Introduction to Modern Database Systems

Purpose of Course  showclose

Though we may not recognize them in our everyday activities, databases are everywhere.  They are hidden behind your online banking profile, airline reservation systems, medical records, and even employment records.  This course will provide students with a general overview of databases, introducing you to database history, modern database systems, the different models used to design a database, and Structured Query Language (SQL), which is the standard language used to access and manipulate databases.   Many of the principles of database systems carry to other areas in computer science, especially operating systems.  Databases are often thought of as one of the core computer science topics, since many other areas in the discipline have been derived from this area.

Learning Outcomes  showclose

Upon successful completion of this course, the student will be able to:

  • Compare and contrast the database approach and the file system approach.
  • Explain what a database management system is as well as the various components.
  • Identify the various people involved in database management systems.
  • Explain the historical background of database management systems.
  • Compare the various database models.
  • Describe the functions of a database management system.
  • Explain the three-schema database architecture.
  • Describe what tables, indexes, and views are as well as discuss the differences among them.
  • Explain the entity-relationship model.
  • Develop an entity-relationship model based on user requirements.
  • Describe the relational database model.
  • Explain the process of normalization.
  • Convert an entity-relationship diagram to a set of normalized relations.
  • Explain referential integrity.
  • Identify how relational algebra is used to construct queries.
  • Describe and use data definition commands.
  • Describe and use data manipulation commands.
  • Explain how to join tables together for queries.

Course Requirements  showclose

In order to take this course, you must:

√    Have access to a computer.

√    Have continuous broadband Internet access.

√    Have the ability/permission to install plug-ins (e.g. Adobe Reader or Flash) and software.

√    Have the ability to download and save files and documents to a computer.

√    Have the ability to open Microsoft file and documents (.doc, .ppt, .xls, etc.).

√    Be competent in the English language.

√    Have access to a relational database management system.  A good open-source option is MySQL (

√    Have completed the CS202: Discrete Structures course.

√    Have read the Saylor Student Handbook.

Unit Outline show close