INF1343 – Introduction to Database Modeling and Database Design Syllabus

(Note: Syllabus and course outline adapted from Keith Thomas’ 2006 FIS1343 course and Steve Hockema’s 2007/2008 FIS1343 course)


Semester:  Winter 2010                                          

Meeting Place:  Lectures: BL 114                             Meeting Time:  Mondays 9am to noon

                            Labs: BL 225




Teaching Assistant


Kelly Lyons

Daniela Rosu

Office Room: 

iSouth #314

SF4306 (Sandford Fleming)

Office Phone: 



Office Hour: 

By appointment via email

Friday’s before assignments are due:

5pm to 6pm

Tuesday’s after assignments are returned:

5pm to 6pm


Or by appointment via email



Course Objectives

The course is intended to enable the student to:

·         Discuss and analyse the problems and principles of database structure, application and management, with primary emphasis on strongly-typed data and relational databases, supplemented by some consideration of weakly-typed data and other kinds of databases (demonstrated through in-class activities and the final exam)

·         Design and implement relational databases by applying principles and techniques of database design, with emphasis on entity-relationship modelling and relational database design (demonstrated through labs, assignments 1 and 2, and the final exam)

·         Identify appropriate entities and relationships in designing a database, describe how a given database design supports user requirements, and weigh trade-offs in designing a database (demonstrated through in-class activities, labs, assignment 1, and the final exam)

·         Design and implement SQL statements to retrieve appropriate information from database systems (demonstrated through labs, assignment 3, and the final exam)

·         Apply the principles learned through hands-on experience using MS Access, MySQL, and possibly other tools (demonstrated through labs and assignments 2 and 3)

Course Description

The course consists of seven three-hour lecture sessions and five hands-on lab sessions (see the Detailed Course Outline).  The lecture sessions will consist of a mix of instructor lectures, guest lectures, discussions, and active learning sessions in which students engage individually and in groups in instructor-led activities.

The student’s grade will be based on three assignments and a final exam.

This is a professional masters program course. Therefore, we will learn together, from one another, and relate the knowledge learned through the course to our past experiences and imagined future opportunities.  During discussions on-line and in class, interaction among students is essential in making the course a success. See also my general teaching philosophy and expectations.

Assignments and Assessment

The following list identifies the assignments, their due dates and their value toward the final grade. The specific requirements for each assignment will be handed out separately.  All assignments are to be submitted via Blackboard.

Note that an assignment which has not been submitted by 9 am on the due date (as indicated by its Blackboard time stamp) will be subject to a penalty of 10% of its value immediately, and to an additional penalty of 2% of its value at 9am on each day thereafter that it remains outstanding.



Due Date


A1. Database Design I

8 February 9am


A2. Database Design and Implementation II

8 March 9am


A3. Database Queries and Reports

29 March 9am






5 April in class










Information Resources

A course website will provide the course syllabus and outline and Blackboard will be used as a learning management system to support sharing of information, slides, important dates, assignments, and other information about the course, as well as the facilitation of interaction among students on topics related to the course. 

Note: Questions should be posted to the discussion forums of the Blackboard course site.  Students are encouraged to post answers to the questions of other students where appropriate.

Important: Questions posted to the discussion forums or sent by email will be answered within two (2) business days.


We will be using the online learning management system, Blackboard, for course communication.  Most course materials will be made available there.  Students are expected to log into Blackboard to check for Announcements on a weekly basis (and/or configure their accounts such that they can be informed via email). 

Required Text (general database theory and practice)

Data Management: Databases and Organizations, Fifth Edition

Richard T. Watson

John Wiley and Sons, Inc., 2006

ISBN:  0-471-71536-0.


This is a comprehensive and up-to-date book that covers most of the topics on the course and some extra material. It provides a unique approach to presenting material on ER models.   Its explanations are concise and thorough.  It should serve as a useful reference for several years.  A copy is also available on reserve in the Inforum.

Additional Reading

Modern Information Retrieval

Baeza-Yates, R., & Ribeiro, B.

ACM Press/Addison-Wesley; 1999

ISBN:  0-20-139829-x.  (025.524 B142M)

This is available as a two hour loan at the Inforum.


Database Management Systems, Third Edition

Ramakrishnan, R., & Gehrke, J.,

McGraw-Hill; 2003 ISBN: 0-07-246563-8.  (005.74 R165D3)

This is available as a two hour loan at the Inforum.


Access 2003 All-in-One Desk Reference For Dummies

Simpson, A., & Young, M. L.

John Wiley & Sons; 2003. ISBN: 0-76-453988-4

This is available as a two hour loan at the Inforum.

Database System Resources

Our main focus will be on using MySQL for the labs and assignments.  We interact with MySQL through phpMyAdmin. See: for more information. You will be given a userid and password to connect through a web browser to the phpMyAdmin server and MySQL server.  There are numerous on-line tutorials and documentation for using phpMyAdmin and MySQL.  You should start with the home pages (above for phpMyAdmin) and here for MySQL:

Students will have an option to also use Microsoft Access which is part of the Microsoft Office tool suite for some of the exercises, labs and assignments.  This is available on all lab computers and other workstations within Toronto iSchool.  It is possible to learn MS Access to the extent required for this course simply by using it and its extensive on-line help system.  For those who feel the need of a text there are many choose from.  An introductory text is sufficient.  A suitable text for beginners is:

Access 2003 All-in-One Desk Reference for Dummies

Simpson, A., & Young, M. L.

John Wiley & Sons; 2003.

ISBN: 0-76-453988-4

This is available as a two hour loan at the Inforum.


General Expectations

Grading Guidelines: For all work in this course, I will be following the Faculty of Information grading system here.

Participation and Attendance:  Classroom discussion and interaction is an important way to learn. Sharing your experiences and ideas with your classmates is central to your learning experience in this course.  As such, it is expected that you will attend and participate in every class to the extent that is possible.  There will be exercises and discussions that you can participate in during class in groups, in the labs, and on-line.  You will not be assessed on your participation in these discussions but they will be very helpful in your learning process.

Each class will start on time. I will be on time and expect everyone else to make their best effort to arrive on time as well.

Academic Integrity:  Your conduct as a University of Toronto student is covered in detail here. Acting with integrity and respect for an individual’s ideas and their rights is not only required in your academic career but will be essential to success in your future career and life interactions.  In particular, it is critical to learn how to cite others’ work properly in academic writing and publications and to give appropriate credit.

Students with Special Needs or Health Considerations:  All students are welcome in this course and I will make every effort to ensure a meaningful, respectful and positive learning experience for everyone. If there are special considerations that you require to help you successfully fulfill the requirements of the course, please feel free to see me, the Faculty of Information Student Services, and /or contact the Accessibility Student Office as soon as possible so we can ensure you are able to successfully meet the learning objectives for this course.  The Accessibility Services staff are available by appointment where they will assess specific needs, provide referrals and arrange appropriate accommodations.