INF 385M - Database Management Principles and ApplicationsSchool of Information - The University of Texas at Austin
Spring, 2006

Course Catalog Description

Database management systems, including architecture, design, administration and implementation. Evaluation and use of database-management systems for microcomputers. (Graduate standing)

Extended Course Description

Principles and practices of database management and database design. Discussion and practice cover database application lifecycle, data dictionaries, relational database design, SQL queries, reports and other interfaces to database data, and documentation. Lectures also cover Web databases, XML, multimedia databases, and ethical and privacy issues associated with database systems. Individual and group projects.

Objectives and Learning Outcomes

At the end of this course, students should:

Specific learning outcomes include being able to:


This course will concentrate on the fundamentals of database design, but will also include a substantial amount of time on other topics related to database management systems, such as the advantages and disadvantages of database management systems, the roles various people play in developing and managing these systems, and the range of different types of systems.

See the Schedule page for a detailed list of the topics that will be covered each week during the course, as well as any readings or assignments that should be done.


There is one required text for this course:

Hernandez, Michael J. (2003). Database Design for Mere Mortals: A Hands-On Guide to Relational Database Design. Reading, MA: Addison-Wesley.

There are also a handful of required supplementary readings. These are listed on the Resources page and referenced on the Schedule page for the week in which they are to be read.

Several of the assignments in this course require that you use a database application program to create your own database. You will use Microsoft Access for all or most of these assignments; database software other than Access (e.g., MySQL or FileMaker Pro) might be an option for Assignment 7.

We'll briefly discuss the use of Access for various tasks during several class sessions, but you will be responsible for learning Access on your own outside of class. Don't let this scare you; Access is relatively easy to learn, and there are many good books and Web resources that cover Access. Just be aware that very little class time in this course is devoted to teaching you how to use Access. Some resources for learning Access and other database topics are listed on the Resources page.

Assignments and Grading

There are no exams or papers in this course; instead, there are seven assignments designed to provide you with the opportunity to apply the concepts covered in class to database design problems similar to what you might encounter in a wide variety of information professions. Each assignment is worth a specific number of points, as noted in the assignment details. Your cumulative score on all assignments will determine your final grade for the course, with each assignment weighted like so:

Assignment 1 6%
Assignment 2 12%
Assignment 3 10%
Assignment 4 12%
Assignment 5 10%
Assignment 6 20%
Assignment 7 25%

Thus, the assignments total 95% of your final grade; the remaining 5% will be based on class participation and other indicators of level of effort. Unless otherwise noted, assignments are due at the beginning of class on the due date. Late assignments will be docked several points for each day they are late.

Assignments 4 and 7 will be done in groups of two or possibly three people.

©Gary Geisler
Last revised April 19, 2006