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Associate Professor Graeme Johanson
Associate Professor
Phone: +61 3 990 32414
Fax: +61 3 990 31077

Lecturer(s) / Leader(s):


Dr Tom Denison
Fax: +61 3 990 31077

Additional communication information:

Email to

Tom Denison, Ph.D.
Caulfield School of Information Technology,
Faculty of Information Technology, Monash University.
P.O.Box 197, Caulfield East, Victoria 3145, Australia.

Room H6.44.


Welcome to FIT2055 which analyses the principles and practice of the emergent field of web content management and information architecture. It focuses on how to develop websites and intranets for all sorts of organizations so that enterprise imperatives and user needs are catered for in a systematic fashion, and the effective retrieval of information is planned well. Emphasis is placed on understanding the informational, technological, organisational and governance principles involved, and in developing practical skills to apply a range of common tools and techniques.

Unit synopsis

This unit covers principles and practice of the emergent field of web content management and information architecture (IA). It focuses on developing organisation systems for websites or intranets that are responsive to business imperatives and user needs, and that facilitate effective retrieval of information. Particular emphasis is given to developing practical skills in these areas and to applying a range of popular IA tools and techniques and software commonly used in IA projects.

Learning outcomes

At the completion of this unit students will have -
A knowledge and understanding of:
  • the principles and practice of the emergent field of web content management and information architecture;
  • the relative roles and responsibilities of information architects and other professionals in a web or intranet development project;
  • user information needs and information seeking behaviours within the web environment.
  • information retrieval principles (eg precision, recall, relevance, specificity) and their application in the web environment;
  • issues and challenges in organising information for effective retrieval on web sites and intranets;
  • organisation systems, schemes and structures for web/ intranet content management, and how these organisation systems are represented in the key components of web information architecture;
  • the application of information design and usability principles to labelling, navigation and search functions on a web site or intranet;
  • commonalities and differences in information architectures in web, intranet and extranet environments;
  • phases and processes in planning and implementing an information architecture (IA) project or program;
  • IA tools and techniques, and IA software, that are commonly used in IA projects.
Developed attitudes that enable them to appreciate:
  • the varying perspectives on information architecture of different disciplines and professional groups;
  • the range of specialist expertise amongst information architects and other professionals involved in a web site/ intranet development project, and the importance of effective communication and collaboration amongst these groups;
  • the centrality of the user in defining an information architecture for a web site or intranet and the difficulties users experience in finding relevant information on the web;
  • that business imperatives and user requirements are the key drivers of IA, but that reconciling the two may be no easy task;
  • that findability is a critical factor in determining web usability, and the role effective organisation systems play in this process;
  • that effective organisation systems tend to be largely invisible to web or intranet users.
  • their own growing confidence in their information retrieval skills.Developed skills in:
  • conducting a business requirements analysis, and a user needs analysis, in connection with developing an information architecture for a web site or intranet;
  • developing an effective information architecture for a web site or intranet, taking into consideration unique business and user information requirements, and information retrieval, information design and usability principles and guidelines;
  • constructing a taxonomy; applying facet analysis to thesaurus construction; and designing a metadata schema for a web site or intranet;
  • planning, designing, documenting, testing and evaluating labelling, navigation and search systems for a web site or intranet;
  • utilising a range of IA tools and techniques (eg blueprints, wireframes, card sorting, affinity diagrams, content maps, personas), and IA software in the process of developing the information architecture for a web site or intranet;
  • undertaking usability/findability testing of users using prototypes and a range of evaluation techniques and interpreting findings;
  • evaluating information architectures, and IA software products.

Contact hours

2 hrs lectures/wk, 2 hrs laboratories/wk


For on campus students, workload commitments are:

  • two-hour lecture and
  • two-hour tutorial (or laboratory) (requiring advance preparation)
  • a minimum of 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

Teaching and learning method

Teaching approach

Lectures, tutorial discussions, laboratory sessions, reading, preparation of weekly tutorial exercises.

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.its.monash.edu.au/

Unit Schedule

Week Date* Topic Key dates
1 01/03/10 Unit outline. Basic key terms. Differentiate from other  
2 08/03/10 Content and management. Projects and products  
3 15/03/10 Reasons for emergence of Web Content Management.  
4 22/03/10 Basic parts of Content Management. Determining when  
5 29/03/10 Effects of WCM on organizations. Planning for WCM.  
Mid semester break
6 12/04/10 Project and product management. Implementation.  
7 19/04/10 Specific WCM systems. Information-seeking needs and First assignment due
8 26/04/10 Techniques e.g., blueprints, categories, wireframes,  
9 03/05/10 Information retrieval principles. Search methods. Semantic  
10 10/05/10 Metadata. Thesauri. Taxonomies. Controlled vocabularies.  
11 17/05/10 Authoring. Labels. Impact of social networking. Content  
12 24/05/10 Evaluating WCM systems. Few standards. Second assignment due
13 31/05/10 Review and revision  

*Please note that these dates may only apply to Australian campuses of Monash University. Off-shore students need to check the dates with their unit leader.

