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Monash University

FIT1020 Fundamentals of information systems - Semester 2, 2009

Chief Examiner:

Mr Martin Atchison
Senior Lecturer
Phone: +61 3 990 31912

Contact hours: Wednesday 10-1, Thursday 12-2, otherwise by appointment

Lecturer(s) / Leader(s):


Mr Martin Atchison
Senior Lecturer
Phone: +61 3 990 31912


Mr Boon Yeap


FIT1020 is the first unit in the Information Systems major in the BITS at Caulfield campus.  It can also be taken by students in other majors or other programs as a 6 point elective unit which explains introductory concepts in Information Systems.  The unit introduces the basic elements and concepts of IS from the five main perspectives from which the discipline has developed.  It discusses the key elements of each perspective and compares and contrasts the merits of each perspective and its implications for practitioners of IS in industry 

Unit synopsis

This unit will examine the nature of the information systems discipline and key areas of professional interest and expertise. Introduction of the main topic areas in the study of IS from both a theoretical and practical perspective. Establishment of a framework within which these topics can be addressed in later units of an IS major.

Learning outcomes

On completion of this unit students will have knowledge and understanding of:
  1. the nature of information and organisational information needs;
  2. the key concepts of systems theory, system modelling and the operation of information systems;
  3. the key concepts in information systems development and the management of the systems development process;
  4. the evolution of the Information Systems discipline, its conceptual foundations and its main specialist areas of study;
  5. the way in which the specialist topics within the Information Systems discipline are reflected in the roles and responsibilities of an information systems professional in the workplace.

Upon successful completion of this unit, students will:
  1. Recognise the key features of the Information Systems discipline and appreciate the importance of its role in contributing to the development and implementation of solutions for organisational information needs and problems;
  2. Appreciate the range and diversity of the fields of study and areas of professional expertise encompassed within the IS discipline;
  3. Recognise the key professional and ethical responsibilities of IS practitioners.

Upon successful completion of this unit, students will be able to:
  1. identify and describe the key information systems issues surrounding organisational information needs and problems;
  2. apply an Information Systems perspective to the solution of an organisational information problem;
  3. use basic analytical and design techniques to describe an organisational information need or problem.

Upon successful completion of this unit, students will:
  1. Recognise the importance of inter-personal skills and team work in the work of an Information Systems professional;
  2. Understand the relationship of Information Systems professionals to other stakeholders involved in dealing with information issues in organisations.

Contact hours

4 x contact hrs/week (comprising 2 hrs lecture, 2 hrs studio or tutorial work).


For on campus students, workload commitments are:

  • two-hour lecture and
  • two-hour tutorial (requiring advance preparation)
  • a minimum of 1-2 hours of personal study per week for each one hour of contact time in order to satisfy the reading and assignment expectations.

Unit relationships


CSE1204, IMS1001, IMS1501, IMS1805, MMS1403, BUS1021, GCO1813, GCO2601, GCO2851


FIT1020 is a core unit in the Information Systems major of the BITS.

You may not study this unit and CSE1204, IMS1001, IMS1501, IMS1805, MMS1403, BUS1021, GCO1813, GCO2601, GCO2851 in your degree.

Teaching and learning method

Both lectures and tutorials will aim to explain theoretical concepts via formal instruction, backed up by heavy use of practical examples to illustrate key points.  Students will be expected to take an active role in discussions and presentation of key concepts during both lectures and tutorials.  There will be significant use made of tutorial and assignment work to highlight issues during lectures.

Timetable information

For information on timetabling for on-campus classes please refer to MUTTS, http://mutts.monash.edu.au/MUTTS/

Tutorial allocation

On-campus students should register for tutorials/laboratories using the Allocate+ system: http://allocate.cc.monash.edu.au/

Unit Schedule

Week Topic Key dates
1 Introduction to the unit  
2 Basic concepts in IS  
3 Organizational foundations of IS  
4 Organizational foundations of IS (cont)  
5 Information foundations of IS Assignment 1 reports due
6 Information foundations of IS (cont)  
7 Systems foundations of IS Unit test this week
8 Systems foundations of IS (cont)  
9 Technological foundations of IS  
10 Technological foundations of IS (cont)  
Mid semester break
11 Systems development foundations of IS Assignment 2 reports due
12 Systems development foundations of IS (cont)  
13 Review  

Unit Resources

Prescribed text(s) and readings

There is no essential prescribed textbook for the unit.   Many good generalist textbook introductions to IS are available, but the unit will not be following any one in particular, and no one text book will cover all the topics examined in the unit.  Rather, students will be directed to specific readings relating to each topic covered. 

