INLS 582_002, Systems Analysis
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 provide the knowledge, tools, and skills
you need to answer these questions and design effective information systems.
- What is the information system doing now?
- What should it be doing?
- What needs to change to make it do the right thing?
- How can we best implement the changes?
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.
Class 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.
Class meetings will be a combination of lecture and discussion, walking
through examples, and in-class exercises. In general, techniques and exercises
will be introduced in the evening readings. In class we will review the readings
and exercises, then we will do additional in-class exercise (usually in small groups)
to let you apply what you've learned, and discuss your questions and observations.
We will also discuss case studies of systems analysis projects, to let you
explore important concepts in other settings.
I'll be introducing a lot of new terms and concepts -- here's a partial list.
Learning them will help you organize and learn the material, as well as let you speak more like a systems analyst.
The slide shows readings, and the incorporated exercises, are essential. Be sure to do the readings in a timely
manner and to complete the exercises that are presented. Since class time is very limited this semester, it's
imperative that everyone completes these exercises in advance so that you can assess your own understanding and
we can use in-class time as effectively as possible.
The in-class exercises are an opportunity for you and your classmates to wrestle with new ideas while
I'm there to help. The practice they provide will help you with your homework assignments and the project.
There is often more than one good or correct way to model or design a situation. There are always many more
bad and incorrect ways to do so!
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.
I will always be prepared for class, and will start class
on time. If unforeseeable circumstances prevent this for any reason, I
will try to notify you beforehand if at all possible.
I expect the same of you: be prepared for class, be ready
to start class on time, and let me know if you know you won't be there.
If you must miss a class session unexpectedly, get in contact with me
ASAP. You are responsible for getting notes for a missed class from a
I do take attendance. Repeated tardiness or missed classes will lower your
participation grade: you cannot participate in in-class exercises and discussions
if you are not present.
You are encouraged and expected to be an active participant in class, including
full class discussions, small group discussions, in-class exercises, and the online
class discussions. Similarly, you are expected to be an active participant in your
project teams. Participation is not just about talking; facilitating discussions to
ake sure everyone has a chance to participate is also important.
Reading assignments should be done before the class for which they are assigned so
you can ask questions and participate in discussions. You are responsible for understanding
the content of all the readings, even if we don't discuss them in class.
If there is something you don't understand, ask a question! If you don't want to ask during
class, post it to the online class discussion, see me before class, or contact me by email.
Participation counts for a percentage of your final grade, but there are many ways to
participate. Quality of contributions is more important than sheer quantity.
Assignments must be submitted by 6:00 p.m. on the day they are due. (Except where indicated otherwise in the schedule.)
Individual assignments should be submitted to the appropriate Sakai assignment folder. The folders close promptly at the due date. Late submissions should be e-mailed to me.
Team assignments should be uploaded to your team's workspace.
A late assignment will be penalized 5% for every day (or part thereof) it is late. If you have a real problem submitting an
assignment on time, please talk to me before the due date; extensions may be granted.
All assignments should conform to these submission instructions.
Pay attention to detail! Proofreading and clarity of presentation are important for information professionals.
Start working on assignments well in advance of the due date. It is usually a good idea to give yourself
time to let your work sit for a bit, then come back to review it. Do not wait until the last minute (or hour
or day) to ask questions about the assignment -- I may not be available for consultation.
For assignments containing models, here are some additional Guidelines.
Giving and Receiving Help
If your team is having difficulty with some aspect of your project, please come to see me. One of the
educational outcomes of this class should be an increase in your effectiveness in getting advice from
more experienced colleagues.
The Honor Code, which prohibits giving or receiving unauthorized aid in the completion of assignments, is
in effect in this class. The Instrument of Student Judicial Governance gives examples of actions that
academic dishonesty. There are some specific guidelines for this class.
- You may give and receive assistance regarding the use of hardware and software.
I encourage you to discuss issues raised in class or by the readings with each other.
You may also ask your classmates for clarification of class notes.
Individual homework assignments are to be done individually. You may consult the course
readings, your notes, and even other print or web sources. (Keep in mind, however, that
what you find in other sources may not be consistent with what I want you to do.) You may
not consult your classmates or other people; all questions should be addressed to me.
Team assignments are to be done as a team, with the team taking responsibility for all products.
Work on the project should be distributed equitably among team members. I expect team members to
discuss, consult, and even debate with each other about the project throughout the term.
Electronic Devices in Class
You are not required to bring your computer to every class. For the couple of classes for which
you do need your laptop, I will note it in the syllabus. However, quick access to the many documents
consulted in this class may be valuable. You may want to bring your laptop for this reason, or prepare
printouts of the relevant documents for each class.
If you plan to use your laptop to take notes, be aware that I often sketch diagrams on the board.
You may want to bring paper and a writing utensil so you can copy them quickly.
Laptops, PDAs, and similar devices should be used only for class purposes. Unrelated activities such
as reading email,texting, web-browsing, or playing games divert your attention from the class and
are distracting and discourteous to others.
Please remember to mute your cellphone before class starts.
Online Class Discussions
Since our class meets only once a week, I encourage all of you participate in online discussions. I will set up
several online discussion forums on the class's Sakai site for this purpose. In addition, I will also be creating a
class-wide listserv, which I will use primarily for announcements. You can use this listserv to communicate with
the class as well.
Your grade will be based on individual assignments (40%), a team project (45%), and class and team participation (15%).
Team project work
|Information gathering plan:
|Presentation to class/client:
15% - includes:
- Timely and complete submission of ungraded assignments
- Class attendance
- Leading a case study discussion group
- Participation in case study discussions
- Participation in in-class exercises
- Team participation
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