GCO9804 Database Management Systems , Unit Information Guide (Semester 1, 2006)

Gippsland : Manzur Murshed, Shyh Wei Teng

Overview of database management systems; DBMS file structures; introduction to the relational model; relational algebra and calculus, query optimization; normalisation and relational design; ER modelling, object-oriented modelling, advanced features of the relational model; Database Design Language; physical database design; database administration, database recovery and current trends in the field; Relational query languages; SQL; Transaction management; concurrency control; introduction to distributed and object-oriented database systems.

Objectives Knowledge and Understanding

On completion of the unit students will


  • possess an understanding of relational, object-oriented, and object-relational database systems;
  • understand the special issues pertinent to multi-user database systems such as record locking, security, backup and recovery;
  • appreciate the ethical issues relating to the privacy and security of data held in a database system;
  • be able to develop a conceptual database model for a particular environment using the tools of Entity Relationship modelling and normalisation;
  • be able to produce, from a given conceptual database design, a schema file from which an efficient database can be generated;
  • be able to use interactive SQL within a relational DBMS to carry out database creation, loading and querying;
  • be able to use SQL embedded in a programming language to develop a multi-user oriented database system;
  • have experienced the creation of a user-oriented database system using a fourth generation environment;
  • understand the roles of a database adminitrator.


Prerequisites Before attempting this unit you must have satisfactorily completed GCO1810 or GCO1811, or equivalent. If not, this unit would have a corequisties of GCO9805.

Unit relationships GCO9804 is a core unit in the Graduate Diploma of Computing and the Master of Applied Information Technology (MAIT) degrees. You may not study this unit and FIT1004, GCO2815, GCO3851, BUS2112, CFR2132, CFR3203, COT2132, COT2138, IMS2112, IMS9003 in your degree.
Texts and software

Required text(s)

Rob, P. and Coronel, C. Database Management 6th Edition, Thomson Course Technology, 2004 , 0-619-21323-x


Text books are available from the Monash University Book Shops. Availability from other suppliers cannot be assured. The Bookshop orders texts in specifically for this unit. You are advised to purchase your text book early.

Hardware requirements:

Students studying off-campus are required to have the minimum system configuration specified by the faculty as a condition of accepting admission, and regular Internet access. On-campus students, and those studying at supported study locations may use the facilities available in the computing labs. Information about computer use for students is available from the ITS Student Resource Guide in the Monash University Handbook. You will need to allocate up to 12 hours per week for use of a computer, including time for newsgroups/discussion groups.

Recommended reading

  • Hoffer, J.A. Prescott, M.B. and McFadden,F.R., Modern Database Management 7th Edn., Addison-Wesley, 2005
  • Mannino, M. V.; Database Design Application Development, and Administration 2nd Edn., McGraw-Hill/Irwin, 2004
  • Thomas Connolly and Carolyn Begg: Database Systems, a Practical Approach to Design, Implementation, and Management (3rd edition), Addison-Wesley, 2002. ISBN 0-201-70857-4
  • Raghu Ramakrishnan: Database Management Systems (2nd edition), McGRAW-Hill, 1998. ISBN 0-07-115508-2
  • Abraham Silberschatz Henry F. Korth and S. Sudarshan: Database System Concepts (4th edition), McGraw-Hill, 2001. ISBN 0-07-228363-7
  • Hector Garcia-Molina, Jeffrey Ullman, Jennifer Widom: Database Systems The Complete Book, Prentice Hall, 2001, ISBN 0-13-031995-3


Library access You may need to access the Monash library either personally to be able to satisfactorily complete the subject.  Be sure to obtain a copy of the Library Guide, and if necessary, the instructions for remote access from the library website.
Study resources

Study resources for GCO9804 are:

  • A printed Unit Book containing 12 Study Guides.
  • This Unit Information outlining the administrative information for the unit.
  • A CD-ROM sent at the start of the year, with software required for all units.
  • The GCO9804 web site on MUSO, where lecture slides, weekly tutorial requirements, assignment specifications, sample solutions and supplementary material will be posted.
  • Newsgroups/discussion groups that can be linked to from the Unit Homepage

Structure and organisation



Study Guide

1 Database: Introductory Topics 1
2 The Database Lifecycle 3
3 The Relational Database Lifecycle 3
4 Conceptual Design 4
5 Logical Design 5
6 Normalisation 6
7 Structured Query Language (SQL): DML 7
8 Structured Query Language (SQL): DML 8
9 Structured Query Language (SQL): DDL, DCL and Transaction Management 9
10 Physical Design 10
11 Database Warehousing and Data Mining 11
12 Database Administration 12
13 Revision

The timetable for on-campus classes for this unit can be viewed in Allocate+


Assessment for the unit consists of 2 assignments with a weighting of 40% and an examination with a weighting of 60%.

