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FIT5094 IT for management decision making - Semester 2 , 2008

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Unit leader :

Rob Meredith

Lecturer(s) :


  • Rob Meredith


Welcome to FIT5094.

 FIT5094 is the first or foundation unit in the Business Intelligence Professional Track. It is also available as an elective for IT and BusEco graduate students. The unit provides an understanding of IT systems that are developed to support executives and managers. IT-based support of managers is also a major Monash research strength.

Unit synopsis

ASCED code: 020307 Decision Support Systems

This unit provides students with an understanding of the development and use of information systems that support managers, especially their decision-making tasks. Students will learn of the nature of management work and decision theory and how this affects the development of decision support systems. A number of commonly used decision support methods and techniques will be explored. Students will be introduced to personal decision support systems, group support systems, negotiation support systems, data warehousing, executive information systems and business intelligence.

Learning outcomes

At the conclusion of FIT5094 students will: 

  • Understand the scope and application of IT for decision support;
  • Have an understanding of the nature of managerial decision-making;
  • Be familiar with the major approaches of IT-based decision support;
  • Be able to choose the appropriate decision support approach for a particular project;
  • Be able to undertake systems analysis for management support projects.
  • Workload

    This is a six-point unit that, according to University guidelines, requires you to spend 12 hours per week (a total of at least 156 hours per semester). It is anticipated that, on average, you will spend, per week:

    •    2 hours in the lecture,
    •    1 hour in a tutorial/laboratory,
    •    3 hours preparing for the tutorial/laboratory,
    •    6 hours of your own reading and assignment work.

    Unit relationships


    Before attempting this unit you must have satisfactorily completed FIT9003 Database systems design, or equivalent.


    FIT5094 is a core unit in the Business Intelligence Professional Track of the Master of Business Systems, Master of Information Management and Systems and Master of Business Information Systems.

    You may not study this unit and SYS4210, BUS5502, or IMS500 in your degree.

    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

    FIT5094 is running for the first time in 2008. It is however based strongly on the previous unit IMS5005 Decision Support Systems. Five of the 12 weeks of lectures have been significantly changed as result of student and tutor feedback, and a review of the BI track. The second assignment has been changed to include a technology application. A case study is being introduced into tutorials in 2008.

    In 2008 FIT5094 will be evaluated by online unit evaluations and Monquest teaching evaluations that will be completed in one of the lectures. 

    Unit staff - contact details

    Unit leader

    Dr Rob Meredith
    Phone +61 3 990 32396
    Fax +61 3 990 31204

    Lecturer(s) :

    Dr Rob Meredith
    Phone +61 3 990 32396
    Fax +61 3 990 31204

    Additional communication information

    The lecturer will be on the Clayton campus on Tuesdays.  All other days, he can be contacted at the Caulfield campus.

    Teaching and learning method

    The main teaching method is a weekly two-hour lecture. This is complemented by a one-hour weekly tutorial or laboratory session. Students are encouraged to form informal study groups to regularly discuss the unit materials. The main source of information for the unit is the FIT5094 Muso site.

    Tutorial allocation

    Students should register for tutorials/laboratories using Allocate+.

    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 Using IT to support executive decision making  
    2 Managerial information behaviours  
    3 Overview of decision making and normative decision theory  
    4 Behavioural decision theory 1  
    5 Behavioural decision theory 2  
    6 DSS development methods  
    7 Personal decision support systems 1  
    8 Personal decision support systems 2  
    9 Group support systems, negotiation support systems, knowledge management-based DSS  
    10 Data warehousing, executive information systems and business intelligence  
    11 DW/BI case study  
    Mid semester break
    12 Decision support strategy and governance  
    13 Review Session  

    Unit Resources

    Prescribed text(s) and readings

    There are no prescribed texts for FIT5094.

    Recommended text(s) and readings

    There is no compulsory text for FIT5094. However, the following two texts are general textbooks that cover the DSS area. They both have chapters or sections that address some sessions. Both are available from the reserve collection of the Caulfield Library. (The first edition of Marakas is still relevant.)

