Fundamentals of Information Systems

Subject ISYS90026 (2015)

Note: This is an archived Handbook entry from 2015.

Credit Points: 12.5
Level: 9 (Graduate/Postgraduate)
Dates & Locations:

This subject has the following teaching availabilities in 2015:

Semester 1, Parkville - Taught online/distance.
Pre-teaching Period Start not applicable
Teaching Period 02-Mar-2015 to 31-May-2015
Assessment Period End 26-Jun-2015
Last date to Self-Enrol 13-Mar-2015
Census Date 31-Mar-2015
Last date to Withdraw without fail 08-May-2015

This subject is delivered online although there will be five 1.5 hour meetings interspersed throughout the semester - these usually occur in weeks 1, 5, 8, 10 and 12. A high level of online interaction through the subject’s LMS discussion forum is expected.

Timetable can be viewed here. For information about these dates, click here.
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:


Assoc Prof Shanton Chang



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 (ILOs)

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%, requiring approximately 25-30 hours of work. Addresses Intended Learning Outcomes (ILOs) 1, 4 and 5.

Part B: 3 Case Studies Discussions Hurdle 15% + 15% = 30%, requiring approximately 35-40 hours or work. Addresses ILO 2 and 3..

Part C: Group Case Study Discussion 30%, requiring approximately 35-40 hours of work. Addresses ILOs 2, 3, and 6.

Part D: End-of-Semester Case Discussion 20%, approximately 25-30 hours of work. Addresses 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): Master of Information Systems
Master of Information Technology
Master of Philosophy - Engineering
Master of Science (Information Systems)
Ph.D.- Engineering
Related Majors/Minors/Specialisations: MIS Professional Specialisation
MIS Research Specialisation
MIT Health Specialisation
MIT Spatial Specialisation

Download PDF version.