BIS15 IT in organizations - Study Period 3 , 2007

Unit leader :

Kim Styles

Lecturer(s) :


  • Kim Styles


Welcome to BIS15 IT in Organizations for Study Period 3, 2007. This unit is designed as a core study  for all undergraduate degree programs in the Faculty of IT at Monash University. The unit has been designed to provide you with an understanding of organizations, the contexts within which information technologies are used, and the IT professions. It explores many aspects of IT with emphasis on the relationship between theoretical knowledge and its practical application using cases and real examples. For non-IT students, the unit offers important perspectives on how IT can support and augment business functions, an appreciation of the risks and benefits of the IT investment and a glimpse of the issues that underpin IT management including the deployment and management of IT staff.

Unit synopsis

The unit will provide you with an introduction and broad overview of the application of IT to the management of information in organizations, and the role of the IT professional in developing and implementing IT-based solutions to information problems.

The discussion of the organizational framework for IT and IT professional practice will be set within its broader social context. The opportunities, problems and risks associated with IT will be examined, together with their implications for the rights and responsibilities of IT professionals.

Learning outcomes

At the completion of this unit you will have knowledge and understanding of:

  • Basic concepts of information, including organizational and social issues relating to the ownership and control of information;
  • Basic concepts of information systems, including their role and importance in organizations and society;
  • Basic concepts of organizations, including organizational structures, the roles of individuals and groups in organizations, the role of communication in achieving organizational objectives, and the nature of communication in organizations;
  • Basic concepts of IT as it is used in organizations and society, including the evolution of the role of IT in organizations and society;
  • Information technologies and information technology infrastructures employed by organizations;
  • The business and information management processes and functions for which IT is used in organizations, and in which IT professionals are involved;
  • Opportunities, risks and liabilities arising from the usage and application of IT in organizations;
  • Processes of acquiring, developing and managing IT in organizations;
  • Techniques and tools for describing and analysing information management processes in organizations;
  • The roles of IT workers in organizations and the range of ethical and professional rights and responsibilities associated with them;
  • Organizational and social issues arising from the use of IT in organizations, including privacy and civil liberties issues.

You will be able to:

  • Recognise the importance of information to organizational processes and functions;
  • Recognise the opportunities and limitations of the role which IT can play in managing information in organizations;
  • Appreciate the importance of the IT practitioner's role in organizations and society, and the responsibilities it entails.
  • Document organizational information-related functions and processes;
  • Assess the potential scope for using IT as part of the solution to an organizational information problem;
  • Identify and discuss issues, problems and opportunities in using IT in organizations;
  • Identify and discuss the organizational and social impacts of IT, and the ethical dimensions of IT-related decisions.

You will:

  • Recognise the team skills necessary for successful development and implementation of IT solutions to information problems in organizations;
  • Appreciate the importance of the inter-relationships between IT professionals and the stakeholders in IT-based systems in organizations.


Workload commitments are an average of 12 hours per week, normally allocated to:

  • 3 hours working through study guides and associated material 
  • 2 -3 hours of personal study such as completing the readings and other exercises
  • 3 hours working through the tutorial exercises 
  • an average of 3 hours per week spent on assignment preparation, though this will usually be undertaken in the two to three weeks prior to the assignment due dates.

You will need to allocate up to 5 hours per week in some weeks, for use of a computer, including time for newsgroups/discussion groups.

Unit relationships


There are no prerequisites for this unit.


The unit may be taken in a range of Open University degree courses.

Continuous improvement

Monash is committed to ‘Excellence in education' and strives for the highest possible quality in teaching and learning. To monitor how successful we are in providing quality teaching and learning Monash regularly seeks feedback from students, employers and staff. Two of the formal ways that you are invited to provide feedback are through Unit Evaluations and through Monquest Teaching Evaluations.

One of the key formal ways students have to provide feedback is through Unit Evaluation Surveys. It is Monash policy for every unit offered to be evaluated each year. Students are strongly encouraged to complete the surveys as they are an important avenue for students to "have their say". The feedback is anonymous and provides the Faculty with evidence of aspects that students are satisfied and areas for improvement.

Student Evaluations

The Faculty of IT administers the Unit Evaluation surveys online through the portal, although for some smaller classes there may be alternative evaluations conducted in class.

If you wish to view how previous students rated this unit, please go to

Over the past few years the Faculty of Information Technology has made a number of improvements to its courses as a result of unit evaluation feedback. Some of these include systematic analysis and planning of unit improvements, and consistent assignment return guidelines.

Monquest Teaching Evaluation surveys may be used by some of your academic staff this semester. They are administered by the Centre for Higher Education Quality (CHEQ) and may be completed in class with a facilitator or on-line through the portal. The data provided to lecturers is completely anonymous. Monquest surveys provide academic staff with evidence of the effectiveness of their teaching and identify areas for improvement. Individual Monquest reports are confidential, however, you can see the summary results of Monquest evaluations for 2006 at

Improvements to this unit

The unit was substantially revised after the 2006 offering, including reduction in the quantity of readings and reorganising some topics. At the end of the study period you will have the oppotunity to provide feedback via the OU survey of units. You are also welcome to offer observations and suggestions throughout the study period in the MUSO discussion groups. 

