IMS5401 Web-based Systems Development , Unit Information Guide (Semester 1, 2006)

Chief Examiner Martin Atchison
Caulfield : Martin Atchison

Web-based information systems may require a development approach, development skills and a range of participants unlike those used for other forms of information system. This unit aims to provide students with a broad understanding of the nature of the web-based information systems development process, and how it is applied in different types of information systems.

The unit will examine the following main areas:

  • the basic technologies associated with the internet and the world-wide web, and the influence of these technologies on the use and development of information systems on the web
  • the development processes required to build systems which make use of web and internet technologies
  • analysis and design issues and techniques for web-based systems
  • issues in managing web development teams and web projects

    The emphasis throughout the unit will be on providing a broad overview of topics, rather than examining any one topic in great depth. There will be a strong emphasis on practical demonstration of the concepts being studied, and case studies will be used to highlight key aspects of theory.

    Objectives Knowledge and Understanding

    C1. Know the technological capabilities associated with the internet and the world-wide web and the basic technological capabilities required to develop web-based systems

    C2. Know the main tasks in the web-based information systems development process and the main techniques used to perform them

    C3. Know the mixture of skills and competencies required for successful development of a web-based information system

    C4. Understand the principles of good practice with respect to the management of web-based information systems project

    Attitudes, Values and Beliefs

    A1. Recognise the range of skills and competencies required in the development of web-based information systems

    A2. Recognise the special expertise and skills which information professionals can contribute to the development of a web-based information system

    Practical Skills

    P1. Identify the range of technical and systems expertise needed in the development of a web-based system for a given set of circumstances

    P2. Perform some of the basic information analysis and design tasks required during development of a web-based information system

    Relationships, Communication and TeamWork

    S1. Recognise the importance of a team-based approach to web-based information systems development

    S2. Interact with system users and with other members of a team in the tasks involved in the development of a web-based information system

    S3. Develop interpersonal communication skills with team members in Web-based systems developement activities

    Prerequisites Before attempting this unit you must have satisfactorily completed

    IMS9001, IMS9003, IMS9049, or equivalent.

    Unit relationships IMS5401 is an elective postgraduate unit which was developed as part of the Information Systems Development specialisation of the Master of Information Management and Systems (MIMS).  It can also be taken as an elective unit in other postgraduate programs.   Before attempting this unit you must have satisfactorily completed the pre-requisite units IMS9001, IMS9003, IMS9049, or equivalent 

    The pre-requisite units are required because the unit contrasts the nature of web technology and web development processes with the technology and development processes used for normal transaction-based information systems. It builds on the student's existing understanding of computer-based systems and the systems development process


  • IMS9049: needed to ensure students have an adequate knowledge of computer fundamentals - basic computer components and their functions, technical computing jargon
  • IMS9001: needed to ensure students have an adequate knowledge of the fundamentals of the system development process - the SDLC and its constituent tasks, data and process modelling, and the basic principles of system development and implementation
  • IMS9003: needed to ensure that students have an adequate knowledge of database fundamentals - how databases work, the principles of database design and implementation
  • You may not study this unit and IMSin your degree.

    Texts and software

    Required text(s)

    There are no required text books for this unit.  References will be given to text books throughout the semester for students who want a text for specific topics.  See the recommended reading list below as a starting point.

    Text books are available from the Monash University Book Shops. Availability from other suppliers cannot be assured. The Bookshop orders texts in specifically for this unit. You are advised to purchase your text book early.

    Software requirements:


    Hardware requirements:

    Students studying off-campus are required to have the minimum system configuration specified by the faculty as a condition of accepting admission, and regular Internet access. On-campus students, and those studying at supported study locations may use the facilities available in the computing labs. Information about computer use for students is available from the ITS Student Resource Guide in the Monash University Handbook. You will need to allocate up to n hours per week for use of a computer, including time for newsgroups/discussion groups.

