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BIS15 Information technology in organisations - Semester 1 , 2008

Unit leader :

Kim Styles

Lecturer(s) :


  • Kim Styles


Welcome to FIT1003 IT in Organizations. This 6 point unit is core to all undergraduate degree programs in the Faculty of IT except the Bachelor of Software Engineering. 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.

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:

  • two-hour lecture and
  • two-hour tutorial (or laboratory) (requiring advance preparation)
  • a minimum of 2-3 hours of personal study per one hour of contact time in order to satisfy the reading and assignment expectations.
  • 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.


This is a common core unit for all Faculty of IT undergraduate degrees (except Bachelor of Software Engineering). Students studying degrees of other Faculties may take FIT1003 as an elective where their course rules permit.

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 my.monash 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 http://www.monash.edu.au/unit-evaluation-reports/

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 my.monash 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 http://www.adm.monash.edu.au/cheq/evaluations/monquest/profiles/index.html

Improvements to this unit

In 2008 FIT1003 is going through its next phase of review and development. A text book has been adopted replacing the many readings which were used in 2006 and 2007. The teaching team is using a research based approach to redeveloping teaching strategies.

We are continuing to improve the teaching approaches and content of the unit, so we value your inputs on what works for you and improvements you would like to see. You will have opportunities to provide this feedback in the discussion groups and in the formal evaluation at the end of the unit.

Unit staff - contact details

Unit leader

Ms Kim Styles
Senior Lecturer
Phone +61 3 990 26285
Fax +61 3 9902 6879

Lecturer(s) :

Ms Kim Styles
Senior Lecturer
Phone +61 3 990 26285
Fax +61 3 9902 6879

Contact hours : Mondays, 2-4 pm, Thursdays 10-12 am

Additional communication information

I will be using the Blackboard Learning Management System as my primary point of contact with you, and will set up options that will allow you to communicate with each other in a variety of ways. I will undertake to respond to all questions and emails within 2 working days, although I normally monitor the website daily. All unit-wide announcements will be made in the site so please check it regularly.

As well as chat rooms for formal and informal use, there will be discussions groups for General Communication, Tutorials and Exercises and for Assessment.  You are strongly encouraged to participate in the discussion groups available in the Blackboard site.

If you have questions related to the unit generally, for example the content, assessment or exercises, ask these in the relevant Blackboard discussion group so that all students have the benefit of the answer. Personal questions related to your progress or study needs should be directed to your lecturer or tutor in person or by email in the Blackboard site. 

If you are having problems

I understand that studying off-campus is difficult - I completed a degree this way myself. If you start to fall behind don't wait until an assignment is due, contact myself or Open University Support immediately so that we can help. I have many years of experience in supporting students at a distance so I understand the pressures you are facing.

I find large numbers of enrolled students just drop out - a waste of money, time and potentially damaging to your confidence. It is better to contact us to arrange to withdraw, defer, or obtain an extension if you are struggling with time commitments or other impediments.

Teaching and learning method

BIS15 provides students with a comprehensive set of weekly study guides, tutorials and sample solutions, a week or two later, to facilitate your learning. Exercises are built into the study guides and presented in the tutorials. We are planning to have recordings of the on-campus lectures, which discuss the content of the study guides in terms of a case study, made available via MULO. However, this is presently dependent on the availability of internal Monash resources.  The lectures do not present any new material. All resources are delivered in the BIS15 site in Blackboard. See my.monash.edu.au to link to the learning site.

Discussion groups and chat sessions will allow you to discuss the concepts with the lecturer and colleagues. Some of these sessions may be conducted using desktop conferencing if there is sufficient interest.

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

Off-campus distributed learning or flexible delivery

Open University students are encouraged to use the discussion groups and chat rooms in Blackboard as a virtual tutorial room. Some chat sessions will be scheduled with the lecturer to facilitate this participation.

If there is sufficient interest amongst OCL students in using the Marratech video conferencing system for group discussions this will be arranged.