    •    Mallach, E.G. (2000) Decision Support and Data Warehouse Systems. Boston: McGraw Hill (ISBN 0-07-289981-6).
    •    Marakas, G.M. (2003). Decision support systems in the 21st Century (2nd ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall (ISBN 0-13-101879-5).

    A large number of articles and other reading material will be made available on the FIT5094 MUSO site.

    The Caulfield campus library has a world-class collection of books and journals on decision support related topics.

    Required software and/or hardware

    You will need access to:

    • iThink simulation software
    • Firefox or Internet Explorer browser
    • Word processor
    • Spreadsheet

    Students may use this software which is installed in the computing labs. Information about computer use for students is available from the ITS Student Resource Guide in the Monash University Handbook.

    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.

    Study resources

    Study resources we will provide for your study are:

    • Weekly detailed lecture notes outlining the learning objectives, discussion of the content, required readings and exercises;
    • Weekly tutorial or laboratory tasks and exercises with sample solutions provided one to two weeks later;
    • Assignment specifications and marking guides;
    • Access to past examination papers;
    • This Unit Guide outlining the administrative information for the unit;
    • The unit web site on MUSO, where resources outlined above will be made available.

    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. If your unit is piloted in Moodle, you will see a link from your Blackboard unit to Moodle (http://moodle.monash.edu.au) and can bookmark this link to access directly. In Moodle, from the Faculty of Information Technology category, click on the link for your unit.

    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: http://www.monash.edu.au/muso/support/students/downloadables-student.html

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

    For further contact information including operational hours, please visit: http://www.monash.edu.au/muso/support/students/contact.html

    Further information can be obtained from the MUSO support site: http://www.monash.edu.au/muso/support/index.html


    Unit assessment policy

    The unit mark will be the weighted combination of examination mark (weight 50%), assignment 1 (weight 25%) and assignment 2 (weight 25%). Where a student obtains less than 40% in either the exam or the two assignments taken together, a mark of no greater than 44-N will be recorded.

    Assignment tasks

    • Assignment Task

      Title : Assignment 1

      Description :

      The objective of this assignment is to analyse and understand a decision process and to identify ways of improving the process. Mastery of this task is essential for systems analysts working in a decision support role.

      Details are available on the FIT5094 MUSO site.

      Weighting : 25%

      Criteria for assessment :

      The marking guide is available on the FIT5094 MUSO site.

      Due date : 18 April 2008

    • Assignment Task

      Title : Assignment 2

      Description :

      The objective of this assignment is to gain a critical understanding of a software application for personal decision support. A key aspect of the assignment is an insight into the role of a systems analyst in a DSS engagement.

      Details are available on the FIT5094 MUSO site.

      Weighting : 25%

      Criteria for assessment :

      The marking guide is available on the FIT5094 MUSO site.

      Due date : 16 May 2008


    • Examination

      Weighting : 50%

      Length : 3 hours

      Type ( open/closed book ) : Closed book

    Assignment submission

    Assignments will be submitted by paper submission to your tutor during your tutorial. Do not email submissions.

    Assignment coversheets

    Coversheets are available on the FIT5094 MUSO site.

    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 by email to the Chief Examiner 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 from the Chief Examiner must be attached to the assignment submission. Note that the following reasons will not be considered in an application for an extension:
    •    Time management or excessive workload.  Assignments falling due on the same dates, or work projects where an increased workload could reasonably be anticipated are your responsibility to manage.
    •    Hardware or software failures, whether of personal or University equipment.  You have a professional responsibility to make back-up copies of all work in progress, and retain copies of submitted pieces.

    Monash University has a range of support services for students including Counselling and Language & Learning. If you are experiencing difficulties in your studies these services may be of great assistance.

    Late assignment

    Assignments received after the due date will be subject to a penalty of 5% per day, including weekends. Assignments received later than one week (seven days) after the due date will not 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.

    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.

    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.