Topic Name Description
Course Introduction Page Course Syllabus
1.1: Introduction to Information Systems URL Introduction to Information Systems

Read the introduction to the course textbook for an overview of the various topics involved in studying information systems. You will see that it is much more than just studying technology. After you have finished reading, reflect upon the different topics. The inclusion of which topic surprised you the most? Which topic will be the most difficult for you to understand?

1.2: The Components of an Information System URL What is an Information System?

Read Chapter 1 for an introduction to the components of information systems. This chapter begins the discussion of the history of information systems and their role in business. This chapter covers many things at a high level; you will be going deeper in later parts of this course. After completing this reading, think about how you use information systems in your everyday life. You probably encounter them at almost every turn in some way!

Page What is a Management Information System?

This video gives an overview of information systems and offers a few examples. How does this lecture compares to the chapter you just read?

URL BUS206 Discussion Forum

After you have reviewed the materials in this unit, post and respond to the following topics on the course discussion board. Feel free to start your own related posts and respond to other students' posts as well.

Suppose that you had to explain to a member of your family or one of your closest friends the concept of an information system. How would you define it? Write a one-paragraph description in your own words that you feel would best describe an information system to your friends or family.

1.2.1: Technology URL Exercise: Everyday Information Systems

We all interact with various information systems every day: at the grocery store, at work, at school, even in our cars (at least some of us). Make a list of the different information systems you interact with every day. Then select one or two and create a grid to identify the different technologies, people, and processes involved.

1.2.2: Process Page Exercise: Enhancing Processes with Technology

In this exercise, you will apply what you have learned about how processes may be enhanced with technology to a task you do on a regular basis.

1.2.3: People Page Exercise: Analyzing MIS Job Listings

In this exercise, you will search for job listings in the areas of information systems and information technology and answer a number of questions about what you find.

1.3: Systems Innovation Page Turning Technology into Business Transformation

The advances in information technology over the past several decades have directly led to innovations in business. In this video, you will see several examples of the significance of these changes for all aspects of business. Pay special attention to how the use of technology has influenced whole industries. After watching this video, reflect upon current trends in technology and how they affect companies.

URL Exercise: Walmart Case Study

Complete exercise 5 from this chapter. The Walmart case study introduced you to how that company used information systems to become the world's leading retailer. Walmart has continued to innovate in its use of technology. Do some original research and write a one-page report detailing a new technology that Walmart (or one of its competitors) has recently implemented or is pioneering.

2.1: Hardware URL Hardware

This chapter focuses on how personal computers work, and then turns to other hardware devices. Be sure to read the sidebar on Moore's Law. As you read, focus on how Moore's Law might describe the different components and devices discussed in this chapter.

Page The Hardware Component

Watch this lecture on information systems hardware. The personal computer is the primary device that has driven the information systems revolution in the past thirty years.

2.1.1: Personal Computers URL Exercise: Moore's Law
Review the timeline of computers at the Old Computers website. Pick one computer from the listing and write a brief summary. Include the specifications for CPU, memory, and screen size. Now find the specifications of any computer on the market today and compare. Did Moore's Law hold true?
2.1.2: Other Digital Devices URL Exercise: Changes in Technology
There have been advances in technology since this textbook was published. Name a recently-developed technology that the author should add to the discussion in Chapter 2.
2.2: Software URL Software
As you read this chapter, focus on how software differs from hardware. There are several ways to categorize software; the most significant difference is between systems software and application software. These resources will introduce you to the concept of open source software and cloud computing, two important concepts in business right now.
Page The Software Component

This lecture supports what you read in Chapter 3.

2.2.1: Cloud Computing URL Exercise: Cloud Computing

After reviewing the unit materials, respond to the following question and post your answer on the discussion forum. Feel free to start your own related posts, and respond to other students’ posts as well.

If you were running a small business with limited funds for information technology, would you consider using cloud computing? Find some web-based resources that support your decision. Explain your decision in at least two paragraphs. Hint: you can find materials about this decision by searching on the term "cloud computing for small business".

2.2.2: Open-Source Software URL Exercise: Open-Source Software

Review this article on the security risks of open-source software. Write a short analysis giving your opinion on the different risks discussed.

