CSE3180 Principles of database systems - Summer semester , 2007

Unit leader :

Samar Zutshi

Lecturer(s) :


  • Samar Zutshi

Tutors(s) :


  • Manoj Kathpalia
  • Flora Salim
  • Oshadi Alahakoon


This unit, CSE3180, is an introductory unit on Database Technology designed for non-FIT students who have some technical background. The unit is designed to give you an understanding of relational database design and implementation. Both theoretical and practical aspects will be covered and assessed.

Unit synopsis

This unit is designed to provide Business non-computing students with technology and social skills. Students will be requied to analyse, design and develope a working model relational database for a given project. They will be required to work in teams, thus encountering social strengths and also possibly problems, whcih they will be expected to rationalise and solve. They should, on successful completion of the unit, be able confidently to work and to contribute to real life business databases, adn to be able to clearly and explicitly state their requirements as well as to, eventually, manage project. They will also have a sound grounding in technology skills and will be able to keep up with new technologies in this area, including Web technology.

Learning outcomes

At the completion of this unit students should be able to competently understand and contribute to the design and implementation of databases in the business environment. They should have sufficient skills in SQL to be able to construct test data and to develop and execute queries on a database which is under construction.


This is an on-campus unit, therefore all students are expected to attend lectures and tutorials. The expected weekly workload commitments are:

Contact hours (total 18 hrs): 

  • 3 two-hour lectures
  • 3 two-hour tutorials

Personal Study (total approx 20-30 hrs per week)

  • Assignment work requiring a computer for word processing software (either at home or at the lab): Approx 12 - 15 hrs in week 1, approx 6 - 8 hrs in week 2.
  • Assignment work requiring lab access for Oracle: Approx 12 - 14 hrs in week 2
  • Self-study (not requiring computer use) based on unit materials and extra resources e.g. books borrowed from library: Approx 2-4 hrs per week in weeks 1 and 2,  more if necessary
  • Exam preparation (may require some lab access for Oracle SQL practice): Approx 25-30 hours of study during week 3 and study break
  • Consultation with staff as necessary
Please note that the above times are estimates, so be prepared to spend more time if you are falling behind. Also, it is generally helpful to take the time to discuss your progress on assignments and exam prep with staff during their consultation time(s) as well discussing any particular points that may be unclear.

Unit relationships


Officially,  CSE1720 is considered a pre-requisite. However, if you have completed a statistics unit like BUS1010 or ETX1000 or ETX1010 or equivalent and are in your third year, you should be able to cope.

Familiarity with MS-Office and Windows Operating system is expected. Some  knowledge of Business functions may be an advantage.


CSE3180 is a third year elective unit for any non-IT Faculty degree.

FIT students should not enrol in this this unit because prohibitions include FIT1004, CSE2132 and equivalent units.

Continuous improvement

Monash is committed to ‘Excellence in education' and strives for the highest possible quality in teaching and learning. To monitor how successful we are in providing quality teaching and learning Monash regularly seeks feedback from students, employers and staff. Two of the formal ways that you are invited to provide feedback are through Unit Evaluations and through Monquest Teaching Evaluations.

One of the key formal ways students have to provide feedback is through Unit Evaluation Surveys. It is Monash policy for every unit offered to be evaluated each year. Students are strongly encouraged to complete the surveys as they are an important avenue for students to "have their say". The feedback is anonymous and provides the Faculty with evidence of aspects that students are satisfied and areas for improvement.

Student Evaluations

The Faculty of IT administers the Unit Evaluation surveys online through the my.monash portal, although for some smaller classes there may be alternative evaluations conducted in class.

If you wish to view how previous students rated this unit, please go to http://www.monash.edu.au/unit-evaluation-reports/

Over the past few years the Faculty of Information Technology has made a number of improvements to its courses as a result of unit evaluation feedback. Some of these include systematic analysis and planning of unit improvements, and consistent assignment return guidelines.

Monquest Teaching Evaluation surveys may be used by some of your academic staff this semester. They are administered by the Centre for Higher Education Quality (CHEQ) and may be completed in class with a facilitator or on-line through the my.monash portal. The data provided to lecturers is completely anonymous. Monquest surveys provide academic staff with evidence of the effectiveness of their teaching and identify areas for improvement. Individual Monquest reports are confidential, however, you can see the summary results of Monquest evaluations for 2006 at http://www.adm.monash.edu.au/cheq/evaluations/monquest/profiles/index.html

Unit staff - contact details

Unit leader

Mr Samar Zutshi

Contact hours : Friday 11am-1pm

Lecturer(s) :

Mr Samar Zutshi

Contact hours : Friday 11am-1pm

Tutor(s) :

Ms Flora Salim
Mr Manoj Kathpalia

Failed to retrieve details for Oshadi Alahakoon

Teaching and learning method

Theoretical concepts as well as tips on practical matters will be covered in the lectures. The lectures are meant to be interactive and you are expected to participate by asking questions or responding when the lecturer raises questions.

