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FIT1021 Information use and management - Semester 1, 2009

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Unit leader :

Steven Wright

Lecturer(s) :


  • Steven Wright

Tutors(s) :


  • Steve Wright
  • Joey Chung


Welcome to FIT1021 Information use and management for semester 1, 2008. This 6 point unit is core to the Information Management (IM) major of the BITS degree in the Faculty of IT, and an elective for other majors in that degree. The unit has been designed to provide you with an understanding of how people seek information in their daily lives, as well as the nature of some of the common documentary forms we encounter when using information.

Unit synopsis

Through a critical examination of documentary forms and information seeking behaviour, this unit explores fundamental concepts of information in the context of identifying stakeholder needs and expectations at individual, collective, organisational and societal levels. It introduces students to the way information is managed to meet user needs and the role of information and communications technologies (ICT) in IM.

Topics under the themes information concepts, contexts, tools and technologies, and information issues include:

What is information? What role does it play in society? Basics of information management How do we manage information? Identifying, analysing and responding to user needs Layers of information use Using ICTs to create, represent, store, access, retrieve and use information The organisational and social contexts in which information is managed and used

Learning outcomes

At the completion of this unit students will have a theoretical and conceptual understanding of:

C1. fundamental concepts of information, and its use by individuals, organisations and societies

C2. information creation, representation, storage, access, retrieval, and use

C3. the impact of organisational and social contexts upon information needs and uses

C4. basic ICTs and IM tools developed to manage information and meet user needs

C5. the information-seeking behaviour of users

C6. the range of information sources

C7. the forms that information can take

C8. human computer interfaces to information

At the completion of this unit students will have developed attitudes that enable them to:

A1. Be aware of the role and responsibilities of information professionals

A2. Be aware of the role of ICTs and IM in human activity

At the completion of this unit students will have the skills to:

P1. Evaluate information and its sources critically

P2. Identify particular information needs

P3. Evaluate ICTs and IM tools in terms of meeting user needs

P4. Use basic ICTs and IM tools to create, represent, store, access, retrieve and use information

At the completion of this unit students will have developed the teamwork skills needed to:

S1. Be able to work as part of a team capable of managing information in a range of social environments


For on campus students, workload commitments are:

* two-hour lecture and
* two-hour laboratory/tutorial (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.


FIT1021 is a core unit in the Information Management major of the BITS, and an elective for other majors in that degree.

There are no prerequisites for this unit.

You may not study this unit and IMS1102, IMS1603 in your degree.

Continuous improvement

Monash is committed to ‘Excellence in education’ (Monash Directions 2025 - http://www.monash.edu.au/about/monash-directions/directions.html) 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. One of the key formal ways students have to provide feedback is through Unit Evaluation Surveys. The University’s Unit Evaluation policy (http://www.policy.monash.edu/policy-bank/academic/education/quality/unit-evaluation-policy.html) requires that every unit offered is 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.

Faculties have the option of administering the Unit Evaluation survey online through the my.monash portal or in class. Lecturers will inform students of the method being used for this unit towards the end of the semester.

Student Evaluations

If you wish to view how previous students rated this unit, please go to http://www.monash.edu.au/unit-evaluation-reports/

Improvements to this unit

The section on classification has been further revised.

Unit staff - contact details

Unit leader

Dr Steve Wright
Senior Lecturer
Phone +61 3 990 32994

Lecturer(s) :

Dr Steve Wright
Senior Lecturer
Phone +61 3 990 32994

Tutor(s) :

Miss Pui Chung
Dr Steve Wright
Senior Lecturer
Phone +61 3 990 32994

Teaching and learning method

Emphasis in lectures will be given to providing examples of key concepts in the use and management of information, and discussing some of the debates that these ideas provoke.

Emphasis in laboratories/tutorials will be given to exploring how information is sought, organised and used.

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 and overview  
2 Why information management matters  
3 What are documents?  
4 The documentary web  
5 Documentary form and analysis  
6 Documentary form and ICT Assignment 1 due
Mid semester break
7 User needs and behaviour  
8 Matching documents to user needs  
9 Promotional documents/Assignment 2  
10 Classifying information  
11 Document management and records  
12 Information management issues Assignment 2 due
13 Revision  

Unit Resources

Prescribed text(s) and readings

None. No textbook is required for this unit.

Recommended text(s) and readings

M. Buckland (1991b) 'Information as Thing', Journal of the American Society of Information Science 42(5), June, http://www.sims.berkeley.edu/~buckland/thing.html, accessed 8 March 2005.

E. Grassian (2000) 'Thinking Critically about World Wide Web Resources', http://www.library.ucla.edu/libraries/college/help/critical/, accessed 5 March 2005.

D. Blair (1984) The Management of Information: Basic Distinctions. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan, Business School. http://www.hti.umich.edu/cgi/t/text/ accessed 7 March 2005.

M. Castells (2000) 'Introduction to the information age', in H. McKay & T. Sullivan (eds.) Media reader: continuity and transformation. London: Sage, http://images.lib.monash.edu.au/com4421/04118199.pdf, accessed 22 March 2005.

