This course is designed to provide a theoretical and practical understanding of how information is processed and managed in a complex data driven world. Learners develop a broad understanding of project management and related product development tools as well as knowledge of the wider information systems context: social, economic and legal.
Section 1: Describing Information Systems
Information systems consist of components that interact to transform data into information. There are four key components:
- equipment (software and hardware)
Learning about specialised digital systems and how the components interact within the system and their environment includes developing an understanding and knowledge about:
- data – as the underlying component of all information systems. Issues such as data quality and cleansing, data integrity, security, data standards and ways of visualising data will be included
- equipment – this includes any of the digital technologies such as hardware, infrastructure or the variety of software/applications that may be used in the development or implementation of an information system
- people – there are a range of people identified as stakeholders who may be involved in an information system. Stakeholders may include: end-users; developers; managers; customers; and clients.
- procedures – include those utilised by computer equipment and/or by people working with or using the information system.
Section 2: Project Management
Project Management has applications in many careers beyond ICT, so the skills and knowledge acquired will prove useful to learners in a wide range of contexts.
The effective use of project management techniques and tools enable learners to follow a Project Lifecycle (PLC) which includes the four phases:
- Project Initiation – this phase includes a business case or project proposal, in which the reasons for undertaking the project are presented. The feasibility of the project is examined, and benefits, costs, risks, key stakeholders and issues are identified.
- Planning (or Setting Up) – this phase identifies the project manager and team, sets up planning and documentation activities and organises the resources required to produce the outputs of the project.
- Execution (or Managing) – this phase is where the project team actually produces the project outputs. It includes ongoing management of the stakeholders, risks, quality, resources and issues, and control of the actual work.
- Closure (or Finalisation) – this phase is where the completed project outputs are handed over to the client. This includes technical manual and end user documentation. Closure also includes showing that costs have been paid, resources re-allocated and the project team disbanded. A closure report which includes a review of the process formally closes the project.
The PLC focuses on all the activities of a project, not the just the specifics of the information system product(s). In this section of the course learners will develop an understanding of the PLC and corresponding relevant project management terms and concepts such as:
- stakeholder understanding
- project feasibilities
- issue management
- project risks/limitations
- project resourcing.
Learners will also be exposed to organisational tools such as: Gantt Charts; Critical Path Analysis Diagrams; Pert Charts; and Work Breakdown Structures.
The Tasmanian Government Project Management Framework http://www.egovernment.tas.gov.au/project_management is used as the reference model for project management, though learners need to be aware that this is one of many variants. The Framework provides numerous documents and resources under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0) licence.
There is no requirement that learners use a specific Project Management software tool, but tracking of projects should make use of tools identified by the learner.
Section 3: Systems Development Lifecycle (SDLC)
The System Development Lifecycle (SDLC) focuses on realising the product(s) requirement and not the overall activities of the project.
The development of the product(s) in an information system requires an analysis of both the current situation and future needs. Design and development of a suitable and agreed system is followed by testing, documenting and evaluation of the solution. During this process appropriate modification and refinement is made.
The four stages of the SDLC used in this course are:
- Analysis – begins with an investigative process. Who will use the system? How will they use the system, and for what purpose? What data will be used by the system? What data will the system generate as outputs? What constraints apply? What can be included, and what should not?
- Design – based on the Analysis stage, system and software design is considered. This may include considering hardware and system requirements and overall system architecture. The evaluation criteria are also developed.
- Development – configuration, coding, validation, testing and documentation are undertaken.
- Evaluation – establishes how well the system solves the problem or meets the needs identified in the Analysis stage.
Section 4: Social, Ethical and Legal Issues of Information Systems
In this section of the course, learners develop an understanding of the social, ethical and legal implications relating to information systems, particularly in the Australian context. Knowledge gained will aid learners to critically analyse case study scenarios and develop an understanding of boundaries when planning and creating information systems.
Learners study a range of topics both past and current to help further develop their understanding.
Core topics within this section are:
- Benefits and costs of information systems including the changes they may bring, for example the effect of social media and the sharing economy. This would include study of, for example, the Digital Divide, national infrastructure projects such as National Broadband Network, impacts of technology on the nature of work, social impacts of disruptive technologies, censorship and metadata collection.
- Occupational health and safety, e.g. working environment, risks, design issues.
- Sustainability, e.g. environment, e-waste, global equity (National Television and Computer Recycling Scheme).
- Intellectual property, e.g. copyright, trademarks, patents, trade secrets, data sovereignty.
- Privacy – Australian Privacy Principles, Australian Privacy Guidelines, Privacy Act 1988, Telecommunications (Interception and Access) Amendment (Data Retention) Act 2015, Personal Information Protection Act 2004 (Tas).
- Computer crime, including hacking, identity theft, phishing, denial of service attacks, cyberwarfare, use of social platforms by radical groups, phishing, prevention strategies (Cybercrime Act 2001, Cybercrime Legislation Amendment Act 2012).
- Laws and best practice codes, e.g. web censorship, government policies (Spam Act 2003).
- Roles and expectations on IT professional staff, and business/client relationships.
- Data collection, storage, handling, communication, retention/deletion and misuse.
- Codes of ethics, such as: Australian Computer Society Code of Ethics; Association for Computing Machinery Code of Ethics and Professional Conduct; and British Computer Society Code of Conduct.
- Ethical dilemmas arising in the information systems field.
- Digital citizenship, e.g. netiquette, digital literacy, cybersafety.
Section 5: Design, Develop and Use the Tools of an Information System
In this practical section of the course, learners have the opportunity to undertake a range of applied tasks, from guided tutorials through to short challenge-based activities.
Applied tasks provide opportunities for learners to design, create, test and evaluate product(s) in preparation for the Applied Information System Case Study.
The range of tasks offered expose learners to software tools such as: databases, spreadsheets, mobile app creation tools and web site development environments which aid in the development of an information system.
The applied tasks provide opportunities to apply creativity, formal planning, project management and sound design principles to the product(s) being developed.
Section 6: Applied Information System Case Study (Major Project)
This section of the course is intended to provide learners with an opportunity to work on an information system project using sound project management techniques based on a formal methodology. Working collaboratively in small groups, learners will design and develop an information system to meet an identified need.
Examples of topics for this Major Project include:
- public transport booking system
- medical history management system
- hospital/care facility meal and nutrition management system
- medical or veterinary appointment management system
- co-working space booking and billing system
- creative arts event booking and ticketing system
- real estate client management system
- building maintenance system
- sports tournament management system
- casual staff rostering system
- online computer store ordering system
- automotive repair management system
- artworks curation system
- recruitment agency system
- club member management system
- mountain bike event and scoring system
- spare parts and service system
- loan vehicle booking system
- child care centre booking and billing system
- customer relationship management system
- community engagement system
The product will be internally assessed. This assessment will include criteria 4, 6, and 7.