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Department of Information and Operations Management

ISTM 615 – Business Database Systems

Sections 651, 700 – Fall 2017
6:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m. T
225 City Centre

Instructor: Dr. Jasperson

Office: WCBA, 365B
Phone: 979-845-7946
Office Hours: 7:00 - 8:00 p.m. W and by appointment

“The [university] exists for the students . . . but the university cannot give you an
education -- it can only help you acquire one for yourselves. The main effort must be
made by the students.”
(George Lynn Cross -- 1952)

Course Overview and Objectives

The primary objective of the course is to familiarize students with general data management concepts.
We discuss organizational management of data with an emphasis on the relational model. Students use
Microsoft SQL Server to gain experience manipulating data in a relational database management
system. In addition, the course introduces students to the principles of computer coding though the use
of the Python programming language to manipulate data.

At the completion of the course, successful students should be able to:

• Apply data modeling techniques to represent organizational data

• Represent data as a set of relational database tables
• Formulate queries in SQL to analyze a data set
• Apply basic logical control structures to manipulate data
• Employ debugging techniques to identify logic errors in code
• Design and develop computer code to solve problems

Catalog Description
Information processing and management involving applications and user orientation in a business
environment using commercially available database management systems.

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Course Prerequisites
Knowledge of one programming language. (NOTE: This prerequisite while helpful for MS Analytics
students is not rigorously enforced. A student with little or no programming background can still be
successful in the course.)

Course Materials


• Schneider, David I. 2016. An Introduction to Programming Using Python. Boston, MA: Pearson.
(ISBN = 978-0-13-405822-1)
• Syverson, Bryan, and Joel Murach. 2016. Murach's SQL Server 2016 for Developers. Fresno, CA:
Mike Murach & Associates, Inc. (ISBN = 978-1-890774-96-7)

Occasionally additional materials from outside sources may be required or recommended. These
sources will include, but are not limited to, recent newspapers, business journals and monographs, and
the World Wide Web. The instructor will announce any such materials in class and post information on
the course website.

Grading and Course Requirements

The course requirements and evaluation of each student’s work in the course are based upon
performance in several areas. Grade contributions and letter grade determination are shown below.

SQL Exam (Midterm) 30%

Python Exam (Final) 30%
SQL Project 10%
Python Project 10%
SQL Homework and Classwork 10%
Python Homework and Classwork 10%
Total 100%

Percent Grade
90 - 100 A
80 - 89 B
70 - 79 C
60 - 69 D
0 - 59 F

SQL Exam. The SQL exam will consist of questions to assess the extent to which students understand
how to use Structured Query Language (SQL) to assess data quality of a data set.

Python Exam. The Python exam will consist of writing code snippets and/or coding one or more small

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SQL Project. The SQL project will give you hands-on experience using SQL to manipulate data. Detailed
requirements for the SQL project will be provided on the course website.

Python Project. The Python project will give you hands-on experience using Python to manipulate data.
Detailed requirements for the Python project will be provided on the course website.

SQL Homework and Classwork. We will work a number of SQL problems in the classroom. I expect
students to participate in and to contribute to all classroom discussions and activities. I will assign some
problems to be delivered each week as homework problems. In addition to delivering a solution for
homework problems each week, students will provide peer feedback by “grading” three classmates

Python Homework and Classwork. We will work a number of coding exercises in the classroom. I expect
students to participate in and to contribute to all classroom discussions and activities. I will assign some
problems to be delivered each week as homework problems. In addition to delivering a solution for
homework problems each week, students will provide peer feedback by “grading” three classmates

General Homework and Class Participation

All homework assignments will be individual work. Homework grading will be conducted by peer review.
Students will review two or three deliverables from other students after each homework submission. In
addition, students must provide “back evaluations” of those who reviewed their work.

Your grade for each homework assignment will incorporate the following three parts:

1. Document Grade – your score for the assigned homework problems based on a grading rubric.
2. Reviewing Grade – your score as a peer reviewer which is based on two components:
a. Accuracy of review ratings – “correlation of own ratings to mean ratings by others on
same documents.” 1 If you give high scores to deliverables that other reviewers give low
scores or if you give low scores to deliverables that others scored high, then your
accuracy score is lower. 2
b. Helpfulness of review comments – “how helpful the author thought the reviewer
comments were via back evaluation” 3
3. Task Grade – your score for completing reviews and back evaluations (a completion grade)

Class participation may include both assigned and no-notice brief presentations of problems we may be
working on in class. These presentations may be on an individual or team basis. Such presentations may
also include sharing individual or group solutions to assigned homework or classwork problems.