R. Hartland, S. McKemmish & F. Upward (2005) 'Documents', in S. McKemmish et al. (eds.) Archives: Recordkeeping in Society. Wagga Wagga: Centre for Information Studies, Charles Sturt University, http://images.lib.monash.edu.au/ims1603/04119312.pdf, accessed 12 April 2005.

M. McAdams (1994) 'Driving a Newspaper on the Data Highway', http://www.well.com/user/mmcadams/online.newspapers.html, accessed 25 March 2004.

D. Nichols & M. Twidale (2003) 'The Usability of Open Source Software', First Monday 8(1), http://www.firstmonday.dk/ issues/issue8_1/nichols/.

J. Nielsen (1997) 'How Users Read on the Web', http://www.useit.com/alertbox/9710a.html, accessed 24 December 2002.

S. Toub (2000) Evaluating Information Architecture, http://argus- acia.com/white_papers/evaluating_ia.html, accessed 23 April 2004.

E. Hunter (2000) 'Do we still need classification?', in R. Marcella & A. Maitby (eds.) The Future of Classification. Aldershot: Gower.

The Electronic Publishing Initiative at Columbia (EPIC) 'Online Survey of College Students: Executive Summary', http://www.epic.columbia.edu/eval/find09/find09.html, accessed 16 May 2005.

M. Taylor & E. Moynihan (2002). 'Analysing IT Ethics', Systems Research and Behavioral Science 19.

The following journals will be useful throughout the unit; other relevant online journals may be found at ‘Information Technology electronic journals’, Monash University Library, http://www.lib.monash.edu.au/ejournals/infotech/index.html

Access to electronic versions is available via the Monash Voyager catalogue http://library.monash.edu.au/ .

Hard copies of most of these journals may also be found in the Caulfield library (CA).

Information, communication & society (CA)

Information Management Journal (CA)

Information Today

Library philosophy and practice

Records Management Quarterly (CA)

Students are also expected to familiarise themselves with the materialson information seeking available at the Monash Library ‘VirtualLibrarian’ web site http://www.lib.monash.edu.au/vl/

Required software and/or hardware

Lab work will utilise a range of installed software.

Home equipment requirements:

  • Microsoft Word or similar word processing program
  • Firefox or similar browser

Equipment and consumables required or provided

Students 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 10 hours per week for use of a computer, including time for newsgroups/discussion groups.

Study resources

Study resources we will provide for your study are:

provided at the unit website, or through lab/tutorial sessions. These include lecture notes and tutorial/lab exercises.

To access the unit website, log into MUSO - http://muso.monash.edu.au

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.

The Educational Library and Media Resources (LMR) is also a very resourceful place to visit at http://www.education.monash.edu.au/library/

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

To pass this unit a student must obtain:

  • 40% or more in the unit's examination and
  • 40% or more in the unit's non-examination assessment (assignments 1 and 2) and
  • an overall unit mark of 50% or more 

If a student does not achieve 40% or more in the unit examination or the unit non-examination assessment then a mark of no greater than 44-N will be recorded for the unit.

Assignment tasks

  • Assignment Task

    Title : Assignment 1 - The documentary web

    Description :

    Very few documents exist in isolation. They might depend on other documents for their content, or to provide suitable context, or they might themselves cause or allow other documents to be created. This assignment requires you to examine critically the document provided, as well as the documentary evidence advanced in a number of associated documents.

    Weighting : 15%

    Criteria for assessment :

    Specific tasks and marking criteria will be distributed at the appropriate time during the semester.

    Due date : beginning of week 6

  • Assignment Task

    Title : Assignment 2 - Matching documents to user needs

    Description :

    Working in small groups allocated by tutors, students are required to compile and present a list of relevant resources that can used as part of a resource kit. The aim of the resource kit is to introduce other undergraduate students to a particular topic area of general interest and relevance. The topic area in question will be selected by students in consultation with their tutor.

    Weighting : 35%

    Criteria for assessment :

    Specific tasks and marking criteria will be distributed at the appropriate time during the semester.

    Due date : beginning of week 11


  • Examination 1

    Weighting : 50%

    Length : 3 hours

    Type ( open/closed book ) : Closed book

Assignment submission

Assignments will be submitted by paper to your tutor's pigeon hole in Building H, with the appropriate cover sheet correctly filled out, signed and attached.

Assignment coversheets

can be found at http://infotech.monash.edu.au/resources/student/assignments/

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 your campus 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

If you believe that your assignment will be delayed because of circumstances beyond your control such as illness, you should apply for an extension prior to the due date. All applications for extensions must be made in writing to your lecturer. Medical certificates or other supporting documentation will be required.

Late assignments submitted without an approved extension may be accepted (up to one week late) at the discretion of your lecturer, but will be penalised at the rate of 5% of total assignment marks per day (including weekends). Example:
Total marks available for the assignment = 100 marks
Marks received for the assignment = 70 marks
Marks deducted for 2 days late submission (10% of 100) = 10 marks
Final mark received for assignment = 60 marks

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.