Unit staff - contact details

Unit leader

Ms Kim Styles
Senior Lecturer, and Director, Educational Quality
Phone +61 3 990 26285 +61 3 990 31965
Fax +61 3 9902 6879

Lecturer(s) :

Ms Kim Styles
Senior Lecturer, and Director, Educational Quality
Phone +61 3 990 26285 +61 3 990 31965
Fax +61 3 9902 6879

Additional communication information

Communication related to the unit content or materials should be made through the discussion groups in MUSO. This ensures that questions that are of interest to all students are answered once rather than multiple times. If a query that falls into this category is recieved by email, I will usually answer it in the discussion groups rather than by return email.

If you have questions of a personal nature, such as requests for extensions or other matters, please use the MUSO email. If you do email me outside of MUSO be sure to do so from your university account rather than from a personal account. Privacy laws limit the information I am permitted to send to unofficial addresses.

Teaching and learning method

BIS15 provides students with a comprehensive set of study guides, readings, tutorials and solutions to facilitate your learning. 

Study Guides: are the primary means of outlining the assessable content. The study guides start with learning objectives for the week, present the content and concept and direct you to assessable readings.

Reader: Unless the study guide specifies otherwise (through instructions such as "scan" or "browse") the content of readings identified in the study guide are assessable. There is generally one chapter of readings associated with each week's study guide.

Tutorials: Each week's material is accompanied by a set of tutorial questions that play two roles:

  1. As there is no text book, these questions let you test how well you have understood the content in the same way that textbook exercises normally do;
  2. They form the basis of the interaction you will have with other students and your lecturer through the discussion groups.

Tutorial questions are also very similar to the exam questions.

The two assignments will provide you with feedback of your grasp of the content as well as record a mark toward your final grade.

Communication, participation and feedback

Monash aims to provide a learning environment in which students receive a range of ongoing feedback throughout their studies. You will receive feedback on your work and progress in this unit. This may take the form of group feedback, individual feedback, peer feedback, self-comparison, verbal and written feedback, discussions (on line and in class) as well as more formal feedback related to assignment marks and grades. You are encouraged to draw on a variety of feedback to enhance your learning.

It is essential that you take action immediately if you realise that you have a problem that is affecting your study. Semesters are 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.

Unit Schedule

Week Topic Key dates
1 Introduction to organizations and information  
2 IT, systems and it-based information systems  
3 IT and information systems in organizations  
4 Communication in organizations  
5 Communication for IT professionals  
6 IT infrastructure in organizations Assignment 1 due
7 Information systems supporting processes in organizations  
8 Techniques for describing organizational processes  
9 Key processes in organizations  
10 Liabilities and risks of it and it-based information systems  
Mid semester break
11 Developing and acquiring IT applications in organizations Assignment 2 due
12 Being an IT professional  
13 Revision  

Unit Resources

Prescribed text(s) and readings

There is no single text book for this unit. You will be provided with a reader with the required reading with the unit resources. The reader contains extracts of many books and journals. All the references are also available in the Monash library.

Recommended text(s) and readings

  • Boddy D, Boonstra A, Kennedy G (2004) Managing information systems : an organisational perspective, Prentice Hall
  • Edgar, Stacey, L. (2003) Morality and Machines: Perspectives on Computer Ethics, Second Edition, Jones and Bartlett, Sudbury, Massachusetts.
  • Gelinas U, Sutton S & Fedorowicz J (2004) Business processes and information technology, Thomson
  • Mohan T, McGregor H, Saunders S, Archee, R (2004) Communicating as Professionals, First edition, Thomson Learning

Required software and/or hardware

There is no specific recommended software for the unit, however you will need access to:

  • An Internet browser with Acrobat Reader
  • A word processor
  • A simple graphics editor such as that in Word or PowerPoint, which is useful but not essential

Software may be:

  • purchased at academic price at good software retailers

Equipment and consumables required or provided

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 5 hours per week in some weeks, for use of a computer, including time for newsgroups/discussion groups.

Study resources

Study resources we will provide for your study are:

  • A printed Unit Book containing 12 Study Guides. Part
  • A collection of required extracts for reading in a printed Reader
  • This Unit Guide outlining the administrative information for the unit
  • Weekly tutorial questions presented in MUSO. Sample solutions are released one week after the scheduled week for each topic.
  • The BIS15 web site on MUSO, where lecture slides, weekly tutorial requirements, assignment specifications, sample solutions and supplementary material will be posted.
  • Communication information and newsgroups/discussion groups for each campus that can be linked to from the Unit Homepage.

Library access

The Monash University Library site contains details about borrowing rights and catalogue searching. To learn more about the library and the various resources available, please go to  Be sure to obtain a copy of the Library Guide, and if necessary, the instructions for remote access from the library website.

Monash University Studies Online (MUSO)

All unit and lecture materials are available through the MUSO (Monash University Studies Online) site. You can access this site by going to:

  1. a) or
  2. b) via the portal (

Click on the Study and enrolment tab, then the MUSO hyperlink.