Due to the extremely short timeline available, you are strongly ecnouraged to attend all classes and complete all tutorial work. The tutorial work should serve to cement thetopics covered in the lectures.

Please note that self-study and assignment work are to be undertaken outside of the contact hours. Failing to stay abreast with the class will seriously affect your chances of performing well on the unit.

Communication, participation and feedback

Monash aims to provide a learning environment in which students receive a range of ongoing feedback throughout their studies. You will receive feedback on your work and progress in this unit. This may take the form of group feedback, individual feedback, peer feedback, self-comparison, verbal and written feedback, discussions (on line and in class) as well as more formal feedback related to assignment marks and grades. You are encouraged to draw on a variety of feedback to enhance your learning.

It is essential that you take action immediately if you realise that you have a problem that is affecting your study. Semesters are 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.

Summer semester dates

Key dates for units offered over the summer period vary widely. Please note the following important information with respect to the dates applying to this unit offering.

The unit is taught from Nov 20 through to Dec 5. The learning modules run on Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays.

Assignments are to be submitted during the teaching period; the first assignment is due on 26th November 2007 and the second one is due on 3rd December 2007.

The exam is scheduled for 10th December 2007. 

Unit Schedule

Week Topic Key dates
1 Database (DB) Intro and the Relational Model, Conceptual DB Design, Logical DB Design 1 Sem starts 19 Nov 2007
2 Logical DB Design II, SQL I, SQL II Assignment 1 Due: 26 Nov 2007
3 SQL III, Physical DB Design, DB Admin and Advanced Topics Assignment 2 Due: 3 Dec 2007
4 Exam Period (no classes) Exam: 10 December 2007

Unit Resources

Prescribed text(s) and readings

No text required.

Recommended text(s) and readings

Jeffrey A. Hoffer, Mary B. Prescott, Fred R. McFadden, Modern database management. 2007.  Pearson/Prentice Hall,  Upper Saddle River, N.J. 


Older editions for the book also contain all the material necessary.

Required software and/or hardware

You will need access to the university labs to use an Oracle client for assignment work and exam preparation from week 2 onwards.

Equipment and consumables required or provided

Students wanting to study at home will need access to a computer with

  • Internet access, preferably broadband
  • A web browser compliant with the MUSO (sakai) minimum requirements
  • Word Processing or typesetting software, e.g. OpenOffice (*nix and cross platform), iWork Pages (Mac Only), MS-Office (Windows only)  
  • A PDF reader such as Xpdf (*nix), Adobe Reader (most platforms)

If you don't have access to equipment that meets the above criteria, please find out which lab(s) are available for after hours use and, if necessary, register for access with the appropriate authorities.

You may be required to spend up to 25-30 hours a week on self study and assignment work outside of lab time. Depending on your preferred study method(s), anywhere between a half to all of that may require computer access.

Study resources

Study resources we will provide for your study are:

Please note that all materials below will only be provided in electronic form, you will have to print them yourself.

  • Lecture notes for each module
  • Tutorial excercises for each module
  • Partial solutions/hints to tutorial excercises released a few days later
  • Assignment specifications
  • A sample and past exam (complete solutions not provided)
  • Online discussion forums
  • The unit web site, accessed via MUSO[*].
  • Assignment cover sheets
  • This unit guide
[*]Please note that the text below says that the content in MUSO is delivered via Blackboard. However, the online content will actually be delievered through an application called Sakai. So when you log in to MUSO please be aware that the interface may be somewhat different from what you are used to. Further, Sakai does not require a Java runtime environment and should work in most modern browswers such as Firefox 1.5 and above and IE 6 and above.

Library access

The Monash University Library site contains details about borrowing rights and catalogue searching. To learn more about the library and the various resources available, please go to http://www.lib.monash.edu.au.  Be sure to obtain a copy of the Library Guide, and if necessary, the instructions for remote access from the library website.

Monash University Studies Online (MUSO)

All unit and lecture materials are available through MUSO (Monash University Studies Online). Blackboard is the primary application used to deliver your unit resources.

You can access MUSO and Blackboard via the portal (http://my.monash.edu.au).

Click on the Study and enrolment tab, then Blackboard under the MUSO learning systems.

In order for your Blackboard unit(s) to function correctly, your computer needs to be correctly configured.

For example :

  • Blackboard supported browser
  • Supported Java runtime environment

For more information, please visit


You can contact the MUSO Support by: Phone: (+61 3) 9903 1268

For further contact information including operational hours, please visit


Further information can be obtained from the MUSO support site:



Unit assessment policy

The unit is assessed with two assignments and a three hour closed book examination. To pass the unit you must: 

  • score at least 40% across the assignments and
  • score at least 40% on the exam and
  • score at least 50% overall