Peerceptiv Student FAQ – “What Do the Grades Mean?” (located at, last accessed
August 26, 2017).
Peerceptive Instructor FAQ – “How Are Grades Calculated?” (located at, last accessed
August 26, 2017).
Perceptiv Student FAQ – “What Do the Grades Mean?”

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Make Up Policy
I will schedule make-up exams and assignments as needed for any “university excused absence.” For
information about what constitutes a “university excused absence,” see Rule 7 of the Student Rules

Late Work Policy

I will discount any homework deliverable submitted after the assignment delivery deadline has passed
by 10%. Homework submitted more than 24 hours after the original deadline will receive a zero for the
document grade portion of the homework score.

I will discount project deliverables submitted after the deadline has passed by 10% per day for up to 72
hours after the deadline. Project deliverables submitted after 72 hours will not be reviewed and receive
a zero grade.

Exception: I will give students with excused absences adequate time and opportunities to submit work
they missed due to absence. Students must provide documentation and notice to the instructor as
specified in TAMU student rules. (Student Rules: Rule 7 --

Electronic Course Support

I use the Texas A&M University (TAMU) eCampus system ( as a means of
electronic support for class activities. I will refer to this resource as the course website. The course
website contains links to the syllabus and other pertinent course information such as handouts and
assignments. You should check the course website regularly to be informed of what is happening in the

When I send e-mail messages to the class, I will use the announcement system on the course website
(see the “Announcements” menu item in eCampus). This will provide a repository of past messages for
your reference.

You can access the eCampus system using your NetID and password.

TAMU licensed the “Blackboard Mobile Learn” app for all TAMU students. The app provides push
notifications of content on the course website. In addition, you can review content and use discussion
boards from your mobile device (see

Office Hours Policy

Office hours will be live online. I will use the WebEx system for online office hours. Office hours are from
7:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. (Central time zone) each Wednesday.

If you plan to attend office hours, you need to send your question(s) to me in advance via email by 5:00
p.m. (Central time zone) on Wednesday. If no student contacts me by this time, I will not hold office
hours that week.

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Office hours provide an opportunity for you to obtain specific guidance and help understanding the
course material. The purpose of office hours is for you to obtain assistance in understanding the course
material. I will gladly respond to questions that you may have regarding material that was covered
during a class discussion and/or provide feedback on your efforts to solve homework problems.

Students with Disabilities

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) is a federal anti-discrimination statute that provides
comprehensive civil rights protection for persons with disabilities. Among other things, this legislation
requires that all students with disabilities be guaranteed a learning environment that provides for
reasonable accommodation of their disabilities.

If you believe you have a disability requiring an accommodation, please contact Disability Services,
currently located in the Disability Services building at the Student Services at White Creek complex on
west campus or call 979-845-1637. For additional information, visit

Religious Holidays
It is the policy of the University to excuse absences of students that result from religious observances
and to provide without penalty for the rescheduling of examinations and additional required course
work that may fall on religious holidays (Student Rules: Rule 7 and Appendix IV at http://student- If possible, please speak with the instructor in advance of any such observances to
make appropriate arrangements for missed work.

Aggie Honor Code

“An Aggie does not lie, cheat, or steal or tolerate those who do.”

Upon accepting admission to Texas A&M University, a student immediately assumes a commitment to
uphold the Honor Code, to accept responsibility for learning, and to follow the philosophy and rules of
the Honor System. Ignorance of the rules does not exclude any member of the TAMU community from
the requirements or the processes of the Honor System. You can learn more about the Honor Council
Rules and Procedures as well as your rights and responsibilities at the following URL:

For each assignment or project that is submitted for grading in this course, students must affirm their
commitment to the Aggie Honor Code with the following statement.

“On my honor, as an Aggie, I have neither given nor received unauthorized aid on this
academic work.”

Even if you do not explicitly state the above, by submitting any course deliverable, you affirm your
adherence to the Aggie Honor Statement for that deliverable.

“Texas A&M University students are responsible for authenticating all work submitted to an instructor. If
asked, students must be able to produce proof that the item submitted is indeed the work of that
student. Students must keep appropriate records at all times. The inability to authenticate one’s work,

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should the instructor request it, is sufficient grounds to initiate an academic dishonesty case.”

