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Core Topic 2: Information Systems and Databases
Timing and resources
Time: 5 weeks
Syllabus: pages 35–38 Section 9.2
Software/course specifications: pages 9–10
Texts: Heinemann IPT HSC—G. K. Powers (chapter 2)
Syllabus outcomes
H1.1 Applies an understanding of the nature and function of information technologies to a specific practical situation
H1.2 Explains and justifies the way in which information systems relate to information processes in a specific context
H2.1 Analyses and describes a system in terms of the information processes involved
H2.2 Develops solutions for an identified need which address all of the information processes
H3.1 Evaluates the effect of information systems on the individual, society and the environment
H3.2 Demonstrates ethical practice in the use of information systems, technologies and processes
H4.1 Proposes ways in which information systems will meet emerging needs
H5.2 Assesses the ethical implications of selecting and using specific resources and tools
Students learn to:
1. Information systems
(a) Describe the characteristics of information
systems—organisation of data into information,
analysis of information to give knowledge.
(b) Identify and describe the types and purposes of
information systems—TPS, DSS, MIS, OAS.
(c) Example of database information systems—
identify and describe the relationships between
participants, data/information and information
technology. Case Study: MovieTime Video.
2. Organisational methods
(a) Describe the advantages and disadvantages of
non-computer and computer-based methods of
organisation—appropriateness of a database.
(b) Describe and create a flat file database—file,
record, field, character.
(c) Understand the purpose of a key—single key,
composite key, primary key, secondary key.
(d) Describe and create a relational database—
schema, attribute, relationship, foreign key.
(e) Describe the similarities and differences between
flat-file and relational databases.
(f) Create a table to enter and display data.
(g) Create a form to enter and display data.
(h) Describe data modelling tools for organising
(i) Create a data dictionary—field name, data type,
field size, description, metadata.
(j) Create a schematic diagram to show the
relationships between entities.
(k) Describe normalisation—1NF, DKNF.
(l) Describe hypermedia—hypertext, link, node,
(m) Compare and contrast hypermedia and databases
for organising data.
(n) Construct a hypertext document from a
storyboard—HTML editors.
3. Storage and retrieval
(a) Describe a DBMS—role and tasks performed by
(b) Explain the different methods of accessing
data—sequential access, direct access, index.
(c) Describe a distributed database—two-phase
(d) Describe storage media—online storage, offline
storage, hard disk, optical disc, removable
cartridge, magnetic tape.
(e) Understand encryption and decryption—
asymmetric and symmetric encryption.
(f) Describe procedures for backup and security—
data security, firewalls.
(g) Sort a database—ascending, descending, more
than one level.
(h) Search a database by querying the data—QBE,
relational operators, logical operators, wildcards.
(i) Construct an SQL query to select data—select,
from, where, order by.
(j) Describe the principles of the operation of a
search engine.
(k) Use search engines to locate data on the
WWW—keywords, directories, search robot.
4. Other information processes
(a) Design and generate reports from a database—
report header, page header, details, page footer,
report footer.
(b) Create a report based on a query.
(c) Position, format and sort fields in a report.
(d) Construct different views of a database using a
(e) Format a report and form using good design
(f) Example of database information systems—
identify the relationships between participants,
data / information and information technology.
Case Study: RTA.
5. Issues related to information systems and
(a) Acknowledge data sources—copyright.
(b) Identify the issue of data accuracy—data
validation, range check, list check, type check,
check digit, data integrity.
(c) Identify the issue of privacy and access to data—
(d) Identify new trends—data warehousing, data