    Recommended reading

    Goldfarb C & Prescod P (2004). XML Handbook, Prentice Hall

    McCracken D & Wolfe R (2004) User-centered web site development, Pearson Prentice Hall

    Nielsen, J. (2000). Designing Web Usability. New Riders

    Rosenfeld, L. & Morville, P. (2002). Information Architecture for the World Wide Web: Designing large-sclae web sites. O'Reilly

    Sano, D. (1996). Designing Large-Scale Web Sites. Wiley

    Siegel, D, (1997). Secrets of Successful Web Sites: Project Management on the World Wide Web. Hayden Books

    Vaughan, T. (2001). Multimedia: Making it work (5th edn.). Osborne

    Library access You may need to access the Monash library either personally to be able to satisfactorily complete the subject.  Be sure to obtain a copy of the Library Guide, and if necessary, the instructions for remote access from the library website.
    Study resources

    Study resources for IMS5401 are:

    The IMS5401 web site on MUSO, where lecture slides, tutorial exercises, assignments and resource material will be posted throughout the semester.

    Structure and organisation



    Study Guide

    Key Dates

    1 Introduction of web system development
    2 Web technology: The internet and the web
    3 Web technology: Mark-up languages and browsers
    4 Web technology: Digital representation/transmission
    5 Web technology: Interactivity; Web tools and technologies
    6 Web Technology: The semantic web
    7 Web Technology: Web Services Assignment 1 due
    8 Web system development: Web system content and usability
    9 Web system development: Web page design
    10 Web system development: Web site architecture and navigation
    11 Web system development : Content management
    12 Web system development: Managing the process
    13 Review and the role of the IT professional Assignment 2 due

    The timetable for on-campus classes for this unit can be viewed in Allocate+


    Assessment for the unit consists of 2 assignments with a weighting of 50% and an examination with a weighting of 50%. Read this section VERY carefully.

    Assessment Policy

    To pass this unit you must:

    Achieve a minimum mark of 40% for both the assignment and exam components of the assessment, and an overall mark of at least 50%

    Your score for the unit will be calculated by:

    Adding the exam and assignment components.  If you fail to achieve a mark of at least 40% in either the exam or assignment component, the highest mark you can be given is 44 N.

    Assessment Requirements


    Due Date


    Assignment 1 Tutorial class of Week 7 25 %
    Assignment 2 Tutorial class of Week 13 25 %

    Assignment specifications will be made available on the IMS5401 unit web site. Information about assignments will be published on the Unit's Notices Newsgroup.

    Assignment Submission Methods

    Assignments will be submitted in hard copy form.  Electronic submission of assignments will be permitted only under exceptional circumstances, and by authorisation of the unit leader.  On-campus students must submit their assignments to their tutor by the end of the tutorial class in the week specified for submission.  The assignment must have the the appropriate cover sheet correctly filled out and attached.  

    Extensions and late submissions

    Late submission of assignments

    Assignments received after the due date will be subject to a penalty of up to 5% per day at the discretion of the unit leader.  Assignments which are submitted more than a week late will be accepted only with the authorisation of the unit leader.

    This policy is strict because comments or guidance will be given on assignments as they are returned, and sample solutions may also be published and distributed, after assignment marking or with the returned assignment. 


    It is your responsibility to structure your study program around assignment deadlines, family, work and other commitments. Factors such as normal work pressures, vacations, etc. are seldom regarded as appropriate reasons for granting extensions. 

    Requests for extensions must be made in writing at least two days before the due date. You will be asked to forward original medical certificates in cases of illness, and may be asked to provide other forms of documentation where necessary. A copy of the email or other written communication of an extension must be attached to the assignment submission.

    Grading of assessment

    Assignments, and the unit, will be marked and allocated a grade according to the following scale:

    HD High Distinction - very high levels of achievement, demonstrated knowledge and understanding, skills in application and high standards of work encompassing all aspects of the tasks.
    In the 80+% range of marks for the assignment.
    D Distinction - high levels of achievement, but not of the same standards. May have a weakness in one particular aspect, or overall standards may not be quite as high.
    In the 70-79% range.
    C Credit - sound pass displaying good knowledge or application skills, but some weaknesses in the quality, range or demonstration of understanding.
    In the 60-69% range.
    P Pass - acceptable standard, showing an adequate basic knowledge, understanding or skills, but with definite limitations on the extent of such understanding or application. Some parts may be incomplete.
    In the 50-59% range.
    N Not satisfactory -  failure to meet the basic requirements of the assessment.
    Below 50%.

