I expect you to come to class having read the assigned material. Unlike many courses that you take, I think that you can understand much of the material by simply reading it. There will be new concepts that you may be unfamiliar with, such as relational algebra and calculus in databases and regular expressions in Perl. In these cases I will cover the material in a traditional lecture format. However, there will also be material that while new, can probably be understood by reading the assigned notes. This includes much of the material on query languages for relational databases and the syntax for loops, functions, or conditionals in the scripting languages. In this case you should expect more hands-on exercises during class.
I will also be assigning regular homework assignments. I find that material is best learned when it is rehearsed and the best way to get you to rehearse the material I teach is to have you work short problems as soon as possible after the material is presented. Unlike other programming courses there will not be long programming assignments because database queries and scripting languages are meant to be used for relatively short programs. Since query languages and scripting languages are interpreted rather than compiled, they are much slower than conventional languages and hence ill-suited for solving large, computation-intensive problems.