INLS 582_003, Systems Analysis
Systems Analysis is all
about problem solving.
are the fundamental questions whether you're fixing a broken system,
adding new functionality to an existing system, or designing an
entirely new system.
- 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?
purpose of this course is to help you gain the knowledge, tools, and
you need to answer these questions and design effective information
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
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
Your work for
this class falls into 3 categories: 1)
preparation for class, 2)
activities, and 3) individual
and group assignments. Your preparation for each class
meeting is the key to
the most out of each class's activities.
describes what you should do to prepare for each class meeting,
reading, practicing skills or techniques, and thinking. You are welcome
together to prepare for each class.
or manuals for specific models and analysis techniques.
papers, issue articles, and case studies.
readings. What interests/surprises/informs/challenges you?
questions I pose for you. These will often form the basis of class
questions you would pose for discussion. These will also be part of the
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
Class meetings will
consist of 3 sections.
questions, assignments, and other "class infrastructure".
--I will provide highlights of the material for the day, and walk
through examples. This is also your opportunity to ask questions from
a) Exercises. We will work on these together, and discuss the
disadvantages of different approaches or answers. I will
provide help and feedback as needed.
of questions, articles, case studies, and other issues, in small
project groups, and/or the full class.
assignments will provide more opportunities for practicing specific
let you demonstrate to me what you have learned. Team assignments
are the deliverables for your project.
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
you learn here may help you in many aspects of your future endeavors.
- You will
learn a lot of new terms and concepts -- here's a partial list.
You may find them useful in learning and organizing the
material, as well as speaking like a systems analyst.
- Plan ahead!
Success in this course requires the same kind of project management
that your team project does.
the work schedule for this class with the schedules for your other
classes, work, and other activities. You are likely to have many
deadlines toward the end of the semester, so it's important
for you to keep up.
yourself plenty of time to prepare for each class. If you are not
prepared for class, you will not be able to fully participate in (and
benefit from) the in-class activities.
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!
- We are professionals, therefore I expect
- I will be prepared for class, and be ready to 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 and be
to start class on time.
you know in advance that you must miss a class, please let me know in
If you must miss a class session unexpectedly, get in touch with me as
soon as possible to tell me why. Unexplained absences are
unprofessional, and will lower your participation grade.
- If you miss a class for whatever reason, you are
responsible for learning what you missed from a
- I take attendance at each class meeting.
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. Similarly, you are expected to
be an active participant in your project teams. Participation is not
just about talking; listening to others' ideas and facilitating
discussions to make sure everyone has
a chance to participate is also important.
- If there is something you don't understand ask a question!
Ask a question during
to my office hours, or contact me by email.
- Participation counts for a percentage of your final grade,
but there are many ways to participate. Quality is
more important than sheer quantity.
on Academic Integrity and Diversity
- Assignments must be submitted by 11:00 a.m.
on the day they are due. (Except for the final specifications.)
- A late assignment will be penalized 5% for every day it is
late. Any request for an extension must be made, preferably by email,
least 24 hours prior to the due date, and will be granted only if you
have encountered a real problem. Getting a late
start on an assignment does not count as a real problem. If an
emergency arises that prevents you from contacting me in advance, you
must do so as soon as possible.
- You will submit your assignments through Sakai. All
assignments should conform to the Submission
Instructions in the Resources section in Sakai.
- Pay attention to detail! Proofreading and clarity of
presentation are important for information professionals.
- Start working on assignments well in advance of the due
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.
Chapel Hill has had a student-administered honor system and judicial
system for over 100 years. Because academic honesty and the development
and nurturing of trust and trustworthiness are important to all of us
individuals, and are encouraged and promoted by the honor system, this
is a most significant University tradition. You are responsible for
being familiar with the UNC-CH Honor
In support of
the University's diversity goals and the mission of the School of
Information and Library Science, SILS embraces diversity as an ethical
and societal value. We broadly define diversity to include race,
national origin, ethnicity, religion, social class, age, sexual
orientation and physical and learning ability. As an academic community
committed to preparing our graduates to be leaders in an increasingly
multicultural and global society we strive to:
- If your team is having difficulty with some aspect of your
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
in the completion of assignments, is in effect in this class. The
Instrument of Student Judicial Governance gives examples of actions
academic dishonesty. There are some specific guidelines for
- You may give and receive assistance regarding the use
of hardware and
- You are welcome to work together on class preparation;
articles, walking through examples, working on exercises, etc. You may
also ask your classmates for clarification of class
- All work you submit should be your own.
home work assignments are to be done
individually. You may
consult the course readings and slides, your notes, and even other
print or web
sources. (Keep in mind, however, that what you find in other sources
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.
assignments are to be done as a team, with the
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.
