GCO1851 Computing systems and applications - Semester 1 , 2007 unit guide

Semester 1, 2007

Chief Examiner

Dr Raymond Smith


Gippsland : Meredith Downes-Smith


Information systems in business, the use of IT in business, social impact of IT, privacy and security issues. Concepts and interrelationships of the components of computer systems: people, data, input, the computer and related hardware and software, processing, information, storage, output, networks and the internet. The design and implementation of typical e-commerce tasks. The use, application and integration of business software covering word processing, spreadsheet and database applications, presentations and internet applications.

Student undertaking this unit will learn how IT integrates with business goals and objectives, the building blocks of modern computers, issues related to their use, and the operation and capabilities of the Internet. Specifically:

  • information systems concepts, how technology aids information systems, types of IS's such a EIS, MIS, DSS etc;
  • social and business impacts of IT, their effects on people and business;
  • security issues related to use of individual computers and networks, overall business security, protection and efficient sharing of information;
  • the building blocks of the Internet, including hardware, servers, networks, browsers (capabilities and compatibilities), tools, languages (scripting and markup), design and feel;
  • types of computers (laptops to mainframes and PDA)and their uses. How the components of a microcomputer interrelate;
  • e-commerce / e-business definitions and models, important factors in designing and implementing solutions for e-commerce, the building blocks of e-commerce;
  • using common business applications to enhance business (and personal) objectives and goals, to work more efficiently and productively, for document management and internet publishing
  • a number of areas are related and relevant to the encroachment of microcomputers and the internet into a range of personal uses.




    On successful completion of this unit students will:

    • have an understanding of the concepts and terminology associated with business information systems;
    • have an understanding of the value and uses of information systems for business operations, managerial decision making and strategic advantage;
    • have an understanding of how IT can be combined with information systems to help meet the business goals of an organisation;
    • have an understanding of ethics and privacy issues with IT and business;
    • have knowledge of the structure and operation of microcomputer systems; hardware and software;
    • have knowledge of the development, analysis, design and application of software;
    • have an understanding of the theory and principles of networks, electronic communications and security;
    • have an understanding of the concepts and terminology associated with the internet and e-commerce;
    • be able to utilise the practical application of productivity tools to support end user computing activities, business operations and decision making;
    • be able to analyse, design, and implement web documentation and e-commerce tasks;
    • appreciate the need to use computer-based systems ethically and responsibly.



    There are no prerequisites for this unit.

    Unit relationships

    This unit is available for students enrolled in courses in the Faculty of Business and Economics. It is also offered as an elective to student enrolled from other faculties except those enrolled in Faculty of Information Technology awards.

    Texts and software

    Required text(s)

    Parsons, J and Oja, D, New Perspectives Computer Concepts – Comprehensive, Thomson Learning, 9th Edition, 2007, ISBN-10: 1-4188-3944-2 ISBN-13: 978-1-4188-3944-4

    Grauer, R and Barber, M, Exploring Microsoft Office XP – Volume 1 Secondd Edition, Prentice Hall, 2007, 0-13-221070-3


    Textbook availability

    Avalable from all good technical bookshops

    Software requirements

    Microsoft Word 2000 / XP or 2003

    Microsoft Excel 2000 / XP or 2003

    Word and Excel are supplied with Microsoft Office 2000 / XP and 2003. It is advised to purchase an Office version than individual copies of Word and Excel

    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. 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.

    Recommended reading

    Shelly, G, Cashman, T and Vermaat, M, Discovering Computers 2005: A Gateway to Information - Complete, Thomson Learning, 2004, 0-619-25525-0

    Parsons, J, Oja, D, Ageloff, R and Carey, P, New Perspectives on Microsoft Excel 2002, Comprehensive — Bonus Edition, Thomson Learning, 2003, 0-619-21423-6

    Adamski. J and Finnegan, K, New Perspectives on Microsoft Access 2002 - Comprehensive, Thomson Learning, 2002, 0-619-02089-X

    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 GCO1851 are:

    A printed Unit Book containing 10 Study Guides.

    This Unit Information outlining the administrative information for the unit.

    The GCO1851 web site, where lecture slides, weekly tutorial requirements, assignment specifications, sample solutions and supplementary material will be posted.

    Newsgroups/discussion groups that can be linked to from the Unit Homepage.


    Unit website


    Structure and organisation

    Week Topics Key Dates
    1 The Information Revolution
    2 Hardware
    3 Software
    4 Spreadsheets in Focus
    5 File Management
    6 Information Systems 4/4/07 Assignment 1
    Non teaching week
    7 Databases
    8 Databases in Focus
    9 Networks
    10 Web Technology 11/5/07 Assignment 2
    11 E-commerce and E-business
    12 Programming and Languages / Computers and Society
    13 Exam Revision


    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 30% and an examination with a weighting of 70%. Read this section VERY carefully.


    Assessment Policy

    To pass this unit you must:

    To pass this unit you must:

    • Attempt all assignments and the examination
    • Score at least 50% of the possible marks for the unit
    • Achieve no less than 40% of the total available marks for the assignments overall, and the examination

    Your score for the unit will be calculated by:

    Your final percentage will be calculated using the formula:

    Grade = min (A+10, E+10, E*R+A*(1-R))

    • A = overall assignment percentage
    • E = examination percentage
    • R = exam weighting (70% = 0.7)

    Assessment Requirements

    Assessment Due Date Weighting
    Assignment 1: Computer Concepts and Spreadsheets 4/4/07 10%
    Assignment 2: Databases and Networks 11/5/07 20 %
    Exam period (S1/07) starts on 07/06/07 70 %

    Assignment specifications will be made available from the GCO1851 unit website assignments page.

    Assignment Submission

    All assignments will be submitted electronically via WebFace (see tutorial 1 on GCO1851 website). The due date is the date by which the submission must be received by WebFace.

    It is a students responsibility to ensure that they have submitted assignment correctly and received an assignment receipt.

    Assignments will be returned within 10 working days after due date.


    Extensions and late submissions

    Late submission of assignments

    Assignments received after the due date without an extension will incur a penalty of 10% reduction in grade for each day late (inclusive of weekends). Assignments received later than one week after the due date will not normally be accepted.



    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 to your lecturer 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.


    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

    It is anticipated that all assignment results will be returned within two weeks (of your submission). It is a students responsibility to ensure that they have submitted assignment correctly and received an 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

    Preferred communications is via newsgroups for assignment / material related questions. Communications of a personal nature, which may include requests for assignment extensions, special consideration requests, or the need to discuss your personal progress can be emailed directly. You are not asked to put anything of a personal nature into your newsgroup postings. You can discuss matters over the phone but email is preferable.

    Some students may feel a little uncertain about their assignment submissions and request if the assignment can be looked over prior to submission. Unfortunately this is not possible (and disadvantages other students). Use the assignment newsgroup to place a question related to your area of uncertainty.

    Newsgroups allow student interaction between all students and the lecturer. The lectuerer will moderate the newsgroups twice a week. Students are welcome and encouraged to support other students by answering postings. A full list of newsgroups for this unit are:

    • Notices - important notices from the lecturer – students have read access only
    • Hello - used in tutorial 1
    • Assignment 1 - assignment 1 queries (do not post your answers or code to this group*)
    • Assignment 2 - assignment 2 queries (do not post your answers or code to this group*)
    • General - general discussion and queries about the material

    * It is important that you do not post your assignment answers to the newsgroups. Providing answers do not help other students and will disadvantage their learning.


    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

    Monday 11AM-12PM

    Friday 11AM-12PM

    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:

    Dr Raymond Smith
    Phone +61 3 990 26462

    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 19, 2007