In order for your MUSO unit(s) to function correctly, your computer needs to be correctly configured.

For example :

  • MUSO supported browser
  • Supported Java runtime environment

For more information, please visit

You can contact the MUSO Support by: Phone: (+61 3) 9903 1268

For further contact information including operational hours, please visit

Further information can be obtained from the MUSO support site:


Unit assessment policy

  1. Attempt both assignments and the exam in the semester that you study the unit;
  2. Achieve a result of at least 50%;
  3. Achieve no less than 40% in the exam and 40% for the assignments overall.

Assignment tasks

  • Assignment Task
    Title :
    Assignment 1: Information and Communication in Organizations
    Description :

    The assignment is based on a case study of an organization and assesses Study Guides 1-5. You will present the assignment as a report.

    Weighting :
    Criteria for assessment :

    The criteria used to assess submissions are:

    • Correctness and understanding - there may be more than one "right" answer in many cases. We will look for answers that reflect understanding of the underlying principles and theories.
    • Completeness - that you have answered all parts of each question.
    • Presentation - that you have presented your answers in a suitably formatted report style.
    • Use of evidence and argument - you are able to explain your position by using logical argument drawing on the theory presented in the unit.
    Due date :
    10 October 2007
    Remarks ( optional - leave blank for none ) :
    Please see the MUSO site for submission instructions.
  • Assignment Task
    Title :
    Assignment 2: IT and IS in Organizations
    Description :

    IT professionals need to understand the importance of information technologies and systems in supporting organizational processes, as well as appreciate the types of information systems that suit the needs to different areas of organizational activity. This assignment aims to develop and test your ability to:

    • Analyze why different types of information systems are needed to support various organizational processes.
    • Explain issues associated with the creation and use of IT systems.
    • Identify and explain issues related to liabilities and risks of IT/IS.
    • Understand techniques used to represent information and processes in organizations.
    Weighting :
    Criteria for assessment :

    The criteria used to assess submissions are:

    • Correctness and understanding - there may be more than one "right" answer in many cases. We will look for answers that reflect understanding of the underlying principles and theories.
    • Completeness - that you have answered all parts of each question. Presentation - that you have presented your answers in a suitably formatted report style.
    • Use of evidence and argument - you are able to explain your position by using logical argument drawing on the theory presented in the unit.
    Due date :
    7 November 2007


  • Examination
    Weighting :
    Length :
    3 hours
    Type ( open/closed book ) :
    Closed book

Assignment submission

You will be advised of assignment submission processes and requirements on the BIS15 website.

Assignment coversheets

Assignment cover sheets have been forwarded from OU Support. You will also be required to complete a plagiarism declaration in MUSO.

University and Faculty policy on assessment

Due dates and extensions

The due dates for the submission of assignments are given in the previous section. Please make every effort to submit work by the due dates. 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. Students are advised to NOT assume that granting of an extension is a matter of course.

Requests for extensions must be made to the Kim Styles 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. A copy of the email or other written communication of an extension must be attached to the assignment submission.

Late assignment

Assignments received after the due date will be subject to a penalty of 5% per day. Assignments received later than one week (seven days) after the due date will not normally be accepted. In some cases, this period may be shorter if there is a need to release sample solutions.

Return dates

Students can expect assignments to be returned within two weeks of the submission date or after receipt, whichever is later.

Assessment for the unit as a whole is in accordance with the provisions of the Monash University Education Policy at

We will aim to have assignment results made available to you within two weeks after assignment receipt. A sample solution to the assignments will be released two weeks after the due date.

Plagiarism, cheating and collusion

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.

Register of counselling about plagiarism

The university requires faculties to keep a simple and confidential register to record counselling to students about plagiarism (e.g. warnings). The register is accessible to Associate Deans Teaching (or nominees) and, where requested, students concerned have access to their own details in the register. The register is to serve as a record of counselling about the nature of plagiarism, not as a record of allegations; and no provision of appeals in relation to the register is necessary or applicable.

Non-discriminatory language

The Faculty of Information Technology is committed to the use of non-discriminatory language in all forms of communication. Discriminatory language is that which refers in abusive terms to gender, race, age, sexual orientation, citizenship or nationality, ethnic or language background, physical or mental ability, or political or religious views, or which stereotypes groups in an adverse manner. This is not meant to preclude or inhibit legitimate academic debate on any issue; however, the language used in such debate should be non-discriminatory and sensitive to these matters. It is important to avoid the use of discriminatory language in your communications and written work. The most common form of discriminatory language in academic work tends to be in the area of gender inclusiveness. You are, therefore, requested to check for this and to ensure your work and communications are non-discriminatory in all respects.

Students with disabilities

Students with disabilities that may disadvantage them in assessment should seek advice from one of the following before completing assessment tasks and examinations:

Deferred assessment and special consideration

Deferred assessment (not to be confused with an extension for submission of an assignment) may be granted in cases of extenuating personal circumstances such as serious personal illness or bereavement. Special consideration in the awarding of grades is also possible in some circumstances. Information and forms for Special Consideration and deferred assessment applications are available at Contact the Faculty's Student Services staff at your campus for further information and advice.