INLS 582_003, Systems Analysis

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Rationale and Approach Policies Grading

Rationale and Approach
Systems Analysis is all about problem solving.
These are the fundamental questions whether you're fixing a broken system, adding new functionality to an existing system, or designing an entirely new system.
The purpose of this course is to help you gain the knowledge, tools, and skills you need to answer these questions and design effective information systems.

The material we cover includes the theories that help explain information systems and people's interaction with them, tools and techniques for analysis and design, and best practices for systems analysis projects. Readings include research articles, case studies, and documentation for specific modeling techniques. A major part of the work for this class is analyzing an information system problem and designing a solution for a real client. This group project gives real-life experience in information system problem solving. Individual assignments provide additional practice on specific techniques.

Your work for this class falls into 3 categories: 1) preparation for class, 2) in-class activities, and 3) individual and group assignments. Being together at the same time in the same place, (aka "class"), is a valuable commodity; much too precious to spend on just lecture and note-taking. Instead, we will spend that class time reviewing concepts from your preparation, discussing important questions and ideas, practicing skills and techniques in a venue where you can compare and contrast alternative solutions with your classmates while receiving help and feedback from me, and applying what you've learned to your projects. Your preparation for each class meeting is the key to getting the most out of each class's activities.

The schedule describes what you should do to prepare for each class meeting, including reading, practicing skills or techniques, and thinking. You are welcome to work together to prepare for each class.


Chapters from the textbook.
Documentation or manuals for specific models and analysis techniques.
Research papers, issue articles, and case studies.
Slides. The slides explain, highlight, or expand on the readings, provide examples, and pose questions for you to consider.
The slides include annotated examples and brief exercises (often with answers) of the models and techniques.
Walk through each example to be sure you understand it.
Work on the exercise and compare your answer with the one provided.
…about the readings. What interests/surprises/informs/challenges you?
…about the questions I pose for you. These will often form the basis of class discussion.
…about what questions you would pose for discussion. These will also be part of the discussion.
……about questions you have on the material that you would like me to address in class. Be prepared to ask – don't assume I'll answer an unasked question.

In-class activities
Class meetings will typically consist of 3 sections.

Business -- Operational questions, assignments, and other "class infrastructure".
Highlights -- I will highlight important points and answer your questions from the reading and preparation. This section will also include reviewing answers to exercises and homework.
    a) Extended exercises. We will work on these individually and in groups, and discuss the advantages and disadvantages of different approaches or answers. I will provide help and feedback as needed.
    b) Discussions of questions, articles, case studies, and other issues, in small groups, project groups, and/or the full class.

Individual assignments will provide more opportunities for practicing specific skills, and let you demonstrate to me what you have learned.
Team assignments are the deliverables for your project.

Helpful hints
By the end of the course, I hope you will have learned the fundamentals of systems analysis and design, developed an arsenal of tools and techniques as well as the knowledge of when to use them, and produced a proposal that will solve an information problem for a real client.  Information system problems are pervasive in our society: what you learn here may help you in many aspects of your future endeavors.


Giving and Receiving Help
Electronic Devices in Class
The Sakai site for this class will be used to post questions on class materials and to submit homework assignments.

Class List
Please subscribe to the class list. Go to the mailing lists home page. Select "search for lists" in the User Tools box. Enter the list name, inls582_001, in the search box. Click on the "subscribe" button, and complete the form.

I will send out a test message or two the first week of class. I will use the list to send out announcements. You can use the list to ask questions of the class in general, to share helpful hints about software, etc. To post to the list, you can send email to, or go to the list's web page.

Your grade will be based on individual assignments (40%), a team project (45%), and class and team participation (15%).

Individual work
Problem definition: 10%
Work models: 20%
Entity-relation diagram: 10%

Team project work
Information gathering plan: 10%
Presentation to class/client: 10%
Final specifications: 25%

Participation: 15%
Leading a case study discussion group: 2%
Participation in in-class activities and discussions: 8%
Participation in team project: 5%

Grading Scales:
Graduate Undergraduate
H 95-100 A
P 80-94 B+
L 70-79 C+
F 69 and below D+
below 60

This page was last modified on July 16, 2012, by Stephanie W. Haas. Address questions and comments about this page to Stephanie W. Haas at shaas at email dot unc dot edu
© Stephanie W. Haas All rights reserved.