Assessment Policy

To pass this unit you must:

Nominally, the assignments will have a weighting of 40% and the exam a weighting of 60%. However, since this is a practical subject and it is not possible to fully test programming ability in a three-hour exam, your final mark cannot be more than 10 marks higher than your assignment work percentage. Also, since assignment work is not completed in a controlled environment, your final mark cannot be more than 10 marks higher than your exam percentage.


Your score for the unit will be calculated by:

Final grade = min (A+10, E+10, E*R+A*(1-R)), where

  • A = overall assignment percentage
  • E = examination percentage
  • R = exam weighting (0.6)


It is perhaps worth pointing out a few of the more important consequences of this system:

  1. You must score at least 40% in both the assignment work and the exam to pass overall.
  2. If you wish to maximise your chances of passing, you will need to attain at least 65% for your assignment work so that 40% in the exam results in 50% overall.
  3. An average student might hope to score 65% for the exam. With 65% for the exam, any assignment percentage between 48% and 90% will mean the final mark is computed using the nominal 60/40 weighting. The 10-mark limit will only affect grossly skewed results [students who understand the theory but who can’t write programs, or students who have access to external resources (and/or unlimited time) to assist them in preparing assignments but who have not adequately understood what they were doing].

Assessment Requirements


Due Date


Assignment 1 Week 7
Assignment 2 Week 11
Examination 3 hour(s), closed book Exam period starts 5th June. 60 %

Assignment specifications will be made available this unit web site 'Assignment' page. Information about assignments will be published on the Unit's Notices Newsgroup.

Assignment Submission Methods

To be released as part of the assignment specifications.

Extensions and late submissions

Late submission of assignments

Assignments received after the due date will be subject to a penalty of 5% for every day after the due date.

Assignments received later than one week after the due date will not normally be accepted.

This policy is strict because comments or guidance will be given on assignments as they are returned, and sample solutions may also be published and distributed, after assignment marking or with the returned assignment. 


It is your responsibility to structure your study program around assignment deadlines, family, work and other commitments. Factors such as normal work pressures, vacations, etc. are seldom regarded as appropriate reasons for granting extensions. 

Requests for extensions must be made by email to the unit lecturer at least two days before the due date. You will be asked to forward original medical certificates in cases of illness, and may be asked to provide other forms of documentation where necessary. A copy of the email or other written communication of an extension must be attached to the assignment submission.

Grading of assessment

Assignments, and the unit, will be marked and allocated a grade according to the following scale:

HD High Distinction - very high levels of achievement, demonstrated knowledge and understanding, skills in application and high standards of work encompassing all aspects of the tasks.
In the 80+% range of marks for the assignment.
D Distinction - high levels of achievement, but not of the same standards. May have a weakness in one particular aspect, or overall standards may not be quite as high.
In the 70-79% range.
C Credit - sound pass displaying good knowledge or application skills, but some weaknesses in the quality, range or demonstration of understanding.
In the 60-69% range.
P Pass - acceptable standard, showing an adequate basic knowledge, understanding or skills, but with definite limitations on the extent of such understanding or application. Some parts may be incomplete.
In the 50-59% range.
N Not satisfactory -  failure to meet the basic requirements of the assessment.
Below 50%.

We will aim to have assignment results made available to you within two weeks after assignment receipt.

Feedback Feedback to you

You will receive feedback on your work and progress in this unit. This feedback may be provided through your participation in tutorials and class discussions, as well as through your assignment submissions. It may come in the form of individual advice, marks and comments, or it may be provided as comment or reflection targeted at the group. It may be provided through personal interactions, such as interviews and on-line forums, or through other mechanisms such as on-line self-tests and publication of grade distributions.

Feedback from you

You will be asked to provide feedback to the Faculty through a Unit Evaluation survey at the end of the semester. You may also be asked to complete surveys to help teaching staff improve the unit and unit delivery. Your input to such surveys is very important to the faculty and the teaching staff in maintaining relevant and high quality learning experiences for our students.

