CPSC 343 Database Theory and Practice Fall 2015

CPSC 343 Assessment

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Assignments and Evaluation

This course introduces many new terms and concepts, including multiple languages and sets of notation. This means that it is important to keep up and to actively practice with the material. Assignments are designed with this in mind - frequent, short assignments provide immediate practice and rapid feedback, and an escalation from homework to project and exam provide a chance to develop mastery.

Readings: Readings are meant to be the first introduction to new material. Most readings will be in the form of course notes, so they will generally fairly short but also quite terse. Readings will often be accompanied by some exercises. It is important to attempt these exercises in order to identify questions to be addressed in class. For other readings (such as tutorials or documentation), you should skim the material to get a sense of what information is there and what the key points are, then revisit particular details and examples as you need them. In addition, an older edition of Fundamentals of Database Systems by Elmasri and Navathe is on reserve in the library; relevant sections of this text will be identified. You are encouraged to check out this material, though be aware that there will likely be more in the text than will be addressed in class.

Homework: Homeworks are your chance to practice the course material. Homeworks will generally be short and assigned frequently.

Project: A substantial course project involving the design and development of a database and web-based interface will provide a practical application for the course material. Work on the project will begin early in the semester, though most of the design and development will come after the fall break. More details about the project will be announced.

Exams: There will be two take-home midterm exams and a take-home final exam. More details about the exams will be announced closer to the exam dates. Due dates for the exams are on the syllabus.

Final Grades: Final grades in this course will be computed as follows:

  • Homework: 30%
  • Project: 30%
  • Midterm Exams: 25% (12.5% each)
  • Final Exam: 15%

Participation: You are also expected to participate in class. This does not mean that you have to volunteer for everything, but you should be actively engaged in class - i.e. you are paying attention and contribute meaningfully to the class on a regular basis.

Coding Standards

Following reasonable conventions for naming, capitalization, whitespace, and commenting is important for readability of your code. You should follow the conventions used in class examples; where there is flexibility, you should be consistent in the choices you make.

Need Help?

If you are having trouble with the course material or get stuck on a problem you can't figure out how to solve, don't just ignore it! The most useful resource for this course is the instructor - during office hours, dropping by, or scheduling a meeting. This should be your first stop if you are having trouble with course material. For more general help, such as with writing, study skills, or time management, the Center for Teaching and Learning (CTL) also has resources to help you. See the CTL statement below.

Center for Teaching and Learning (CTL)

At Hobart and William Smith Colleges, we encourage you to learn collaboratively and to seek the resources that will enable you to succeed. The Center for Teaching and Learning (CTL) is one of those resources: CTL programs and staff help you engage with your learning, accomplish the tasks before you, enhance your thinking and skills, and empower you to do your best. Resources at CTL are many: Study Mentors help you find your time and manage your responsibilities, Writing Fellows help you think well on paper, and professional staff help you assess academic needs.

I encourage you to explore these and other CTL resources designed to encourage your very best work. You can talk with me about these resources, visit the CTL office on the 2nd floor of the library to discuss options with the staff, call 781-3351 for an appointment, or visit the CTL website.

The CTL resource most useful for this class is the following:

Study Mentors
The CTL resource especially valuable to students either just starting college OR adjusting to the demands of their choice of Major is the Study Mentors program. Study Mentors engage directly with each student in the process of adjusting to new academic demands: they help you find the time you need to engage with both your academic and co-curricular activities, accomplish the tasks in front of you, and enhance your reading and study time. Study Mentors may be especially important for those of you who are involved in many activities; work on or off campus; are studying for Teaching Certification, graduate school exams, or prepping for fellowships; or who have one or more unusually demanding courses on your schedule. To meet with a Study Mentor, one option is to go to the TutorTrac link provided on the CTL webpage and make an appointment. You can also contact Ingrid Keenan, x3832, keenan@hws.edu, or drop in at the CTL office on the 2nd floor of the library.

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