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COMP104 Fundamentals of Computing

Unit rationale, description and aim

Databases store information in electronic records that may be searched, retrieved and organised in countless ways. Having information in a database, instead of on paper or in spreadsheets, not only saves time and preserves vital information but also allows students to see patterns and trends that are not otherwise visible.

This unit develops students' understanding of the theoretical and practical aspects of database management systems and their implementation in information systems. Students are first introduced to database modelling and the design and implementation of database systems and then they go on to explore the use of database query languages for the creation, maintenance and querying of databases.

The aim of this unit is to build the skills and knowledge for implementing a database system.

Learning outcomes

To successfully complete this unit you will be able to demonstrate you have achieved the learning outcomes (LO) detailed in the below table.

Each outcome is informed by a number of graduate capabilities (GC) to ensure your work in this, and every unit, is part of a larger goal of graduating from ACU with the attributes of insight, empathy, imagination and impact.

Explore the graduate capabilities.

On successful completion of this unit, students should be able to:

LO1 - Communicate a knowledge and understanding of the theory and practical skills used in database management (GA5, GA8) 

LO2 - Conceptualise a data model for the design of a database system and use this model to create, implement and maintain a database and create queries for the database system (GA4, GA5, GA6, GA7, GA8, GA10) 

LO3 - Demonstrate the ability to implement web-enabled database applications in a team (GA6, GA7, GA8, GA10)

LO4 - Apply knowledge of conceptual modeling skills and database concepts (GA5, GA6). 

Graduate attributes

GA4 - think critically and reflectively 

GA5 - demonstrate values, knowledge, skills and attitudes appropriate to the discipline and/or profession 

GA6 - solve problems in a variety of settings taking local and international perspectives into account

GA7 - work both autonomously and collaboratively 

GA8 - locate, organise, analyse, synthesise and evaluate information 

GA10 - utilise information and communication and other relevant technologies effectively.


Topics include: 

  • the database environment 
  • the database development process 
  • modelling data in an organisation 
  • database design 
  • introduction to Structured Query Language 
  • the internet database environment 
  • data warehousing. 

Learning and teaching strategy and rationale

This unit builds on the unit COMP104 Fundamentals of Computing where students learnt how the various aspects of computing systems are configured to meet the data needs of organisations/end-users.  

This unit engages students in active learning activities, such as analysing the data storage requirements of an organisation, designing data models based on these requirements and transforming the data models into a relational database system using a database management system. 

The two hour lectures per week will focus on teaching database concepts and the two hour tutorial per week will focus on developing database designing skills. Students will undertake practical learning and assessments that will focus on developing databases for end-users. 

This unit comprises 150 hours in total with a normal expectation of 4 hours per week of directed study (lectures and tutorials). The balance of the hours becomes private study. 

Assessment strategy and rationale

Assessments have been developed to meet the unit learning outcomes and develop graduate attributes consistent with University assessment requirements. These have been designed so that they use a variety of tasks to measure the different learning outcomes of the unit. The schedule provides scaffolded learning with opportunities for students to monitor their own progress, practice their skills and receive feedback. 


  • Tutorial Test: Students will be required to create a conceptual model, design a database based on the conceptual model and write queries to search for information in the database. Learning activities will help students analyse the data storage requirements of an organisation and develop a database system based on the requirements and the tutorial test will evaluate the level of student’s achievements. 

  • Group Assignment: Students will be required to work in teams and design and develop a real-world web-enabled database application based on a case study. By developing a small database within a given time students will show that they can successfully consolidate their learning and can work collaboratively in a team environment. 

  • Final Exam: This task requires students to apply their knowledge of the conceptual modeling skills and database concepts. 


In order to pass this unit, students are required to: 


  1. Submit completed tutorial test within the allocated time. Partial completions will result in partial marks;  
  2. Submit the group assignment based on the real-world case study within the allocated time. Marks will be allocated based on the scoring rubrics; 
  3. Complete all questions in the final exam; 
  4. Obtain a pass mark (or better) overall (from the combination of marks for all three assignments). 

Overview of assessments

Brief Description of Kind and Purpose of Assessment TasksWeightingLearning OutcomesGraduate Attributes

Tutorial Test: tutorial test is facilitated by the tutor in a computer lab. Learning activities will provide opportunities to learn conceptual modeling skills, database design and structured query language skills and the tutorial test will evaluate the level of achievement of those skills. 


LO1, LO2 

GA4, GA5, GA6, GA7, GA8, GA10 

Group Assignment: students are given a real-world case study and are asked to build a database application based on the case study. This assessment will test if students can apply their analytical and critical thinking skills to solve challenging problems. It also tests if students can work in teams and project manage their database application. 


Prior to the commencement of the group assignment, students will clarify their individual role and responsibilities and will confirm this with the lecturer. An individual mark will be assigned to each student, for the part of the assignment contributed to the group’s presentation and submission. 


LO2, LO3 

GA4, GA5, GA6, GA7, GA8, GA10 

Final Exam: a closed-book theory-based examination which will test the student’s conceptual modeling skills. 


LO1, LO4 

GA5, GA6, GA8 

Representative texts and references

Required text(s) 

Hoffer, J. A., Venkataraman, R., & Topi, H. (2016). Modern database management (12th ed.). Essex, England: Pearson Education Limited. 

Recommended references 

Elmasri, R., & Navathe, S.B. (2017). Database systems: Models, languages, design, and application programming (Global Edition, 7th ed.). Sydney: Pearson Higher Education. 

Garcia-Molina, H., Ullman, J. D., & Widom, J. (2009). Database systems: The complete book (2nd ed.). Upper Saddle River: Prentice Hall. 

Gillenson. M. L, Ponniah, P., Kriegel. A., Trukhnov, B. M, Taylor. A. G, Powell. G., & Miller. F, (2008). Wiley Pathways Introduction to database management (2nd ed). New York: Wiley. 

Goldberg, K. H. (2009). XML: Visual quickstart guide (2nd ed.). Sydney: Pearson.   

Patrick, J. J. (2009). SQL fundamentals (3rd ed.). Sydney: Prentice Hall. 

Pratt, P. J., & Last M.Z. (2015) Concepts of database management (8th ed.). Boston: Cengage Learning. 

Pratt, P. J., & Last, M. Z. (2015). A guide to SQL (9th ed.). Boston, USA: Cengage Learning. 

Silberschatz, A., Korth, H. F., & Sudarshan, S. (2010). Database system concepts (6th ed.). Boston: McGraw-Hill. 

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