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Learning Objectives

At the completion of this unit students will:

  • understand the evolution of systems development methodologies;
  • understand the tools and techniques that are used in the development of information systems;
  • be able to select appropriate tools and/or techniques for the development of information systems;
  • understand the strategies that are used to improve productivity and quality during systems development;
  • understand the organisational context within which systems development takes place;
  • be able to evaluate and critique different system development methodologies.

Graduate Attributes

Monash prepares its graduates to be:
  1. responsible and effective global citizens who:
    1. engage in an internationalised world
    2. exhibit cross-cultural competence
    3. demonstrate ethical values
  2. critical and creative scholars who:
    1. produce innovative solutions to problems
    2. apply research skills to a range of challenges
    3. communicate perceptively and effectively

    Assessment Summary

    Examination (2 hours): 40%; In-semester assessment: 60%

    Assessment Task Value Due Date
    Critical review plus presentation of findings 20% Submission due Week 6. Presentation of findings due in weeks 6 and 7 tutorials.
    A Case Study report and presentation 25% Submission due Week 11. Presentations due in weeks 11 and 12 tutorials
    Participation Assessment - Tutorial - Critical reviews of journal articles. 15% Throughout semester
    Examination 1 40% To be advised

    Teaching Approach

    Lecture and tutorials or problem classes
    Teaching of the unit will comprise of lecture presentations, tutorial discussions and practical
    assignments. These sessions will raise significant issues related to weekly topics and provide students with the knowledge of fundamental theories and concepts. The issues will be critically examined through discussions based on reading materials and case studies. Refernece to reading materials will be posted on the Unit website in advance of the scheduled discussion. It is expected that students will have prepared for the session by reading the set material


    Our feedback to You

    Types of feedback you can expect to receive in this unit are:
    • Informal feedback on progress in labs/tutes
    • Graded assignments with comments

    Your feedback to Us

    Monash is committed to excellence in education and regularly seeks feedback from students, employers and staff. One of the key formal ways students have to provide feedback is through SETU, Student Evaluation of Teacher and Unit. The University's student evaluation policy requires that every unit is evaluated each year. Students are strongly encouraged to complete the surveys. The feedback is anonymous and provides the Faculty with evidence of aspects that students are satisfied and areas for improvement.

    For more information on Monash's educational strategy, and on student evaluations, see:

    Previous Student Evaluations of this unit

    If you wish to view how previous students rated this unit, please go to

    Required Resources

    Students  must use the online facilities available through the unit MUSO website (Moodle). Information regarding references, schedules, asessment tasks and so on will be available there. Students will also be expected  to access and use the discussion forums.

    Students are required to word process their assignments for submission. Handwritten assignments will not be accepted.

    Unit Schedule

    Week Date* Activities Assessment
    0 21/02/11   No formal assessment or activities are undertaken in week 0.
    1 28/02/11 Introduction, Overview of systems development concepts -tradtional SDLC; evolution of system development approaches Assignment 1, Critical Review handed out. References for papers 1-4 for tutorial review handed out.
    2 07/03/11 Guest Lecture; Learning Skills Unit, Monash Library - Writing Critical Reviews and Presentation Skills  
    3 14/03/11 Philosophical perspectives. (paradigms, ontology, epistemology). Frameworks for understanding, comparing, selecting and adopting System Development practices/ methodologies Review of first paper in tutorial.
    4 21/03/11 People/organisational themes in IS development approaches/practices - organisational cultures, stakeholders, communities of interest Review of second paper in tutorial.
    5 28/03/11 Structured systems analysis and design and ER modelling practices; ISD methodologies SSADM, I.E. Objected-oriented development practices; ISD methodologies, RUP OOA Review of third paper in tutorial.
    6 04/04/11 Soft approaches/practices - ISD methodologies - SSM Assignment 1:Critical review due. Presentation of Assignment 1 findings.
    7 11/04/11 Soft approaches/practices - ISD methodologies - SSM review; Effective Technical Human Implementation of Computer Systems (ETHICS) Presentation of Assignment 1 findings. Assignment 2 (Case Study) handed out
    8 18/04/11 Participative development approaches/practices - JAD; Prototyping; RAD - JMRAD, DSDM Review of fourth paper in tutorial. References for papers 5 &6 for review handed out.
    Mid semester break
    9 02/05/11 Participative development approaches/practices - Agile methods -SCRUM . Visiting industry expert. Review of fifth paper in tutorial.
    10 09/05/11 External development practices - application packages, out sourcing, off shoring. Visiting industry expert. Review of sixth paper in tutorial.
    11 16/05/11 Other delivery methods and issues: web development, software as a service; reusable frameworks, cloud computing, inter organisational systems. Visiting industry expert. Assignment 2: Case Study report due ...................................................... Case Study Presentation
    12 23/05/11 Summary and Review Case Study Presentation
      30/05/11 SWOT VAC No formal assessment is undertaken in SWOT VAC

    *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.

