GBC Logo
COT 301
Database Management Essentials

Revised: August, 2013
Credits: 1
Instructor: Ed Nickel
Office: HTC 133
Phone: 753-2241 (office with voice mail)
E-mail: please use the email system provided via WebCampus for your class
Class Web Page:
Textbook: There is no textbook for this class, readings and assignments will be provided in class or via WebCampus.


COURSE DESCRIPTION: A working overview of Access database. The main emphasis will be on analyzing previously established data, using table searches, queries, and reports. Excel will be used for further data analysis. A discussion of table design will be included. Students will start work on individual portfolios of their achievements during this degree program. (Prerequisite: a GBC AAS in COT with either CADD/GIS, Graphic Communications, Network Specialist, Office Technology, or Web Specialist Emphasis; or equivalent degree from another community college)

Welcome to COT 301, Database Management Essentials. This course provides an essential foundation for digital information technology management students with a strong IT background but who do not have much background in database management. A GBC AAS in COT with either CADD/GIS, Graphics Communications, Network Specialist, Office Technology, or Web Specialist Emphasis; or equivalent degree from another college is the prerequisite for this class. Various database management principles, best practices for managing data systems, and the tools to manage databases will be introduced in each lesson with some hands on evaluation of each. You will need time each week to complete readings and assignments. Some of the computers available at the GBC open labs have the software used in class for your to complete assigned exercises. If you have the necessary hardware and software, doing your assignments at home is acceptable.

METHOD OF INSTRUCTION: This class may be taught in a live classroom setting, online via WebCampus, or as a hybrid class. You are expected to participate in weekly discussions, exercises, as well as various quizzes, projects, and other class activities. The schedule of reading and assignments is found below. Additional assignments may be given verbally, as handouts in class, or via the WebCampus lesson modules.

CLASS PARTICIPATION: In the on-line version of this class, you are expected to post at least one original discussion and one response to other classmates' posts every week and your posts should relate to some aspect of the material we are covering during each lesson or some related issue. In the live version you are expect to be similarly prepared for and participate in every class discussion. Whether live or online, participation in class discussion is a significant portion of your grade as it indicates how well you understand the concepts being covered.

INSTRUCTOR CONTACT: I can be reached either at my office phone number shown above or via the WebCampus email, you can drop in during my office hours, or make an appointment to see me at other times. Office hours are posted on my office door and on my web site. The schedule of reading assignments, homework and tests is found below. Additional assignments may be given verbally or as handouts in class.


The primary objective of this class is to provide students with a strong information technology background but little in database systems with a working knowledge of database concepts, terminology, and principles. Students who successfully complete this class should be conversant in essential database concepts, software, and hardware. The more important topics include:

  • database types, their strengths and weaknesses
  • essential database design principles
  • techniques used in managing & securing databases
  • network hardware and their primary functions
The successful student in this class will be able to:
  1. comprehend and interpret discussions and readings of database management issues;
  2. use key database management principles and techniques;
  3. evaluate the validity and comprehensiveness of a database proposal;
  4. create a basic database with appropriate relationships.
Learner Outcome Assessments
Assessment Method Learner Outcomes
Class Discussion via web posts 1, 3, 4
Hands-on Exercises 2
Term Paper or Mini Project 2, 3, 4


GRADING POLICY: This is a pass/fail class a P=70-100%, F=69% or less or W=Official Withdrawal by the official withdrawal date. There is no curve in this grading scale. Your grade will be based 30% on class participation and discussion, 20% on the hands-on exercises, and 50% on your term paper or mini project. All assignments are due at the beginning of the next class.

QUIZ/EXAM PROCEDURES: All exams and quizzes will be objective, e.g. true/false, multiple choice, fill-in the blank, etc, and will be conducted using GBC's web based learning system.

ATTENDANCE POLICY: The instructor must agree in advance to any excused absences unless there are strong extenuating circumstances. One (1) unexcused absences can result in a failing grade, in an on-line class an absence is one week when you do not participate in class or contact the instructor.

OTHER POLICIES: The student rights & responsibilities policy stated in the current GBC Catalog apply to this class. Plagiarism and other forms of academic dishonesty will not be tolerated and can result in a failing grade. This syllabus is not a contract and is subject to reasonable changes as the class proceeds.

ACCOMMODATIONS FOR STUDENTS WITH DISABILITIES: Great Basin College is committed to providing equal educational opportunities to qualified students with disabilities in accordance with state and federal laws and regulations, including the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973. A qualified student must furnish current verification of disability. The Director of Services for Students with Disabilities will assist qualified students with disabilities in securing the appropriate and reasonable accommodations, auxiliary aids and services. For more information or further assistance, please call (775) 753-2271.


In order to keep up with the posted web discussions, you should read and understand each week's topics as they are covered. To successfully complete this class you are required to complete your choice of a short term paper or a mini-project consisting of a small database with appropriate scripts. Regardless of which you choose, you must demonstrate your understanding of the dbms concepts covered in this class through this assignment. The term paper or mini-project will be due the last week of this class.

From time to time I may create podcasts (downloadable mp3 files) on topics which lend themselves to audio delivery. These will be audio explanations and other commentary related to specific lessons. As I create these podcasts you can find them by either clicking on this link: podcasts or "subscribing" to the RSS feed for this syllabus. You will be able to download them for free onto your computer, to any mp3 player, or add this URL to iTunes or similar podcast receiving software.

Topics & readings by lesson:
(Please note: this schedule is subject to change based on class progress & other factors)
Lesson 1: Database terminology
Lesson 2: Essential database management principles
Lesson 3: Principles of data relationships
Lesson 4: Database management & security concepts
Lesson 5: Term Paper or Mini Project is due


Criteria for the project/term paper:

1) You may choose to write a 5 page term paper with a minimum of 5 resource citations on a topic discussed in this class which has been approved by the instructor. Any title or citation pages are not included in the 5 page count. The paper must be double spaced with 1-1¼ inch margins using the standard Times New Roman 12 point font. You must submit the paper electronically in either MS Word or OOo Writer* formats.


2) You may create a multi-table relational database using MS Access or OOo Base* including all essential elements discussed in class such as relationships, queries, forms, reports, and at least one linked spreadsheet which graphs pertinent facts. You must include a statement noting the database project's function and resources.

*The (OOo) office productivity suite is open source software available as a free download from their web site at but please be aware, the current version for Windows is well in excess of 100MB. This software's functionality and user interface are very similar to the older (pre-ribbon) MS Office suite. If you do not have access to MS Access please feel free to use OOo for the class exercises, puns intended. If you do not have access to high speed Internet for download's and would like this software, email your snail mail address to me as soon as possible and I will send you CD of some useful open source software including OOo.

Creative Commons License
Original content on this website created by Ed Nickel
is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0
United States License
based on a work at
Some classes include rss-podcast

Valid HTML 5.0   Valid CSS!