2.3: Networks URL Networking and Communication

In this chapter, you will read about the use of communications technologies to allow our computers to send messages to each other. The evolution of these technologies has brought us the Internet and all of the wireless communications that we use today. 

URL Exercise: Internet vs. WWW

What is the difference between the Internet and the World Wide Web? Create at least three statements that identify the differences between the two.

2.4: Security URL Information Systems Security

In this chapter, you will focus on several important concepts related to information security. Be sure you understand the components of the information security triad presented at the beginning of the chapter. The chapter ends with a focus on your own personal information security; you are highly encouraged to take stock in your own efforts to stay secure!

2.4.1: The Information Security Triad Page The CIA Information Security Triad

In this video, you will learn in more detail about the CIA Information Security Triad. After watching this video, take a moment to reflect and then write a one-sentence definition of what each of the components of the triad. Then, respond to the following prompt and post your answer on the discussion forum. Feel free to start your own related posts, and respond to other students' posts as well.

In a brief paragraph, describe how you apply these components in some areas of your work life or personal life. For example, if you work at a bank, you might consider how you maintain confidentiality, integrity, and accessibility for one kind of data. Of course, be sure not to share confidential data in your post!

2.4.2: Tools for Information Security URL Exercise: Encryption Technologies

What are some of the latest advances in encryption technologies? Conduct some independent research on encryption using scholarly or practitioner resources, then write a two- to three-page essay that describes at least two new advances in encryption technology.

2.4.3: Personal Information Security Page Personal Information Security Discussion

How are you doing on keeping your own information secure? The following exercise is meant to help you answer that question and take steps to improve your personal information security.

3.1: Introduction to Data Management URL Data and Databases

This chapter covers the concepts of data and databases. Businesses are becoming more and more "data-driven"; understanding how data is collected, stored, and managed is essential for anyone wanting to succeed in business. Pay special attention to the sections on data warehouses and data mining, as they provide examples of how companies use data strategically.

3.1.1: Data vs. Information vs. Knowledge Page Data, Information, and Knowledge
Watch these two videos and reflect upon the different approaches to defining the terms in both videos and the reading assignment. Which do you like best? Write a short definition for each of them. (Note: we will reflect upon the knowledge management part of this topic in a later section.)
3.1.2: Utilizing Data to Make Decisions Page Data-Driven Decisions

In this video, Ben Curren explains how he utilized data to make decisions and the importance of using intuition as well. After reviewing the unit materials, respond to the following questions and post your answer on the discussion forum. Feel free to start your own related posts, and respond to other students' posts as well.

  • Think about the decisions you make in your work or personal life. How could having more data help you make better decisions? What kind of data would you need?
  • How would you balance your own intuition and data to make better decisions?
3.1.3: Knowledge Management Page Knowledge Management, an Organisation's Weapon of Choice

Watch this video and reflect upon the role of information technology in knowledge management. What are the components of knowledge management? Can a company claim to be doing "knowledge management" by simply implementing one or more information systems? Compose a response in two or three paragraphs.

3.2.1: What is a Database? Page Defining the Term Database

A database is a storage location for data. But what does the term database really mean? This exercise is meant to help you come to a deeper understanding of the term.

URL Exercise: Databases

Review the design of the Student Clubs database earlier in this chapter. This database includes four tables: Clubs, Students, Events, and Memberships. Now review the list of data types listed in the chapter. On a spreadsheet or document, do the following:

  • Create a listing of all of the fields (columns) in each table and assign a data type to each of the fields.
  • Determine what other limits you would put on the data. Would you limit how long the text would be or how high the number should go?
3.2.2: Database Management Systems Page Relational vs. NoSQL Databases
This is a somewhat technical video, so be sure you have read Chapter 4 before watching it. What demands will companies put on databases in the future? As data becomes more and more the lifeblood of business, databases will require new methods for processing and managing data. After watching the video, think about why the relational database model may not be the best one to serve the purposes of database management in the future. Compose your answer to the above prompt in a brief three-or four-slide presentation as follows:
3.2.3: Data Warehouses and Data Mining Page Data Warehouses and Data Mining

This article provides a detailed summary of the role of data warehouses and data mining in organizations and their relationship to organizational databases. As you read, pay special attention to how the data warehouses are being used to improve decision-making in organizations. Keep a summary in your notes of how an organization you are involved with could benefit from a data warehouse and data mining.