- You mist sign (check) the honor statement when you
submit each assignment. This confirms that you and the work conforms to
the Honor Code.
statement represents a commitment of resources to the development and
maintenance of an academic environment that is open, representative,
reflective, and committed to the concepts of equity and fairness.
inclusive leadership, policies, and practices;
diversity into the curriculum and research;
- Foster a
mutually respectful intellectual environment in which diverse opinions
traditionally underrepresented groups of students, faculty, and staff;
in outreach to underserved groups in the State.
Devices in Class
- You are not required to bring your computer to every class.
the couple of classes for which you do need your laptop, I will remind
you in advance.
activities will often involve sketching out draft models or taking
brief notes in a break-out group for reporting back to the class. You
may use your computer or other device, or pencil and paper.
(Personally, I prefer drafting models on paper.)
- Laptops, tablets, phones, 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.
The official course website is at
The website will contain the course syllabus and schedule.
Announcements will be posted on
Sakai, and usually also sent via email to each student's email address
of record. However, it is the responsibility of every student to check
the Sakai site regularly for announcements and messages.
Email is the best way to contact me.
that I receive a large amount of email and while I try to reply to
student emails within 48 hours, there are times that it may take me 2-3
days to reply. Therefore, it is important that you get started on
assignments early, so there is time for me to respond to any questions
you may have. I cannot guarantee that I will be able to answer
last-minute questions (e.g., within 2 days of the assignment due date).
office hours are Monday and Wednesday, 9:30-10:30. Please stop by if
you have questions or want to discuss class, assignments, etc. If
office hours are not convenient for you, or you want to discuss
something that will take more than a few minutes, please make an
appointment with me. You can schedule an appointment by email, or
immediately before or after class.
All enrolled students should have access to the UNC Sakai site for this
materials will be stored in Sakai. The course syllabus, schedule, and
information about tools and other resources will be there at the
beginning of the semester. Materials for each topic, including slides,
exercises, and assignments, will be added during the semester.
order for you to receive credit for an assignment, it must be submitted
using the Sakai "Assignments" section. In my experience, Sakai is a
reliable method for submitting assignments. It is the responsibility of
each student to make sure they have access to Sakai and can submit
assignments when they are due.
If for some reason you are unable
to submit an assignment to Sakai, as a last resort you may email it to
me along with a note about the problem you encountered. Then, as soon
as you are able to, it is your responsibility to submit the exact same
assignment to Sakai. The email serves as a record that you tried to
submit the assignment on time, but to receive credit, your assignment
must be uploaded to Sakai.
Detailed instructions for submitting assignments are in Sakai resources.
All grades will be
recorded in the Sakai Gradebook.
The following grade scale will be used AS A GUIDELINE (subject to any
curve) for undergraduate
students. (Definitions are from the Office of the University Registrar;
underlining is my own.)
of course content at the highest
level of attainment that can reasonably be expected of
students at a given
stage of development. The A grade states clearly that the students have
such outstanding promise in the aspect of the
discipline under study
that he/she may be strongly encouraged to continue.
demonstrating a high level of attainment for a
student at a given stage of development. The B grade states that the
has shown solid promise in the aspect of the discipline under study.
totally acceptable performance
demonstrating an adequate level of attainment for a student at a given
development. The C grade states that, while not yet showing unusual
the student may continue to study in the discipline with reasonable
marginal performance in the required
exercises demonstrating a minimal passing level of attainment. A
given no evidence of prospective growth in the discipline; an
accumulation of D
grades should be taken to mean that the student would be well advised
continue in the academic field.
whatever reason, an unacceptable
performance. The F grade indicates that the student's
performance in the
required exercises has revealed almost no understanding of the course
A grade of F should warrant an advisor's questioning whether the
suitably register for further study in the discipline before remedial
The following grade scale will be used AS A GUIDELINE (subject to any
curve) for graduate
students. (Definitions are from the Office of the University Registrar)
P 80-94.9% Pass
L 70-79.9% Low Pass
F 0-69.9% Fail
Your grade will be based
on individual assignments (40%),
a team project (45%), and class and team participation (15%).
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%
Leading a case study discussion group: 2%
Participation in in-class activities and discussions: 8%
Participation in team project: 5%
This page was last modified on Tuesday, January 21, 2014, by Tim Shearer.
Address questions and comments about this page to Tim Shearer at tshearer at email dot unc dot edu.
Content © Stephanie W. Haas. All rights reserved.