    We will aim to have assignment results made available to you within two weeks after assignment receipt.

    Feedback Feedback to you

    You will receive feedback on your work and progress in this unit. This feedback may be provided through your participation in tutorials and class discussions, as well as through your assignment submissions. It may come in the form of individual advice, marks and comments, or it may be provided as comment or reflection targeted at the group. It may be provided through personal interactions, such as interviews and on-line forums, or through other mechanisms such as on-line self-tests and publication of grade distributions.

    Feedback from you

    You will be asked to provide feedback to the Faculty through a Unit Evaluation survey at the end of the semester. You may also be asked to complete surveys to help teaching staff improve the unit and unit delivery. Your input to such surveys is very important to the faculty and the teaching staff in maintaining relevant and high quality learning experiences for our students.

    And if you are having problems

    It is essential that you take action immediately if you realise that you have a problem with your study. The semester is short, so we can help you best if you let us know as soon as problems arise. Regardless of whether the problem is related directly to your progress in the unit, if it is likely to interfere with your progress you should discuss it with your lecturer or a Community Service counsellor as soon as possible.

    Plagiarism and cheating

    Plagiarism and cheating are regarded as very serious offences. In cases where cheating  has been confirmed, students have been severely penalised, from losing all marks for an assignment, to facing disciplinary action at the Faculty level. While we would wish that all our students adhere to sound ethical conduct and honesty, I will ask you to acquaint yourself with Student Rights and Responsibilities and the Faculty regulations that apply to students detected cheating as these will be applied in all detected cases.

    In this University, cheating means seeking to obtain an unfair advantage in any examination or any other written or practical work to be submitted or completed by a student for assessment. It includes the use, or attempted use, of any means to gain an unfair advantage for any assessable work in the unit, where the means is contrary to the instructions for such work. 

    When you submit an individual assessment item, such as a program, a report, an essay, assignment or other piece of work, under your name you are understood to be stating that this is your own work. If a submission is identical with, or similar to, someone else's work, an assumption of cheating may arise. If you are planning on working with another student, it is acceptable to undertake research together, and discuss problems, but it is not acceptable to jointly develop or share solutions unless this is specified by your lecturer. 

    Intentionally providing students with your solutions to assignments is classified as "assisting to cheat" and students who do this may be subject to disciplinary action. You should take reasonable care that your solution is not accidentally or deliberately obtained by other students. For example, do not leave copies of your work in progress on the hard drives of shared computers, and do not show your work to other students. If you believe this may have happened, please be sure to contact your lecturer as soon as possible.

    Cheating also includes taking into an examination any material contrary to the regulations, including any bilingual dictionary, whether or not with the intention of using it to obtain an advantage.

    Plagiarism involves the false representation of another person's ideas, or findings, as your own by either copying material or paraphrasing without citing sources. It is both professional and ethical to reference clearly the ideas and information that you have used from another writer. If the source is not identified, then you have plagiarised work of the other author. Plagiarism is a form of dishonesty that is insulting to the reader and grossly unfair to your student colleagues.


    Student's first point of contact with their lecturer or tutor should be through the scheduled lecture and tutorial classes.  The lecturer and tutors will also have scheduled consultation times each week of semester.  Additional consultation with either lecturer or tutor can be arranged by appointment.  All teaching staff are contactable by e-mail.


    Notices related to the unit during the semester will be placed on the Notices Newsgroup in the Unit Website. Check this regularly. Failure to read the Notices newsgroup is not regarded as grounds for special consideration.

    Consultation Times

    These will be posted on the unit web site during the first week of semester

    If direct communication with your unit adviser/lecturer or tutor outside of consultation periods is needed you may contact the lecturer and/or tutors at:

    Mr Martin Atchison
    Senior Lecturer
    Phone +61 3 990 31912

    Mr Manoj Kathpalia

    All email communication to you from your lecturer will occur through your Monash student email address. Please ensure that you read it regularly, or forward your email to your main address. Also check that your contact information registered with the University is up to date in My.Monash.

    Last updated: Feb 27, 2006