FIT9003 Database systems design - Semester 1 , 2007 unit guide

Semester 1, 2007

Chief Examiner

Rob Meredith


Caulfield : Rob Meredith


This unit is designed to introduce students to the fundamental concepts necessary for the analysis, design, use and implementation of business information systems using relational database management systems. The main topics covered include requirements elicitation, systems analysis and design informed by a lifecycle based methodology, motivation for the database approach to managing information, conceptual modelling, coverage of logical process and data models, and the use of SQL and other facilities provided by database management systems.


To develop student knowledge of the techniques for functional analysis of a business problem, requirements specification of a database application system, and planning, designing, implementing and manipulating a database within a methodological framework.


There are no prerequisites for this unit.

Unit relationships

FIT9003 is a core unit in the Master of Business Systems and Master of Information Management and Systems degrees.

There are no prerequisites for this unit.

You may not study this unit as well as the following units in your degree:

  • CSE9002
  • BUS3112
  • BUS4112
  • IMS9001
  • IMS9003
  • GCO9804
  • BUS9003
  • CSE4430
  • BUS5071


Texts and software

Required text(s)

Simsion, G.C., & Witt, G.C. (2005) Data Modelling Essentials, 3rd Edition, Morgan Kaufmann Publishers.

Textbook availability

The text book is available from the Monash University Book Shops. The book is also available on 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.

Software requirements

There are no specific software requirements beyond standard student software such as Microsoft Office. You may find it useful to have a copy of a drawing package such as Microsoft Visio, or other CASE tool. Microsoft SQL Server 2005 will be used in tutorials, and you may be interested in downloading the free 'express' version from

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 4 hours per week for use of a computer, including time for newsgroups/discussion groups.

Recommended reading

The following texts will be useful, but not mandatory, for studying the unit:

Rob, P. & Coronel, C., (2007). Database Systems Design, Implementation and Management, 7th Ed., Thomson Course Technology

Hoffer, J.A., George, J.F. & Valacich, J.S. (2005). Modern systems analysis and design. (4th ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Education International/Prentice-Hall.

Hoffer, J.A Prescott, M.B. and Mcfadden, F.R; Modern Database Management 6th ed. Prentice-Hall/Pearson Education, 2005

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 FIT9003 are:

The FIT9003 web site on MUSO, where lecture slides, weekly tutorial exercises, assignment specifications, sample solutions, supplementary materials and discussion forums can be found.

Unit website

Structure and organisation

Week Topics
1 Introduction Systems and Databases
2 ER Modelling Basics
3 Logical and Physical Modelling
4 Normalisation 1
5 Normalisation 2
6 Advanced Modelling Techniques
Non teaching week
7 Introduction to SQL
8 Alternative Modelling Approaches
9 The Consulting Process
10 Data Warehousing and Multidimensional Modelling
11 Corporate Data Models
12 Guest Lecture
13 Conclusion and Revision


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


Assessment weighting

Assessment for the unit consists of 2 assignments with a weighting of 30% and an examination with a weighting of 70%. Read this section VERY carefully.

Assessment Policy

To pass this unit you must:

Obtain at least 40% of the available marks for assignment work, as well as at least 40% of the available marks in the exam. In addition, you must obtain an overall grade of 50%. Should your overall grade be more than 50%, but you do not get at least 40% for the assignment work or exam, the grade will be adjusted to 44%.

Your score for the unit will be calculated by:

Overall grade = 0.15 x Assignment 1 result + 0.15 x Assignment 2 result + 0.7 x Exam result. Your final grade is determined by applying the formula above, except where either the combined assignment result or the exam result is less than 40% of the available marks respectively. In such a case, the final grade will be no more than 44%.

Assessment Requirements

Assessment Due Date Weighting
Assignment 1 Week 8 15%
Assignment 2 Week 11 15 %
The exam is 3 hours long and is closed book. Exam period (S1/07) starts on 07/06/07 70 %

Assignment specifications will be made available on the FIT9003 Unit Web Site Assignment Page.

Assignment Submission

Assignments will be submitted by paper submission to your tutor. On-campus Students submit the assignment directly to your tutor during the tutorial session of the week the assignment is due, with the appropriate cover sheet correctly filled out and attached. Off Campus students submit your assignments electronically via email to The due date is the date by which the submission must be received.

Extensions and late submissions

Late submission of assignments

Assignments received after the due date will be subject to a penalty of 10 marks per day (ie, an assignment graded 65% would receive a mark of 55% if submitted one day late). Weekends count as a single day. Assignments more than one week late will not be accepted, and a result of 0 will be recorded.

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 to the lecturer at least two days before the due date. You will be asked for original medical certificates in cases of illness, and may be asked to provide other forms of documentation where necessary.

Grading of assessment

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

Grade Percentage/description
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%.

Assignment return

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


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.

Unit improvements

First offering of unit.

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.


Communication methods

There are a number of methods of getting in touch with staff to discuss this unit.  You can directly contact a staff member either via phone or email (preferred).  You can also post questions to the discussion forums hosted on the FIT9003 Unit Website.


Notices related to the unit during the semester will be placed on the front page of the FIT9003 Unit Website. Check this regularly. Failure to read the Notices is not regarded as grounds for special consideration.

Consultation Times

By arrangement via email or direct request.

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:

Dr Rob Meredith
Phone +61 3 990 32396
Fax +61 3 990 31204

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 19, 2007