Students who wish to buy a textbook should try the following as a useful generalist text:
Bentley L & Whitten J (2007) Systems Analysis and Design for the Global Enterprise, 7th ed, McGraw-Hill

Recommended text(s) and readings

Reference lists will be provided for specific topics on the Unit web site throughout the semester 

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.

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;
  • Readings on key topics covered in the unit;
  • Case study examples realted to key topics;  
  • Assignment specifications and sample solutions;
  • A sample examination and suggested solution
  • This Unit Guide outlining the administrative information for the unit;
  • The unit web site on MUSO, where resources outlined above will be made available.



Exam: 60%
Practical assignment work: 40%
The unit may also include barrier tests or formative tests in addition to the final exam and assignments.

Faculty assessment policy

To pass a unit which includes an examination as part of the assessment a student must obtain:

  • 40% or more in the unit's examination, and
  • 40% or more in the unit's total non-examination assessment, 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 total assessment, and the total mark for the unit is greater than 44% then a mark of no greater than 44-N will be recorded for the unit.

The unit is assessed with assignments, unit test and a three hour closed book examination. To pass the unit you must:

  • attempt the assignments, unit test and the examination
  • achieve no less that 40% of the possible marks in the exam and assignment work 
  • achieve no less than 50% of possible marks

Assignment tasks

Assignment coversheets

Assignment coversheets are available via "Student Forms" on the Faculty website: http://www.infotech.monash.edu.au/resources/student/forms/
You MUST submit a completed coversheet with all assignments, ensuring that the plagiarism declaration section is signed.

Assignment submission and return procedures, and assessment criteria will be specified with each assignment.

  • Assignment task 1
    Assignment 1
    This assignment requires you to analyse a case study of an organization's development and use of an information system using the five perspectives of IS as a framework.  You will prepare a wriiten report and also make a verbal presentation to the class about your organization and its system.
    Due date:
    Written reports due in week 5; presentations due in weeks 5 & 6 of semester
  • Assignment task 2
    Assignment 2
    This assignment requires you to carry out a detailed analysis of issues related to one of the five perspectives of Information Systems discussed in class.  You will prepare a written report and also make a presentation to your tutorial class.
    Due date:
    Written report due in week 11; presentations at dates to be set during the semester


  • Examination 1

    Weighting: 50%
    Length: 3 hours
    Type (open/closed book): Closed book

  • Examination 2

    Weighting: 10%
    Length: 1 hour
    Type (open/closed book): Closed book

    This is a unit test which will be conducted during the tutorial class of week 7 of semester 

See Appendix for End of semester special consideration / deferred exams process.

Due dates and extensions

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 not regarded as appropriate reasons for granting extensions. Students are advised to NOT assume that granting of an extension is a matter of course.

Students requesting an extension for any assessment during semester (eg. Assignments, tests or presentations) are required to submit a Special Consideration application form (in-semester exam/assessment task), along with original copies of supporting documentation, directly to their lecturer within two working days before the assessment submission deadline. Lecturers will provide specific outcomes directly to students via email within 2 working days. The lecturer reserves the right to refuse late applications.

A copy of the email or other written communication of an extension must be attached to the assignment submission.

Refer to the Faculty Special consideration webpage or further details and to access application forms: http://www.infotech.monash.edu.au/resources/student/equity/special-consideration.html

Late assignment

Assignments received after the due date will normally be subject to a penalty of 5% per day.  This penalty may be adjusted according to circumstances at the discretion of the unit leader.

Return dates

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


Please visit the following URL: http://www.infotech.monash.edu.au/units/appendix.html for further information about:

  • Continuous improvement
  • Unit evaluations
  • Communication, participation and feedback
  • Library access
  • Monash University Studies Online (MUSO)
  • Plagiarism, cheating and collusion
  • Register of counselling about plagiarism
  • Non-discriminatory language
  • Students with disability
  • End of semester special consideration / deferred exams
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