• Course Introduction

        • Time: 57 hours
        • Free Certificate
        Management Information Systems (MIS) is a formal discipline within business education that bridges the gap between computer science and well-known business disciplines such as finance, marketing, and management. In spite of this, most students will only take one or two MIS courses as part of their undergraduate program.

        The term Management Information Systems has several definitions that might depend on where you look or who you ask. Common among these many definitions is that MIS represents a collection of technologies, people, and processes that manage the information and communication resources of an organization.

        Even if you do not realize it, you use MIS every day. If you use email, you are using MIS since email is an information system (though you, the user, only see one end of it). If you log into a computer every morning and access or edit data on corporate servers, you are using information systems. In general terms, information systems encompass any interactions between organized data and people. MIS can be the means by which information is transmitted (such as the Internet), the software that displays the information (such as Microsoft Excel), or the systems that manage the data. In this course, you will learn about the components of management information systems and how to leverage them in business.

      • Course Syllabus

        First, read the course syllabus. Then, enroll in the course by clicking "Enroll me". Click Unit 1 to read its introduction and learning outcomes. You will then see the learning materials and instructions on how to use them.

      • Unit 1: Introduction to Management Information Systems

        This unit will introduce you to the concept of MIS and the impact it has on business organizations. Most people recognize that information systems are composed of technologies such as computers, keyboards, and networks, but technology is just one small component. Some argue that other components of MIS are far more important. Information systems are made up of three high-level components: technology, people, and process. Later in the course, you will spend more time learning about the specifics of each of the three components introduced in this unit.

        Innovation drives MIS. The right technology, processes, and people come together to solve problems utilizing new techniques and strategies. In this unit, you will also look at the applications of MIS in business and learn how far MIS has come since the inception of the information age.

        Completing this unit should take you approximately 6 hours.

      • Unit 2: MIS Basics – Hardware, Software, Networking, and Security

        Much of MIS is now centered on technology. Accordingly, MIS capabilities are mostly limited to the hardware and software capabilities of a given system. Ten years ago, it took the average Internet user a few minutes to download an MP3 music file over a cable connection. This can now be done in seconds wirelessly from just about anywhere in the developed world thanks to improvements in hardware and software. While it is nearly impossible to remain in front of technology developments, it is possible to analyze trends in technology advancements and identify what hardware and software may give you a competitive advantage.

        This unit will first discuss the hardware component of technology, followed by the software component. We will finish the unit with a discussion of networking as a component of technology.

        Completing this unit should take you approximately 11 hours.

      • Unit 3: Data and Databases

        Data is a collection of facts. For example, population estimates for China and the United States are data. Information is the presentation of these facts in an organized manner, such as by presenting population estimates side-by-side with other facts like per capita income. Knowledge refers to the use of information to make informed decisions. In this case, you might consider these figures critical knowledge for making policy decisions about China and the United States. Managing data allows the government, corporations, and even individuals to apply this knowledge to their everyday lives. Managing data can be difficult because databases are often filled with more information than you need. In this unit, you will explore the challenges of data management and learn how to take data and turn it into knowledge.

        We have used the word database many times in this course. We will now define and study databases in detail. Entire courses are devoted to this subject (such as CS403: Introduction to Modern Database Systems) since the uses and types of databases are as varied as the businesses that use them. However, finishing this unit should give you enough of an understanding of databases to have a conversation with a database administrator about the needs of your team or department.

        Completing this unit should take you approximately 9 hours.

      • Unit 4: Information Systems and Organization Strategy

        Strategic MIS is the application of information management in the overall strategy of a business. Many corporations include a Chief Information Officer (CIO) in executive management to implement information systems to be more competitive. What good would it do for a company to create an application that can tell where you are and serve you ads based on your location if it was unable to process that information? Part of the role of the CIO would be to figure out if it is possible to do this now – and if not now, when.

        This unit will examine how information technology and information systems change the way organizations operate. The unit starts by looking at some of the key technological forces that characterize the information age that all firms must consider in their strategic planning. Then, you will learn about the special characteristics and challenges that business-to-business operations face. The unit concludes with an examination of how organizations adapt to technological changes.

        Completing this unit should take you approximately 12 hours.

      • Unit 5: Information Systems Development

        Businesses have diverse needs. While software packages for managing information exist, most software is not "plug-and-play" ready for most business applications. IT departments, in conjunction with representatives from all lines of business, must work together to develop and implement information system solutions. The IS development process can range from the simple to the extremely complicated. Managers often find themselves disagreeing about what information is most important and what is worth developing. Trade-offs between financial resources, time, and the capabilities of current information systems can lead to frustration. For this reason, IS development is a very important function within a business.

        Completing this unit should take you approximately 6 hours.

      • Unit 6: Information Systems in Society and the World

        The reach of information systems extends well beyond the world of business. Today it is nearly as easy to communicate with someone on the other side of the world as it is to talk to someone next door. New technologies create situations that society has never dealt with before. How do we handle the unique capabilities that these technologies enable? Will societies need new laws or social mores to protect us from ourselves regarding technology?

        We will conclude with a look at the future of MIS. After studying the security issues and failures of various systems, the outlook can seem bleak. Wherever there is a problem in MIS, there are opportunities to find profitable solutions.

        Completing this unit should take you approximately 13 hours.

      • Study Guide

        This study guide will help you get ready for the final exam. It discusses the key topics in each unit, walks through the learning outcomes, and lists important vocabulary. It is not meant to replace the course materials!

      • Course Feedback Survey

        Please take a few minutes to give us feedback about this course. We appreciate your feedback, whether you completed the whole course or even just a few resources. Your feedback will help us make our courses better, and we use your feedback each time we make updates to our courses.

        If you come across any urgent problems, email contact@saylor.org.

      • Certificate Final Exam

        Take this exam if you want to earn a free Course Completion Certificate.

        To receive a free Course Completion Certificate, you will need to earn a grade of 70% or higher on this final exam. Your grade for the exam will be calculated as soon as you complete it. If you do not pass the exam on your first try, you can take it again as many times as you want, with a 7-day waiting period between each attempt.

        Once you pass this final exam, you will be awarded a free Course Completion Certificate.

      • Saylor Direct Credit

        Take this exam if you want to earn college credit for this course. This course is eligible for college credit through Saylor Academy's Saylor Direct Credit Program.

        The Saylor Direct Credit Final Exam requires a proctoring fee of $5. To pass this course and earn a Credly Badge and official transcript, you will need to earn a grade of 70% or higher on the Saylor Direct Credit Final Exam. Your grade for this exam will be calculated as soon as you complete it. If you do not pass the exam on your first try, you can take it again a maximum of 3 times, with a 14-day waiting period between each attempt.

        We are partnering with SmarterProctoring to help make the proctoring fee more affordable. We will be recording you, your screen, and the audio in your room during the exam. This is an automated proctoring service, but no decisions are automated; recordings are only viewed by our staff with the purpose of making sure it is you taking the exam and verifying any questions about exam integrity. We understand that there are challenges with learning at home - we won't invalidate your exam just because your child ran into the room!


        1. Desktop Computer
        2. Chrome (v74+)
        3. Webcam + Microphone
        4. 1mbps+ Internet Connection

        Once you pass this final exam, you will be awarded a Credly Badge and can request an official transcript.