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  
2 Information and Information Systems  
3 Introduction to Business Processes  
4 Information Technologies  
Mid semester break
5 Key Business Processes  
6 Information Systems Development Assignment 1 due
7 Development Alternatives  
8 Risks and Liabilities  
9 Communication Concepts  
10 Organisational Communication  
11 Professional Communication Assignment 2 due
12 Being an IT professional  
13 Revision  

Unit Resources

Prescribed text(s) and readings

Haag, Baltzan and Phillips, Business Driven Technology, 2nd edition, McGraw-Hill Irwin, 2008

ISBN: 978-0-07312368-4

Weekly readings, cases and problems are set from this text. Failure to obtain or have access to the textbook will not be grounds for special consideration. Limited numbers of copies are available for short term loan from some libraries, but you should not rely on these. Library acquisition processes do not ensure availability from the start of the semester at all locations.

Recommended text(s) and readings

Curtis, G. and Codham, D. (2005) Business Information Systems Prentice-Hall

Dwyer, J. (2005)  Communication in Business: Strategies and Skills 3rd edition, Perason Education, Australia.

Eunson, B. (2005), Communicating in the 21st Century, John Wiley & Sons, Australia

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.  

You are able to use the facilities available in the computing labs at university campuses. 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:

  • 12 Study Guides and associated tutorials published on the Unit Website in Blackboard
  • This Unit Guide outlining the administrative information for the unit
  • The BIS15 web site on Blackboard, where study resources, 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.

You are expected to purchase or have regular substantial access to the prescribed text book. You will not be granted extensions or special consideration for assessment on the grounds that you were not able to obtain a copy if the bookshop has copies for sale.

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 http://www.lib.monash.edu.au.  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 MUSO (Monash University Studies Online). Blackboard is the primary application used to deliver your unit resources. Some units will be piloted in Moodle.

You can access MUSO and Blackboard via the portal (http://my.monash.edu.au).

Click on the Study and enrolment tab, then Blackboard under the MUSO learning systems.

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

For example :

  • Blackboard 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:


If your unit is piloted in Moodle, you will see a link from your Blackboard unit to Moodle at http://moodle.med.monash.edu.au.
From the Faculty of Information Technology category, click on the link for your unit.


Unit assessment policy

The unit is assessed with two assignments representing 40% of the marks and a three hour closed book examination for 60% of the marks. To pass the unit you must:

  1. attempt both of the assignments and the examination
  2. achieve no less that 40% of the possible marks in the exam
  3. achieve no less that 40% of the possible combined marks for the assignments
  4. achieve no less than 50% of totalled marks

Result = combined assignment marks/40 + exam mark/60

If you do not satisfy any one of requirements 1 - 3 listed above the maximum mark you can receive is 44 N

Assignment tasks

  • Assignment Task

    Title : Assignment 1: Organisations, IS and Business Processes

    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 : 15%

    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 : Week 6

    Remarks ( optional - leave blank for none ) :

    The assignment will be made available on the FIT1003 site in Blackboard with detailed submission instructions. The title and due date are subject to change. If changes are made to the due date it will be to a later date rather than an earlier one.

  • 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.

    Weighting : 25%

    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 : Week 11

    Remarks ( optional - leave blank for none ) :

    The title is subject to change.


  • Examination

    Weighting : 60%

    Length : 3 hours

    Type ( open/closed book ) : Closed book

    Remarks ( optional - leave blank for none ) :

    Please check that your exam location has been correctly recorded early in the study period.

Assignment submission

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

Assignment coversheets

You should complete, sign the plagiarism declaration and attach the Faculty of IT cover sheet to all assignment submissions. The cover sheet is available in the Blackboard site for the unit.

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 unit 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.

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 http://www.policy.monash.edu/policy-bank/academic/education/assessment/

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 (http://www.infotech.monash.edu.au/about/committees-groups/facboard/policies/studrights.html) 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. Information and forms for Special Consideration and deferred assessment applications are available at http://www.monash.edu.au/exams/special-consideration.html. Contact the Faculty's Student Services staff at your campus for further information and advice.