Improvements to this unit

As can be seen from the student evaluations, which are held annually, students find this unit of great practical benefit. It is adapted to satisfy the needs of industry and technological change.

Unit Resources

Prescribed text(s) and readings


Recommended text(s) and readings

See the full reading list available at the Monash Libraries website.

Asprey, Len, and Middleton, Mike (2003), Integrative document and content management [electronic resource]: strategies for exploiting enterprise knowledge. Hershey Pa.: Idea Group Pub. [electronic resource].
ISBN:     1591400686 (ebook).
Linked resources: Full text available from IGI Global.

Boiko, Bob (2005). Content Management Bible [electronic resource]. Hoboken: John Wiley & Sons.
1172 p. ISBN: 9780764583643 (electronic bk.: Adobe Reader).
Content Management in the Information Age.

Byrne, T. The CMS Report. CMS Watch, www.cmswatch.com.
CMS Watch evaluates content-oriented technologies, publishing comparative reviews of leading solutions. It publishes technology reports that provide independent analysis and practical advice regarding web content management, enterprise content management, enterprise portals, web analytics, and enterprise search solutions.

Mercer, David (2006). Drupal: creating blogs, forums, portals, and community websites: how to set up, configure, and customize this powerful PHP/MySQL-based open source CMS. Birmingham, UK: Packt Publishing

Rockley, A. et al. (2002). Managing enterprise content: a unified content strategy. Indianapolis, New Riders.

Rosenfeldt, L and Morville, P. (2007). Information architecture and the worldwide web. Sebastapol, CA, O’Reilly and Associates.

VanDyk, John K. and Matt Westgate (2007). Pro Drupal development. Berkeley, Calif., Apress.

White, Martin (2005). The content management handbook. London: Facet Publishing.

Required software and/or hardware

Personal connection to the Internet.

Drupal in the Monash laboratories. 

Joomla in the Monash laboratories.

Equipment and consumables required or provided

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 4 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:

  • 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;
  • A sample examination;
  • Regular online and offline discussion groups;
  • This Unit Guide outlining the administrative information for the unit;
  • The unit web site on MUSO, where resources outlined above will be made available;
  • MULO -- audio of lecture content;
  • Guest expert speakers.



Examination (3 hours): 50%; In-semester assessment: 50%

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 50% then a mark of no greater than 49-N will be recorded for the unit.

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 one: Usability
    There are a range of definitions – see: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Usability
    -- which deal with how a user reacts to a website design aesthetically, emotionally, physically, and cognitively. Revisiting a website may be a different experience for a user from the first encounter with it. A simple encompassing definition is as follows:

    Usability refers to how straightforwardly and effectively a functional web design accommodates a user’s operational needs.

    For too long considerations regarding functionality and findability had been ignored in favour of flashy constructions which neglected the primary purpose of websites as knowledge-building, commerce-building, and community-building tools. The concept of usability grew out of a commitment by website developers and business operators to place the needs of ‘end-users’ at centre-stage, in order to provide site visitors and customers with adequate navigation support to fulfil service and business goals.
    Due date:
    20 April 2010
    Make sure that your essay covers these four key points:

    1.Choose a definition of ‘usability’ which you regard as best, and describe why you chose it;
    2.Discuss whether Web Content Management usability relates to the disposition of labelled elements which facilitates orientation in a web environment;
    3.Discuss the different usability perspectives of users and designers which need to be taken into account in Web Content Management;
    4.Illustrate your answers by providing examples taken from live sites on the web.

    Your essay should include a minimum of 4 good-quality sources about the topic. Each source must be at least 10 pages or 4,000 words long, of scholarly quality, i.e., serious text aimed at researchers or in-depth study into the topic. Cite each source in full using the FIT Style Guide in your Bibliography. These sources can be taken from this handout, or you can find others yourself.
  • Assignment task 2
    Assignment two: Website evaluation and design using Drupal and Jumla
    To be advised.
    Due date:
    25 May 2010


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

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

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 10% of total assignment marks per day (including weekends).

Total marks available for the assignment = 100 marks.
Marks received for the assignment = 70 marks.
Marks deducted for 2 days late submission (20% of 100) = 20 marks.
Final mark received for assignment = 50 marks.  

After one week, the assignment will score zero.

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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