Welcome to the graduate database course. This is an exciting subject with ongoing developments. I'm looking forward to your participation in the course and hope you will share any database experience you may already have with your classmates and me.
The area of database systems is very broad, related on the one hand to applications in business data processing and on the other to abstract, theoretical computer science. This course will include a mix of theory and practice, but it will be weighted towards providing a background in general database principles, in order to help students appreciate the structure of data models and the issues in current database research and development. However, you will also become literate in at least one important commercial system. This term you'll have the opportunity to use Villanova's Oracle 9i system, which resides on one of the departmental UNIX machines ("csdb"; MySQL is there as well). MS-Access is also widely available in our PC labs (you might also have your own copy), so we might illustrate some ideas in that software as well. Finally, you may choose to do your project development in MySQL (rather than Oracle), but you'll be rather more on your own in that case. Details will be forthcoming.
We won't be covering Web programming as such; therefore, if you are looking for a course with neat stuff like that, you should consider some of our department's other offerings. However, there'll be some discussion of JDBC and other strategies for accessing a back-end database over the Web. It might also be a good idea (but is not really necessary) if your project team has someone with experience in this area.
You have accounts on the departmental UNIX cluster, which will be used for Oracle (and could for MySQL, too). The department home page has a link with instructions for logging into your UNIX account. The first semester you joined our program at Villanova you were given a UNIX login and password. Please check them soon to be certain that you remember them correctly. If this is your first semester here, you'll be informed what your login and password are.
The other topic you might be wondering about is "Big Data." While we'll be discussing such ideas as Big Data, NoSQL, and packages like Hadoop from time to time, our focus in this course will be on relational databases.
It will be important for you to log in and check your email frequently, since that will be my primary means for getting in touch with the class for general announcements and with individual students for special arrangements. The address I will use will be your Villanova (@villanova.edu) one, so be sure to check it at least twice weekly, and watch your inbox quota. Feel free to contact me by email with as many questions as you want. Remember to send a copy of any such correspondence to the graduate assistant, so that one of us can respond to you quickly. The course homepage will also contain updated administrative information.
The University uses Blackboard as its course management system. I'll pretty much continue with the present website, but I'll try to link Blackboard as well. And I'll try to keep your grade information on Blackboard, for your convenience.
Homework will be assigned weekly, pretty much. If you can't make a class, make sure that the homework is still submitted by class time (since I will generally present solutions at the beginning of class the date homework is due) and by email, so that there will be a record of your submission. While you are permitted to discuss pending assignments with your classmates, you must write up your own work. Submissions that resemble classmates' won't be accepted. Finally, try to prepare all your assignments with a word processor. If you can't swing it some times, you may scan and send an extremely legible paper. Send it to the TA, with cc to me. Both the attached file name and email subject tag should have the homework number and your name.
That said, the vehicle that your group will use on the semester project will be completely up to the consensus of your group. As described at that link, though, everyone in the group needs to be able to access the database, and you must be able to demo full functionality of your project to Naga. Since Naga's responsibility for support will apply primarily to Oracle on csdb, you should expect to be pretty much on your own if you choose to use one of the acceptable alternate technologies. You're also free to use the front end of your choice (UNIX, Java, php, SQL Developer, MySQL Workbench, XAMPP, etc). You can find some information here on using the departmental UNIX cluster. NOTE: While the departmental website is getting its new nifty design, you can see that information ghosted here, but only from a browser within the Villanova domain. Here are links to guidance on using the departmental copies of Oracle and MySQL. Let Naga and me know about any issues or difficulties you have in accessing these programs.
|Dr. Don Goelman|
|Mendel Science Center 162A||W 3:00-5:00 PM, and by appointment|
|Voice: 610-519-7346||FAX: 610-519-7889|
Remember to send her all homework assignments and to cc her all project phases and questions of any type.In this way, you'll be able to receive a response if I'm not available. She'll be doing the grading of homeworks, as well as some preprocessing of project work.
|Examinations (no cumulative final exam) (October5 and December 7, resp.)||300|
|Project: database development||150|
|Other (participation, cc-ing the TA, etc)||10||TOTAL||480|
Typically, break points for letter grades are 90, 80, 70, etc. Upper ends of B and C ranges are "+" grades. Lower ends of A and B ranges are "-" grades.
Finally, you might also want to take a look at the ACM Code of Ethics and Professional Conduct.
Last updated: December 16, 2016