CSC405 Fall 2010 Syllabus

CSC405 Database Management, MWF 2:00-2:50pm, Asher 133 [ https://scholar.georgetowncollege.edu ]
Dr. Danny Thorne (dthorne0), Asher 121, 502-863-8362, http://www.georgetowncollege.edu/Departments/mpc/thorne/

Course Description Concepts and structures necessary to design and implement a database system, including file and data organization, data models and a study of a specific database management system. Prerequisite: CSC 215.

Text Ricardo, Databases Illuminated

Topics We will plan to cover chapters 1 through 8 fairly thoroughly and then explore some selected material from some of the remaining chapters 9 through 15. Decisions about what selected material to cover will be made based on time and collective inclination. A challenge for me in teaching this course is to include the right balance of theory and practice -- or, in terms perhaps more suited to the context of this course, design and implementation. In order to avoid skewing the topics toward the theory/design end of the spectrum, I will include some basics of web-based interfaces to MySQL (e.g., PHP) and possibly a web application framework (e.g., Ruby on Rails).

Grading Categories and weightings: Homework 0.20, Project 0.20, Exam One 0.20, Exam Two 0.20, Final Exam 0.20. Numerical scores between 0 and 1 (0% and 100%) are computed for assignments and exams by dividing the total number of points earned by the total number of points possible. Scores for categories are computed by averaging the individual scores in the categories. The score for each category is then weighted according to the above weights to give an overall course score between 0 and 1. The overall score for the course is then mapped to a letter grade for the course as follows: [0.925,1.000]-->A, [0.875,0.925)-->AB, [0.825,0.875)-->B, [0.775,0.825)-->BC, [0.700,0.775)-->C [0.600,0.700)-->D [0.000,0.600)-->F .

Homework Homework will be assigned regularly. There will often be two sets of problems assigned at a time, one set to be handed in for a grade (usually about a week later) and a second set not to be handed in. The set that is handed in should be done independently by each student (see the Honor System section of the 2008-2009 Student Handbook, pg. 198). The set that is not handed in can be used to facilitate collaborative learning and study. The total points possible for the graded set of homework problems will be around 10 points per assignment. If you have to turn in homework late, provide a documented reason.

Project There will be a running project that starts in the first chapter and continues through chapter eight. Each phase of the project will be graded separately as we cover the corresponding chapters. There will be one phase per chapter plus an additional final phase at the end of the semester. The final phase will include a web-based interface to your database. The project can be done collaboratively or individually or a little of both. We will discuss this together and you will help me decide what is best. Each intermediate phase of the project is due within a week after we finish the corresponding chapter. I will try to always remind you of this, but it is your responsibility to turn the phases in on their due dates whether I remind you or not. If you have to turn a phase in late, provide a documented reason. Phases completed collaboratively (if any) will be given a collective grade. The grades for each individual phase of the project will be averaged to get the overall project grade. Each phase will be weighted the same except for the final phase which will be given double the weight of the individual intermediate phases. That is, project_grade = w*phase_1_grade + w*phase_2_grade + ... + w*phase_n_grade + 2*w*final_phase_grade where w = 1/(n+2).

The book includes one sample project that is worked out in detail plus 5 other project options for students to choose from. A few other possible projects are: You may also design a project of your own if you have an idea. Of course, you will have to present it to me for approval a priori.

Exams Tentative, approximate dates for the midterm exams are early October and mid November. If you must miss an exam and want to make it up, arrange it with me at least a couple of days before the exam date, and provide a documented reason for missing. The Final Exam is scheduled for Friday, December 10th, 12:00pm-2:00pm and will be comprehensive.

Attendance Your attendance will be monitored. There is no explicit category for attendance in the grading scheme for the course. However, missed exams and late homework will affect your grade. Furthermore, attendance will flavor my decisions about borderline scores.

Office Hours My office hours ( M 3:30p-4:30p, T 2:00p-3:00p, W 3:30p-4:30p, R 1:00p-2:00p ) are posted on my door and on my web page. They might change, so check my door or the web page to confirm. I am at your disposal independently of office hours. You may call ahead, make an appointment, or just drop by and see if I am available. If I am unavailable due to work-related business when you drop by, I will tell you; otherwise, I am happy to see you anytime.

Classroom Policy Do not use cell phones during class, and make sure they are silent during class. When we are in the lab, do not use lab computers for anything unrelated to class (e.g., facebook, games, idle web browsing). Similarly, if you use a laptop during class for taking notes, do not use it during class for anything unrelated to class.
Learning Outcomes The following learning outcomes will be assessed primarily by homework assignments and exams.
  • Demonstrate basic content knowledge consisting of what is described above in the Topics section.
  • Use analytical reasoning skills and problem-solving skills to determine and carry out the appropriate techniques for designing databases, normalizing databases, interpreting queries, forming queries, etc.
  • Read quantitative material (e.g., the course text, course notes, online resources), interpret correctly what has been read, and apply it correctly in all topics throughout this course.
  • Apply creative thinking and written communication skills to communicate precisely and effectively on the quantitative matters that are the focus of this course (as described above).