I will follow the steps and processes outlined in the Honor Council Rules and Procedures in all cases of
academic misconduct in this class (see

Statement on Plagiarism
As commonly defined, plagiarism consists of passing off as one's own, ideas, words, writing, etc., which
belong to another. In accordance with this definition, you are committing plagiarism if you copy the
work of another person and turn it in as your own, even if you should have the permission of that
person. Plagiarism is one of the worst academic offenses, for the plagiarist destroys the trust among
colleagues without which research cannot be safely communicated. If you have any questions regarding
plagiarism, please review additional information provided under Student Rule 20 and Aggie Honor
System Rules under “Plagiarism” (see Student Rule 20 and Aggie Honor
System Rules

Copyright Notice
The handouts used in this course are copyrighted. By “handouts", I mean all materials distributed for
this class, which include but are not limited to syllabi, quizzes, exams, lab problems, in-class materials,
review sheets, and additional problem sets. Because these materials are copyrighted, you do not have
the right to copy the handouts, unless I expressly grant permission.

Class Policies
• Turn assignments in when they are due. I will accept late homework and projects as outlined
under “Late Work Policy” above. “Late” means any time after the delivery deadline has passed.

• Be prepared. I expect each student to come to class fully prepared to discuss the material from
the assigned readings. I expect students to have read the text (or other material) before class
and rely on their preparedness to drive class discussions.

• Maintain Back-Up Copies of All Work. You are responsible for retaining back-up copies of all
work. When you submit your projects for grading you should ensure that you have a duplicate
back-up copy of the assignment (both hard and soft copy).

• Take exams during the scheduled time. I will follow guidelines as established by the TAMU
Student rules regarding excused absences (Student Rules: Rule 7 -- http://student- I will allow students with excused absences adequate time and opportunity to
make-up missed exams after they provide proper documentation and notice to the instructor.
At my discretion, I may allow students with unexcused absences to take make-up exams.

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Class Sessions
Our assigned class meeting time is 6:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. In general, we will have class discussion from
6:00 to 7:00, followed by a 10-minute break, and continued class discussion from 7:10 to 8:00 p.m. My
intention is that the last hour of class will be left as an open computer lab for you to work on coding.

Miscellaneous Class Notes

Problems. Let me know, as early as possible, if you have trouble with the material. Ask questions during
class; contact me during office hours; send e-mail messages to me; etc. In short, if you are doing the
work and need help, get it! I cannot help you if I am not aware of the problem.

Privacy of grades. I post scores and grades on the course website. You will only be able to see your own
scores and grades.

Syllabus changes. The topics and dates as outlined in the course schedule are subject to change. I will
announce and discuss all necessary changes in class. In addition, I will post a notice via the course
website. You are responsible for making sure you are aware of any such changes. However, the dates of
the examinations will not change.

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Course Schedule
Date Class Discussion Reading Assignment
Introduction to relational databases and SQL Murach 1 (p. 3-35)
Aug 29
How to use the SQL Server Management Studio Murach 2
How to retrieve data from a single table Murach 3
Sep 5 SQL HW 1
How to retrieve data from two or more tables Murach 4
How to code summary queries Murach 5
Sep 12 SQL HW 2
How to code subqueries Murach 6
How to insert, update, and delete data Murach 7
Sep 19 SQL HW 3
How to work with data types Murach 8
How to work with functions Murach 9
Sep 26 SQL HW 4
How to create tables Murach 11
How to work with views Murach 13 SQL HW 5
Oct 3
SQL exam review SQL Project
Oct 10 SQL Exam
Computer set up
Oct 17 Introduction to coding and coding standards Schneider 1
Introduction to Python
Oct 24 Core objects, variables, input, and output Schneider 2 PY HW 1
Oct 31 Structures that control flow Schneider 3 PY HW 2
Nov 7 Functions Schneider 4 PY HW 3
Nov 14 Processing data Schneider 5 PY HW 4
Nov 21 Miscellaneous topics Schneider 6
PY Project
Nov 28 Python exam review

Dec 12 Python Exam

Course Schedule Legend

Date – Class date

Description – The general topic for the class session on that date
Reading – You should read this material prior to class on the date indicated
Assignment – You should read this material prior to class on the date indicated. The assignment
specifications will list the deliverable date. For homework assignments, the deliverable date will be one
week after the assignment date. For projects, the deliverable date will be 2-3 weeks after the
assignment date.

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