    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

    Assessment Tasks


    It is expected that you will attend at least 70% of the lectures and attendance will be taken accordingly. It is also expected that all students attend lectures given by the industry experts.

    Please also note that you wil need to attend all the student presentations, as outlined in the indiviual assesment descriptions below, and attend four out of the six review presentations in tutorials.

    • Assessment task 1
      Critical review plus presentation of findings
      This will be an individual assignment. It will be a critical review of a published journal article that explores aspects of Information Systems Development (ISD) methodologies or approaches. Specific tasks and marking criteria will be distributed at the appropriate time during the semester. Presentations will be held in weeks 6 and 7. The presentation given earlier by the Language and Learning unit from the library will assist with skills needed to carry out such a critcal evaluation.
      Criteria for assessment:

      This assignment will be assessed on:

      • Originality and clarity of the argument and its development
      • Ability to synthesise and reflect on relevant issues in ISD and the depth and breadth of those reflections
      • Use of current  and relevant literature
      • Layout, structure, spelling, etc. and adherence to style guides including  to citation and reference standards

      The presentation of the findings is a hurdle requirement and will be completed to inform other students of the work carried out.

      Due date:
      Submission due Week 6. Presentation of findings due in weeks 6 and 7 tutorials.
      Please note that the presentations are a hurdle requirement and you must attend all presentations in weeks 6 and 7 tutorials.
    • Assessment task 2
      A Case Study report and presentation
      The assignment will be a case study, using an appropriate methodology, to evaluate a real world situation. This will be a group assignment and will involve reports and a presentation. Specific tasks and marking criteria will be distributed at the appropriate time during the semester. Presentations will be held in weeks 11 and 12 tutorials.
      Criteria for assessment:

      The submission and presentation will be assessed on completeness of the assessment task and the format of both the written presentation and the oral presentation of the task findings. As group activity, assessment will include peer reviews and interviews in order to assess different contributions of group members, both quantitative and qualitative. Assistance and practical work will be given during the preceding tutorials in order to assist team building and team communication. The presentation given earlier by the Language and Learning unit from the library will assist with the formal presenation part of this assignment.

      Due date:
      Submission due Week 11. Presentations due in weeks 11 and 12 tutorials
      Please note that the presentations are a hurdle requirement and you must attend  all presentations in week 11 and week 12 tutorials.
    • Assessment task 3
      Participation Assessment - Tutorial - Critical reviews of journal articles.
      Individual reviews and commentaries on journal papers presented in tutorials. Assessment will be based on both tutor observations and peer assessment. This assignment will encourage you to demonstrate your understanding and knowledge of ISD practice by engaging with and reflecting on the relevant ISD literature and drawing meaningful conclusions from your reflections.
      Criteria for assessment:

      You are expected to have read the paper specified for that tutorial and prepare some notes that summarise your understanding of the given paper and identify questions and issues that, in your opinion, the paper raises related to ISD methodologies and/or practice and be prepared to discuss this in a review group.

      The assessment for this item is based on the peer evaluation and tutor observation of your performance in the review tutorials, including preparation, participation and contribution, the ability to allow and encourage others to contribute, the ability to share your understanding of ISD with other students and the ability to use the university library resources

      Due date:
      Throughout semester
      Review tutorials will be in weeks 3,4,5,8,9 and 10. The assessment will be made from the top 4 marks, out of the possible 6 review assessments, during the semester. It is mandatory to attend 4 of these 6 review tutorials.  However, attending all presentations will assist in raising your assessment grade. Tutors may moderate this assessment after observing the groups in action.


    • Examination 1
      2 hours
      Type (open/closed book):
      Closed book
      Electronic devices allowed in the exam:

    Assignment submission

    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.

    Extensions and penalties

    Returning assignments


    Monash has educational policies, procedures and guidelines, which are designed to ensure that staff and students are aware of the University's academic standards, and to provide advice on how they might uphold them. You can find Monash's Education Policies at:

    Key educational policies include:

    Student services

    The University provides many different kinds of support services for you. Contact your tutor if you need advice and see the range of services available at www.monash.edu.au/students The Monash University Library provides a range of services and resources that enable you to save time and be more effective in your learning and research. Go to http://www.lib.monash.edu.au or the library tab in my.monash portal for more information. Students who have a disability or medical condition are welcome to contact the Disability Liaison Unit to discuss academic support services. Disability Liaison Officers (DLOs) visit all Victorian campuses on a regular basis

    There is no prescribed text for this unit but it is recommended that you refer to:
    Avison, D.E. & Fitzgerald, G. (2006). Information Systems Development: Methodologies, Techniques and Tools (4th edn). London: McGraw-Hill.

    Additional relevant readings and references will be provided on the unit MUSO website during the semester.

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