Fundamentals of Information Systems

Subject ISYS90026 (2014)

Note: This is an archived Handbook entry from 2014.

Credit Points: 12.50
Level: 9 (Graduate/Postgraduate)
Dates & Locations:

This subject is not offered in 2014.

Time Commitment: Contact Hours: 10 hours, comprising 5 two-hour seminars
Total Time Commitment:

200 hours





Recommended Background Knowledge:


Non Allowed Subjects:


Core Participation Requirements:

For the purposes of considering request for Reasonable Adjustments under the Disability Standards for Education (Cwth 2005), and Student Support and Engagement Policy, academic requirements for this subject are articulated in the Subject Overview, Learning Outcomes, Assessment and Generic Skills sections of this entry.

It is University policy to take all reasonable steps to minimise the impact of disability upon academic study, and reasonable adjustments will be made to enhance a student's participation in the University's programs. Students who feel their disability may impact on meeting the requirements of this subject are encouraged to discuss this matter with a Faculty Student Adviser and Student Equity and Disability Support:

Subject Overview:


Information Technology now impacts on people and processes within and beyond organisational boundaries. The discipline of Information Systems is concerned with the effective use of IT by people and organisations. This subject provides context on Information Systems practice and use viewed through a range of roles that interact with these systems, including those of system developers, users, business managers, IT managers, and vendors. It provides students with a foundation that is further built on in other information systems subjects.

The subject supports course-level objectives by allowing students to understand the complexity of real-world applications of information systems within a range of industries. It challenges students to integrate concepts, theories and frameworks with case studies and examples drawn from industry. The emphasis is on gaining a tool kit for a rich understanding of the practical problem solving rather than learning the theory per se. The subject contributes to the development of independent critical inquiry, case study analysis and problem solving.

Indicative Content

Klings’s Social Informatics, Prahalad and Hamel’s Core Competencies, Porter’s Competitive Advantage, Chan and Luftman’s Concepts of Business – IT Alignment, Cullen and Seddon’s Outsourcing Management, Willcock’s Offshoring Challenges, Agarwal and Sambamurthy’s IT Governance issues and various Change Management Models.

Learning Outcomes:

Intended Learning Outcomes (ILO)

On completion of this subject the student is expected to:

  1. Explain the importance of understanding IT in its context to successful IS practice by looking at issues such as IT-supported core competencies, competitive advantage, business-IT alignment, governance and outsourcing, and change management in IT.
  2. Apply key areas of research and practice in information systems
  3. Identify interrelationships between concepts in information systems
  4. Critically discuss and analyse information systems issues at an advanced level
  5. Exploit the key knowledge and transferable skills as a basis for further post-graduate level study
  6. Use the learned context to assess the role of IT/IS in organisations

Part A: Ongoing Online Discussion 20%. Addresses Intended Learning Outcomes (ILOs) 1, 4 and 5.

Part B: 3 Case Studies Discussions Hurdle 15% + 15% = 30% (addressing ILO 2 and 3)

Part C: Group Case Study Discussion 30% (addressing ILOs 2, 3, and 6)

Part D: End-of-Semester Case Discussion 20% (addressing ILOs 2, 3, and 6)

Total: 100 %

All of the assessment in the subject takes the form of case discussion and analysis. This approach trains students in solving problems from different points of view and equips you with critical analysis skills and competencies. It also requires students to respond to business problems, highlight weaknesses and opportunities for the businesses, and provide a credible solution and analysis for the business.

In Part B of the Assessment, students complete 3 separate case studies over a period of time (Weeks 4, 7 and 11), each addressing a particular theme within the subject. Part C and D (the Group Case (due Week 12) and End of Semester Case) requires an integration of all concepts learned during the semester.

Assessment Standards (Amount)

Part A: Ongoing Online Discussion Ranges from 1500 - 2000 words

Part B: 3 Case Studies Discussions Maximum of 1200 words each

Part C: Group Case Study Discussion Maximum of 2500 words per group of 5 students

Part D: End-of-Semester Case Discussion Maximum of 1500 words

While this is more than the standard 12.5 credit Postgraduate subject, the main reason is the ongoing online discussion – rather than class attendance each week and participation. This is in effect the class participation of students over the semester.

Prescribed Texts:

Most reading materials will be made available online. Web sources will also be used in the subject.

Breadth Options:

This subject is not available as a breadth subject.

Fees Information: Subject EFTSL, Level, Discipline & Census Date
Generic Skills:

On completion of this subject, students should have developed the following generic skills:

  • Analytical and interpretive skills through introduction to and use of case studies
  • Ability to look at cases and business contexts from multiple perspectives
  • Research and critical thinking skills through preparation of discussion materials
  • Team work through group and project work
  • Confidence through online discussion

This subject is normally only available to students in the 200-point 2 year Master of Information Systems.

Learning and Teaching Methods
This is predominantly an online subject. All material will be delivered online (with 5 face to face sessions throughout the semester). Each week, students are expected to read a set of readings, followed by in-depth critical and moderated online discussion of the concepts from the readings, and application of concepts to real world case studies. All assessment will also be submitted online.

Indicative Key Learning Resources
All material and readings provided online on a weekly basis. In addition, publicly available you-tube resources of interviews with CIOs, and guest lectures from Industry Partners during the face-to-face seminars.

Careers/Industry Links
This subject is relevant to careers as IT analyst and consultant. As a body of knowledge and skills, Knowledge Management has been championed by many prominent organisations including, Deloitte, PwC, Accenture, Ernst and Young, KPMG. Students will work on real-world cases of organisations attempting knowledge management initiatives, and also read papers produced by these companies. There will be two lectures from invited practitioners from industry.

Related Course(s): Graduate Certificate in Information Systems
Master of Information Systems
Master of Information Technology
Master of Information Technology
Master of Philosophy - Engineering
Master of Science (Information Systems)
Ph.D.- Engineering

Download PDF version.