building databases, Second Edition, Pearson Addison Wesley, 2003, ISBN 0321173503.
Connolly, Thomas and Begg, Carolyn: Database Systems – a practical approach to design, implementation, and management, Fifth Edition, AddisonWesley, 2010, ISBN 0321523067 (third and fourth editions also fine).

These texts, and several others on relational database design, use and management, are all available in the university library.

References

Useful web references include:
http://www.sqlcourse.com/
http://www.w3schools.com/sql/default.asp
http://sqlzoo.net/
http://wiki.postgresql.org/

Additional references and reading material will be handed out, recommended during lectures or posted to UTSOnline when necessary during the semester.

Other resources

Lecture Slides

Please note that although electronic copies of all lecture slides are available for students, these are not to be regarded as adequate lecture notes, nor as the complete subject content. They are merely a guide to what students need to master in the subject, and for students to use as a basis for making their own notes during lectures.

UTSOnline
UTSOnline is the web-based online learning and teaching environment used at UTS in a variety of ways to support, complement and extend student learning activities. Subject announcements, links to subject learning materials and other information will be posted on UTSOnline. You may use it for communicating with other course participants and staff, and you should also participate in the online discussion forums related to the subject.

You should check the announcements on UTSOnline for this subject at least once a week, as all student notices for this subject will be given via this site. The subject coordinator will assume that every student is checking UTSOnline regularly for subject announcements, as well as the discussion forums and subject material.