Our lecturer Mohamed Sharaf made this course very interesting. The course content definitely has the ability to be boring but because of Mohamed's lecture delivery he makes it quite interesting. Lectures are actually more like discussions/Q&As than traditional lectures. I highly encourage you to attend the lectures and ask/answer questions, this will greatly improve your understanding of the content.
Tutorials are also important to attend. Tutes cover the core content covered in lectures that will be quizzed in the tests.
I recommend you attend at least the first practical as that will enable you to understand how to use the program and then you would be able to do the rest of the practical exercises at home if you please. However practical attendance during assignment time is pretty important unless you are an SQL wizard.
The assignment was challenging but if you start it straight away and get help from the tutors right away, you will definitely have the momentum to finish the assignment. Some sections may take a while depending on your SQL skills (it took me hours while I was stuck on certain sections).
Mohamed made this semester’s course much better compared to previous semesters. Getting high marks in the two 15% quizzes is definitely achievable if you do adequate revision of the content. There were lots of MCQs each worth around 4 marks each and some short response questions. Overall the assessment system was great.
The final exam was identical in structure to the previous 2 quizzes and most of the cohort left early.
Semester 2 - 2016
Is lecture attendance necessary?
Is the textbook necessary?
Excellent lecture delivery by Mohamed
New easier final exam with MCQ's
Practical classes weren't spread out so it was hard to get help for assignment without being at uni all day.
For me, this course was fantastic and really inspired me to want to learn more about information systems. The content can be a little boring at times, but this is forgiven by a great lecturer. Dr Sharaf encouraged discussion and made the course content interesting and applicable. The course focuses on larger Information Systems, with emphasis on transactions and indexing.
The mid-semester and final exam were both easy if you understood the course content and kept up to date with the lectures, the text book, from what I remember was the same as INFS1200, and was helpful in understanding some concepts.
Mohamed made a conscious effort to make sure that the course material was stimulating and most importantly applicable in the real world, bringing in older students in from companies such as Oracle to discuss what career paths they had taken after the course.
All round a very enjoyable course, with myself bringing away a great new applicable set of skills.
Semester 2 - 2014
Bachelor of Information Technology
Is lecture attendance necessary?
Yes (It was very helpful to be a part of discussions in the lectures, not just reading a PowerPoint)
This course is a good introduction to the internals of modern relational database systems. Mohamed Sharaf (the lecturer) is able to turn what could be a very dry topic into an interesting and often interactive discussion.
The course content focuses on the lower level storage structures in an RDBMS (in albeit somewhat abstract terms), such as file organisations, index structures, and query evaluation considering these structures.
Mohamed claims the textbook is not required for the course (and as he says, it is very dry and sometimes hard to read), but I found reading the text along with the lectures really assisted in understanding the concepts in depth (and helped me get a 7).
The good news is a lot of the content that's covered has real world applications for anyone considering almost any software development in industry.
There is some coverage of other information systems like the NoSQL movement, but that mostly came out in discussions and wasn't really assessable material.
I will note as well that the timing of the assessment didn't match the course profile - it was roughly two weeks later than expected.