And if you are having problems

It is essential that you take action immediately if you realise that you have a problem with your study. The semester is short, so we can help you best if you let us know as soon as problems arise. Regardless of whether the problem is related directly to your progress in the unit, if it is likely to interfere with your progress you should discuss it with your lecturer or a Community Service counsellor as soon as possible.

Plagiarism and cheating

Plagiarism and cheating are regarded as very serious offences. In cases where cheating  has been confirmed, students have been severely penalised, from losing all marks for an assignment, to facing disciplinary action at the Faculty level. While we would wish that all our students adhere to sound ethical conduct and honesty, I will ask you to acquaint yourself with Student Rights and Responsibilities and the Faculty regulations that apply to students detected cheating as these will be applied in all detected cases.

In this University, cheating means seeking to obtain an unfair advantage in any examination or any other written or practical work to be submitted or completed by a student for assessment. It includes the use, or attempted use, of any means to gain an unfair advantage for any assessable work in the unit, where the means is contrary to the instructions for such work. 

When you submit an individual assessment item, such as a program, a report, an essay, assignment or other piece of work, under your name you are understood to be stating that this is your own work. If a submission is identical with, or similar to, someone else's work, an assumption of cheating may arise. If you are planning on working with another student, it is acceptable to undertake research together, and discuss problems, but it is not acceptable to jointly develop or share solutions unless this is specified by your lecturer. 

Intentionally providing students with your solutions to assignments is classified as "assisting to cheat" and students who do this may be subject to disciplinary action. You should take reasonable care that your solution is not accidentally or deliberately obtained by other students. For example, do not leave copies of your work in progress on the hard drives of shared computers, and do not show your work to other students. If you believe this may have happened, please be sure to contact your lecturer as soon as possible.

Cheating also includes taking into an examination any material contrary to the regulations, including any bilingual dictionary, whether or not with the intention of using it to obtain an advantage.

Plagiarism involves the false representation of another person's ideas, or findings, as your own by either copying material or paraphrasing without citing sources. It is both professional and ethical to reference clearly the ideas and information that you have used from another writer. If the source is not identified, then you have plagiarised work of the other author. Plagiarism is a form of dishonesty that is insulting to the reader and grossly unfair to your student colleagues.


Weeks 1-6 of this unit will be handled by Manzur and Weeks 7-13 will be handled by Shyh Wei.

The following is the contact details

Unit Adviser : A. Prof. Manzur Murshed

Room No:
4N-246 Email:
manzur.murshed@infotech.monash.edu.au Telephone:
+61 3 5122 6467 from Gippsland
+61 3 9902 6467 from Melbourne or other location Fax:
+61 3 5122 6879 from Gippsland
+61 3 9902 6879 from Melbourne or other location


Unit Adviser : Dr Shyh Wei Teng

Room No:
4N-235 Email:
Shyh.Wei.Teng@infotech.monash.edu.au Telephone:
+61 3 5122 6851 from Gippsland
+61 3 9902 6851 from Melbourne or other location Fax:
+61 3 5122 6879 from Gippsland
+61 3 9902 6879 from Melbourne or other location

When/when not to contact us personally

Unless you have personal enquiries all communication related to the unit content must be via the newsgroups. If you do send me an email that relates to the content of the unit it will not be answered.

Personal enquiries may include requests for assignment extensions, special consideration requests, or the need to discuss your personal progress. You are certainly not asked to put anything of a personal nature into your newsgroup postings. Personal matters can also be dealt with by telephone, but please be warned that I may be hard to catch on the phone.

Some students understandably feel a little uncertain about their assignment submissions, and ask if we can look over assignments prior to submission. Unfortunately this is not possible. Use the assignment newsgroup to place a general question related to your area of uncertainty rather than sending code or questions to our email.

Personal queries should be emailed to me. Medical certificates and other printed documents can be faxed when required. For the phone number go to http://www.gscit.monash.edu.au/contact/.


Notices related to the unit during the semester will be placed on the Notices Newsgroup in the Unit Website. Check this regularly. Failure to read the Notices newsgroup is not regarded as grounds for special consideration.

Consultation Times

To be accounced by respective unit lecturer.

If direct communication with your unit adviser/lecturer or tutor outside of consultation periods is needed you may contact the lecturer and/or tutors at:

All email communication to you from your lecturer will occur through your Monash student email address. Please ensure that you read it regularly, or forward your email to your main address. Also check that your contact information registered with the University is up to date in My.Monash.

Last updated: Feb 27, 2006