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Professor David Arnott
Phone: +61 3 990 32693
Fax: +61 3 990 31077

Lecturer(s) / Leader(s):


Professor David Arnott
Phone: +61 3 990 32693
Fax: +61 3 990 31077

Additional communication information:

The lecturer is located on the Caulfield Campus. Appointments for Wednesday afternoons and Thursday mornings can be made at david.arnott@infotech.monash.edu.au.


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

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 completion of this unit 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.

Contact hours

2 hrs lectures/wk, 2 hrs laboratories/wk


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

Unit relationships


One of FIT9003, IMS9001, IMS9003



Teaching and learning method

Teaching approach

The main teaching method is a weekly two-hour lecture. This is complemented by a two-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.

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 Using IT to support executive decision making 1 March 2010
2 08/03/10 Managerial information behaviours 8 March 2010
3 15/03/10 Overview of decision making and normative decision theory 15 March 2010
4 22/03/10 Behavioural decision theory 1 22 March 2010
5 29/03/10 Behavioural decision theory 2 29 March 2010
Mid semester break
6 12/04/10 DSS development methods 12 April 2010
7 19/04/10 Personal decision support systems 1 19 April 2010
8 26/04/10 Personal decision support systems 2 26 April 2010
9 03/05/10 Group support systems, negotiation support systems, knowledge management-based DSS 3 May 2010
10 10/05/10 Data warehousing 10 May 2010
11 17/05/10 Business intelligence 17 may 2010
12 24/05/10 Decision support strategy and governance 24 May 2010
13 31/05/10 Review Session 31 May 2010

*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

The main change for 2010 is to treat tutorials and laboratories quite separately. Both types of tuition will be in two-hour sessions. Laboratories will be conducted in computer labs and discussion-based tutorials will be conducted in flat floor teaching rooms.

The lecture content has been updated to reflect current industry practice. A number of the tutorials have also been changed.

In 2010 FIT5094 will be evaluated by online unit evaluations and a short web-based survey. 

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;
  • 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.



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.

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 49-N will be recorded.

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
    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.
    Due date:
    4pm, Monday 12 April 2010
  • Assignment task 2
    Assignment 2
    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.
    Due date:
    4pm, Wednesday 19 May 2010
    The assessment of this assignment will take place in a simulated work environment. Students are required to attend a 15 minute session allocated to them in the period Thursday 20 May to Friday 28 May.


  • 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

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.


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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