Assignment tasks

  • Assignment Task
    Title :
    Description :
    This is a conceptual and logical database design assignment. You will be required to construct a conceptual model using ER-Diagrams for a given scenario. A detailed specification will be released during the first week of teaching and discussed in the lecture. Please follow the announcements made on the official unit website for further information, discussion and hints on the assignment.
    Weighting :
    Criteria for assessment :
    You will be assessed on the depth of understanding demonstrated, creativity, use of appropriate naming conventions and overall clarity. Detailed criteria for assessment will be released along with the detailed assignment specification.
    Due date :
    26 Nov 2007
    Remarks ( optional - leave blank for none ) :
    Submission details and times will be included with the assignment specification.
  • Assignment Task
    Title :
    Description :
    You will be required to normalise and implement a relational schema (set of tables) in Oracle using a command line interface. In addition, you will be asked to construct SQL queries that extract data from the implemented database. A detailed specification will be released during the first week of teaching and discussed in the lecture. Please follow the announcements made on the official unit website for further information, discussion and hints on the assignment.
    Weighting :
    Criteria for assessment :
    For normalisation, you will be assessed on: your knowledge of the various normal forms; the ability to correctly transform a relation to successive higher normal forms; correct identification of functional dependencies arising from business rules; judgement excercised in making any required assumptions.For implementation, you will be assessed on syntactical and logical correctness but not on efficiency or elegance.(By the way, don't panic if you don't understand anything in this section during Week 1 of teaching.  Of course, feel free to panic if you don't understand it in Week 3.)
    Due date :
    3 Dec 2007
    Remarks ( optional - leave blank for none ) :
    Submission details and times will be included with the assignment specification.


  • Examination
    Weighting :
    Length :
    3 hours
    Type ( open/closed book ) :
    Closed book
    Remarks ( optional - leave blank for none ) :
    The exam will test your problem solving abilities rather than your memory. Therefore you will not be able to pass if you wait until the last minute to prepare. Please ensure that you keep up to date with all lecture, tutorial and assignment work in order to develop the necessary understanding and  problem solving skills so that you can do well on the exam. Sample exam materials will be provided that will illustrate the type of questions you can reasonably expect on the exam, however you will not know in advance what questions will be asked.

Assignment submission

Assignment 1 will be submitted by paper submission.

Assignment 2 will require both a  paper and and electronic submission.

Details will be made available along with the detailed assignment specifications. 

Assignment coversheets

Faculty of Information Technology cover sheets, duly filled in and signed, must be attached to the front of all hard copy submissions. A link to an electronic copy of the appropriate assignment cover sheet(s) will be provided as part of the unit resources.

University and Faculty policy on assessment

Due dates and extensions

The due dates for the submission of assignments are given in the previous section. Please make every effort to submit work by the due dates. 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. Students are advised to NOT assume that granting of an extension is a matter of course.

Requests for extensions must be made to the unit lecturer at your campus 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.

Late assignment

Assignments received after the due time before 5pm on the same day will incur a penalty of up to 20%. Each successive day will incur a further 20% penalty. Assignments received more than three days late will not 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. Further, the extremely short timeline of the unit means that staff have less time to provide feedback and prepare solutions. Further, if you fall behind on an assignment, it may be extremely difficult for you to catch up given the intensive nature and short duration of the unit.

Return dates

Students can expect assignments to be returned within two weeks of the submission date or after receipt, whichever is later.

Assessment for the unit as a whole is in accordance with the provisions of the Monash University Education Policy at http://www.policy.monash.edu/policy-bank/academic/education/assessment/

We will aim to have assignment results made available to you within a week of having received the assignments.

Plagiarism, cheating and collusion

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 (http://www.infotech.monash.edu.au/about/committees-groups/facboard/policies/studrights.html) 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.

Register of counselling about plagiarism

The university requires faculties to keep a simple and confidential register to record counselling to students about plagiarism (e.g. warnings). The register is accessible to Associate Deans Teaching (or nominees) and, where requested, students concerned have access to their own details in the register. The register is to serve as a record of counselling about the nature of plagiarism, not as a record of allegations; and no provision of appeals in relation to the register is necessary or applicable.

Non-discriminatory language

The Faculty of Information Technology is committed to the use of non-discriminatory language in all forms of communication. Discriminatory language is that which refers in abusive terms to gender, race, age, sexual orientation, citizenship or nationality, ethnic or language background, physical or mental ability, or political or religious views, or which stereotypes groups in an adverse manner. This is not meant to preclude or inhibit legitimate academic debate on any issue; however, the language used in such debate should be non-discriminatory and sensitive to these matters. It is important to avoid the use of discriminatory language in your communications and written work. The most common form of discriminatory language in academic work tends to be in the area of gender inclusiveness. You are, therefore, requested to check for this and to ensure your work and communications are non-discriminatory in all respects.

Students with disabilities

Students with disabilities that may disadvantage them in assessment should seek advice from one of the following before completing assessment tasks and examinations:

Deferred assessment and special consideration

Deferred assessment (not to be confused with an extension for submission of an assignment) may be granted in cases of extenuating personal circumstances such as serious personal illness or bereavement. Special consideration in the awarding of grades is also possible in some circumstances. Information and forms for Special Consideration and deferred assessment applications are available at http://www.monash.edu.au/exams/special-consideration.html. Contact the Faculty's Student Services staff at your campus for further information and advice.