4.1: Information Systems and Strategy URL Does IT Matter?

This chapter centers around the idea of the strategic value that information systems can bring to an organization. Pay special attention to the arguments around the idea of competitive advantage. When you finish reading, reflect upon the arguments presented about the impact that IT has on competitive advantage.

URL Business Processes

This chapter looks at one way that information system can bring competitive advantage through their effect on business processes. As you read this chapter, relate it to the previous chapter on competitive advantage. How are the two concepts related?

4.1.1: IT and Competitive Advantage URL Exercise: IT and Competitive Advantage

After reviewing the unit materials, respond to the following questions and post your answer on the discussion forum. Feel free to start your own related posts, and respond to other students' posts as well.

  • Summarize Carr's argument that IT does not bring competitive advantage.
  • Do some independent research and explain the current thinking on the ability of IT to provide competitive advantage.
  • What is your position on IT and competitive advantage?
4.1.2: Porter’s Five Forces and Value Chain URL The Value Chain and Evaluating the Industry

Read the following sections on the value chain and Porter's five forces:

While reading these sections, think about the impact that information technology can have on these concepts. Then do the following:

  • Draw a value chain diagram that highlights the role of information technology.
  • List each of Porter's five forces and then explain how information technology might influence each force.
  • For each of the previous two items, do some independent research to see if others agree with your analysis. Do a web search on "value chain information technology" and "Porter's five forces technology". For a more academic search, use Google Scholar. 
4.1.3: Decision Support Systems Page Decision Support Systems

This video is about Vancouver Coastal Health's decision support system. After watching, write a paragraph that describes your understanding of the steps to developing a decision support tool. You have now also seen an application of MIS in the workforce. What part of the VCH decision support team inspired you most?

4.1.4: ERP Systems URL Exercise: ERP Systems

In Chapter 8, you learned about one of the criticisms of an ERP system: ERP systems drive all businesses to use the same business processes, thus eliminating competitive advantage.

If you were implementing an ERP system, in which cases would you be more inclined to modify the ERP to match your business processes? What are the drawbacks of doing this? Do some independent research to support your conclusions.

4.2: The People in Information Systems URL The People in Information Systems

In this chapter, you will learn about the "people" component of management information systems. As you read, think about the importance that each person plays in the success of an organization, not just the successful implementation of the technology.

4.2.1: Roles URL So You Want to Get a Job in Information Technology?

Read this article, which lists the skills needed to work in IT. It goes on to describe some of the different job categories in this sector. Compare this article to the textbook chapter. Then, create a five-slide presentation using the following guidelines:

  • In the first slide, answer this question: What are the general skills needed to work in an IT job?
  • In slides two through four, you should select three different job categories and create a slide for each one, which describes the main work of each category.
  • Finally, for your last slide, do a search for one category of IT job on Indeed or Dice and post a description of the job. Does the job description match the material you read?
4.2.2: Organization of the IT Function Page Find the IT Function on Organization Charts
This exercise will help you answer the question of where the IT function is located in different organizations.
4.2.3: User Types URL Exercise: IT User Types

What type of IT user are you? Look again at the five types of technology adopters and then write a one-page summary of where you think you fit in this model.

5.1: IS Development Methodologies URL Information Systems Development

This chapter focuses on the concepts surrounding the development of information systems. It begins with a discussion of software development methodologies, then covers programming languages and tools, and finishes with a review of implementation methodologies. As you read, reflect upon all the different pieces that must come together in order for a system to be developed.

URL Waterfall Process vs. Incremental Process

Read this article, which compares the two broad processes for developing software. Then, select one of the methodologies (SDLC, RAD, Agile, Lean) you read about in Chapter 10 and do further research on the state of the art for that particular methodology. Write a four-six paragraph essay that describes the methodology you chose, your research findings, and the types of projects that use that methodology.

5.2: IS Implementation Methodologies URL Hour of Code

Go to the Hour of Code website and complete one of the tutorials on the page. Next, reflect upon how easy or hard you thought that the tutorial was. Would you like to do another one or learn other ways to do coding?

