Advanced COBOL Programming

I.     Course Prefix/Number: CIS 223

       Course Name: Advanced COBOL Programming

       Credits: 4 (3 lecture; 2 lab)

II.    Prerequisite

CIS123 or consent of instructor or chairperson

III.   Course (Catalog) Description

In this course COBOL programming is used in the creation and maintenance of disk and tape files.  The student is required to write and document programs involving sequential and indexed sequential files.  Programming in the use of COBOL sub-routines is also covered.

IV.   Learning Objectives

This course is a continuation of CIS123 COBOL Programming, and upon its completion the student will be able to prepare and maintain an extensive variety of complex programs.  The student will be prepared to write programs that create, update, and retrieve records from files on mass storage devices using both sequential and random access.

The student will be able to describe the functions of the DOS job control statements used in relation to the files accessed by the program.

The jobs will include programs using internal sorts, linkages to catalogued routines, and DOS Ditto.

In writing and maintaining problem programs, the student will learn to use an on-line text editor.

Finally, the student will develop the skills necessary for debugging problems by using both the COBOL and operating system debugging tools.

V.    Academic Integrity and Student Conduct

Students and employees at Oakton Community College are required to demonstrate academic integrity and follow Oakton's Code of Academic Conduct. This code prohibits:

• cheating,
• plagiarism (turning in work not written by you, or lacking proper citation),
• falsification and fabrication (lying or distorting the truth),
• helping others to cheat,
• unauthorized changes on official documents,
• pretending to be someone else or having someone else pretend to be you,
• making or accepting bribes, special favors, or threats, and
• any other behavior that violates academic integrity.

There are serious consequences to violations of the academic integrity policy. Oakton's policies and procedures provide students a fair hearing if a complaint is made against you. If you are found to have violated the policy, the minimum penalty is failure on the assignment and, a disciplinary record will be established and kept on file in the office of the Vice President for Student Affairs for a period of 3 years.

Please review the Code of Academic Conduct and the Code of Student Conduct, both located online at

VI.   Sequence of Topics

  1. Processing Concepts
    1. Creating files on mass storage devices
      1. Sequential (SAM)
      2. Direct access (DAM)
      3. Indexed (VSAM)
    2. Updating files on mass storage devices
      1. Sequential
      2. Random
      3. Dynamic (VSAM only)
    3. Creating and using external subroutines
    4. Multilevel table processing
    5. Job streams - multiple programs within a single job
    6. COBOL and the Operating System (DOS/VSE)
      1. Using the System Libraries
      2. Job Control
    7. Debugging
      1. Using the COBOL options
      2. Using the System debugging features
        1. Link maps
        2. Interrupt messages and codes
        3. Core dumps
  2. Advanced COBOL Features
    1. Sort Feature
      1. Environment division considerations
        1. Special device assignments
      2. Data division considerations
        1. Sort file description
        2. Keys
      3. Procedure Division Considerations
        1. Sort Verb
          1. Key clause
          2. Using/giving options
          3. Input/output procedure options
            1. release statement
            2. return statement
    2. Program Linkages
      1. Calling program considerations
        1. Call/using statement
      2. Called program (external subroutine) considerations
        1. Linkage section in Data Division
        2. Procedure Division/using statement
        3. Entry/using statement
        4. Exit program and goback statements
      3. Job control considerations
    3. Processing of random access files
      1. General instructions
        1. I/O instructions
          1. Open I-O
          2. Write/invalid key
          3. Read/invalid key
          4. Start
      2. Indexed Organization (VSAM)
        1. File organization
          1. index structures
          2. data areas
          3. keys
        2. Using IDCAMS
        3. Access Methods
          1. entry sequenced files
          2. key sequenced files
        4. Instructions unique to VSAM
          1. read/next
          2. start/key
          3. open extend
          4. delete
          5. password clause
          6. file status clause
      3. Direct access organization
        1. Data organization
        2. Actual keys
    4. Table handling
      1. Data division considerations
        1. Indexing
      2. Procedure division considerations
        1. Table creation
        2. Table lookup

VII.  Methods of Instruction

Methods of instruction include lecture, class discussion, and classroom exercises in debugging programs with the aid of COBOL and operating system debugging tools.

Course may be taught as face-to-face, hybrid or online course.

VIII. Course Practices Required

The student will be required to create, test and debug COBOL programs demonstrating the learning objectives as specified in "IV” above.  In addition, a minimum of two exams will be required as stipulated by the individual instructor.

IX.   Instructional Materials

Note: Current textbook information for each course and section is available on Oakton's Schedule of Classes.

Structured COBOL Programming for Year 2000 & Beyond; 9th Edition
Written by Stern & Stern; Published by John Wiley
Microfocus COBOL used to execute COBOL programs

X.    Methods of Evaluating Student Progress

Evaluation methods include 6-8 programming assignments demonstrating complex business oriented problems, and two to three major examinations.

XI.   Other Course Information

Course - ID changed from DPR 223 to CIS 223, Fall, 1992

If you have a documented learning, psychological, or physical disability you may be entitled to reasonable academic accommodations or services. To request accommodations or services, contact the Access and Disability Resource Center at the Des Plaines or Skokie campus. All students are expected to fulfill essential course requirements. The College will not waive any essential skill or requirement of a course or degree program.

Oakton Community College is committed to maintaining a campus environment emphasizing the dignity and worth of all members of the community, and complies with all federal and state Title IX requirements.

Resources and support for
  • pregnancy-related and parenting accommodations; and
  • victims of sexual misconduct
can be found at

Resources and support for LGBTQ+ students can be found at