GCO5804 - Semester 2 , 2006 unit guide

Semester 2, 2006

Chief Examiner

Mahfuzul Islam


Gippsland : Mahfuzul Islam


Characteristics and essentials of forecasting, introduction to time-series data analysis, forecasting techniques including regression, moving averages, exponential smoothing, decomposition, subjective assessment methods, and Box-Jenkins ARIMA models. Use of spreadsheets and computer packages to prepare forecasts and compare different techniques.


On completion of this subject, students will be able to describe the forecasting process through data analysis and model building, identify and apply both quantitative and qualitative forecasting techniques to practical problems to achieve efficiency in the utilisation of resources.


There are no prerequisites for this unit.

Unit relationships

GCO5804 is an elective unit for the Masters of Business Systems.

Texts and software

Required text(s)

John E. Hanke and Dean W. Wichern, Business Forecasting, 8th edition, Pearson Prentice Hall, 2005, ISBN: 0-13-107385-0.

Textbook availability

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

This unit requires analysing large sets of data. You would need suitable computer software for this purpose. All computing needs of Study Guide 1-5 can be covered using a spreadsheet program. Study Guides 6-10 will require a statistical package, say MINITAB or SPSS, although some aspects can be completed using Microsoft EXCEL. Computer Software is seen as a tool, but not an end in itself. Note that the Student version of SPSS for Windows is not suitable for this unit.

Software may be:

  • purchased at academic price at good software retailers

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. Students studying at supported study locations may use the facilities available in the PC labs.

Recommended reading

S. Makridakis, S. C. Wheelwright and R. J. Hyndman, Forecasting Methods and Applications, 3rd edition, Wiley Publishers, 1998, ISBN: 0-471-53233-9.

G. Dickman, Financial Forecasting and Data Analysis, 1st edition, Thomson Southbank, 2005, ISBN: 0-170-12155-0.

F. X. Diebold, Elements of Forecasting, 3rd edition, Thomson-South Western, 2004, ISBN: 0-324-16382-7.

B. L. Bowerman and R. T. O'Connell, Forecasting and Time Series, 3rd edition, Duxbury, 1993, ISBN: 0-534-93251-7.

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 GCO5804 are:

  • An online Unit Book containing 12 Study Guides, provided through unit website.
  • This Unit Information outlining the administrative information for the unit.
  • The GCO5804 Website, where assignment specifications and solutions, a sample examination paper (but no solutions) etc will be posted.
  • Newsgroups that can be linked to from the Unit website.

Structure and organisation

Week Topics Study Guide Key Dates
1 Introduction to Forecasting 1
2 Statistical Background 2
3 Exploring Data Patterns and Choosing a Forecasting 3
4 Forecasting using Moving Average and Smoothing 4
5 Forecasting using Decomposition Methods 5
6 Forecasting using Simple Regression Models 6
7 Forecasting using Multiple Regression Models 7 Assignment 1 Due
8 Econometric Forecasting 8
9 Forecasting Using ARIMA Models 9
10 Forecasting Using ARIMA Models 10
Non teaching week
11 Qualitative Forecasting Techniques 11 Assignment 2 due
12 Managing the Forecasting Process 12
13 Revision 13


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


Assessment weighting

Assessment for the unit consists of 2 assignments with a weighting of 60% and an examination with a weighting of 40%. Read this section VERY carefully.



Assessment Policy

To pass this unit you must:

To pass this unit, you need to obtain at least 50% Final mark. Since it is not possible to fully test your ability in a three-hour exam alone and since assignment work is not completed in a controlled environment, your final mark cannot be more than 10 marks higher than any of these two components expressed in percentage, i.e. expressed as a mark out of 100.

Your score for the unit will be calculated by:

Your final mark cannot also be more than the weighted average of the above two components expressed in percentage. So,

Final mark = minimum (A + 10, E + 10, A * (1 - R) + E * R)

where A = overall assignment percentage, E = exam percentage, and R = exam weighting (40% = 0.4).

Assessment Requirements

Assessment Due Date Weighting
Assignment 1 04 September 30%
Assignment 2 09 October 30 %
The exam is 3 hours long and is open book. Exam period (S2/06) starts on 23/10/06 40 %

Assignment specifications will be made available GCO5804 Unit website Assignment Page.

Assignment Submission

Assignments will be submitted by electronic submission to webface.

Extensions and late submissions

Late submission of assignments

Assignments received after the due date will be subject to a penalty of 5% of the full marks for each 24 hours of delay.

An assignment must be submitted by the cut-off date, which is usually seven days after the due date. Any assignment submitted after the cut-off date will not be accepted by the WebFace system and therefore, it will be marked automatically to zero.


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 by email 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.

Contact the Unit Adviser by email to request extensions.

Grading of assessment

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

Grade Percentage/description
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%.

Assignment return

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


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.


Communication methods

The best way to get help with any kind of problem with GCO5804 is to post a news item in one of the unit newsgroups (follow the links from the GCO5804 homepage to get to the newsgroups).

If you are unhappy with the responses from the newsgroups or in case of emergency, e-mail to me at Mahfuzul.Islam@infotech.monash.edu.au.



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

10-12 Tuesday

10-12 Friday

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 Mahfuzul Islam
PhD Student
Phone +61 3 990 26475

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: Jul 7, 2006