5.3: IS Implementation Methodologies File Implementation and Adoption of Nationwide Electronic Health Records in Secondary Care in England

This study examines how selected British hospitals made the transition to electronic health records. The paper discusses how the hospitals planned and executed the transition. Pay special attention to the unexpected impacts of implementing new software.

6.1: Globalization URL Globalization and the Digital Divide

This chapter reviews the role that information technologies have had in the globalization of our world. As you read, pay attention to the many different changes, both positive and negative, that globalization has brought about.

6.1.1: The Digital Divide Page Bridging the Digital Divide

Complete this task, in which you will catch up on the status of either the One Laptop per Child project or the TeacherMate project.

6.1.2: The Role of IT in Globalization Page The World is Flat 3.0

As you watch this keynote by Thomas Friedman, focus on the impact that information technology has had on globalization. After watching, respond to the following questions and post your answer on the discussion forum. Feel free to start your own related posts, and respond to other students' posts as well.

  • Which of the "flatteners" do you think is having the biggest impact today? 
  • What other concepts from the video stood out to you as important?
6.1.3: Impact of Globalization on Organizations URL Exercise: Globalization

Do some original research to determine some of the regulations that a US company may have to consider before doing business in one of the following countries: China, Germany, Saudi Arabia, Turkey. Write an essay in four to six paragraphs to describe these regulations and processes.

6.2: Ethical and Legal Implications of Information Systems URL The Ethical and Legal Implications of Information Systems

In this chapter, you will learn how the ubiquity of information systems today compels us to act ethically and legally. As you read, consider the sorts of ethical questions that we must ask ourselves now that did not exist before. How does this affect you personally?

6.2.1: Relating IS to Ethics URL Ethics

This text provides a comprehensive overview of how information systems relate to ethics. While reading, consider the relationship between ethical action and legal remedies. After reviewing the unit materials, post and respond to both of the following questions on the discussion forum. Feel free to start your own related posts, and respond to other students' posts as well. 

  • Many people think that the ethical issues raised by new technologies are just the same issues in a new form. Do you agree or disagree? Has technology created a new class of ethical issues?
  • What are the difficulties raised by creating new laws and regulations to solve these issues?
6.2.2: Intellectual Property URL Exercise: Intellectual Property

Patent trolls have had a tremendous impact on our intellectual property protections over the past few years. Many groups have banded together to fight against these patent trolls. Do some original research on the effort to combat patent trolls. Write a two-page paper that discusses legislation to prevent patent trolling.

6.2.3: Copyright and Creative Commons URL Creative Commons

Go to the Creative Commons website and spend some time navigating the site. Try to gain an understanding of the mission and purpose of Creative Commons. Read the summary of the various licenses Creative Commons offers, how they work, and how these licenses differ from traditional copyright. Then, use the Creative Commons search tool to find materials of interest to you licensed via Creative Commons. Next, find a resource related to MIS that you have not read or watched in this course and study it. Last, respond to the following prompts and post your answer on the discussion forum. Feel free to start your own related posts, and respond to other students' posts as well.

  • Share your thoughts about the pros and cons of using a Creative Commons license.
  • Share the item you found about MIS and summarize it for others who are taking this course.
6.2.4: Privacy URL Youth, Privacy, and Online Media

As you read this article, reflect on how our expectations of privacy have changed over the past few generations. After you have finished reading, take some time to think about the activities that you engage in that could be subject to data collection. Does this bother you? What do you do to limit the data collected from your online activity? Write an essay of two or three paragraphs summarizing your thoughts.

6.3: The Future of MIS URL Future Trends in Information Systems

The final chapter of the course textbook gives an overview of the trends in information systems. As you read, think about which of these trends may affect you the most. Are you excited for or apprehensive of any of the named trends?

URL A Tour through Mary Meeker's 2016 Internet Trends Report

Once a year, Mary Meeker, a partner at Kleiner, Perkins, Caufield & Byers, presents her research on the current and upcoming trends in Internet technologies. Her yearly presentation has become quite an industry event that has become a trend in itself. Find the video and/or slide deck from her latest annual presentation and review them (you can find her presentation from June 2016 here). As you watch, work to identify two or three key trends that most interest you.

Study Guide Book BUS206 Study Guide
Course Feedback Survey URL Course Feedback Survey