CPSC 547 Advanced Information Systems

Course Synopsis CPSC 547 -- Winter 1996

Instructor: Mildred L.G. Shaw, MS 680H, email: mildred@cpsc.ucalgary.ca;

Office hours: TuesThurs 12:30-1:30 and by appointment.

T.A.: Danny Dimian, MS 619, email: dimian@cpsc.ucalgary.ca;

Office hours: Wed 2:00 - 3:00 and by appointment.

Labs: Fri 9:00 - 10:00 in MS 139 and Fri 10:00-11:00 in SB 144A.

Purpose of Course

To provide an overview of the role of advanced information systems in the modern organization.


After completing this course the student will be able to:
  1. describe the main functions of an organization;
  2. analyze the role of technology in the organization, pre- and post-computing;
  3. understand the role and importance of lifelong learning in education and industry;
  4. describe the state of the art in knowledge acquisition and knowledge based systems and their application in organizations;
  5. understand the variety of networked information services and the future of the information highway;
  6. understand the structure of documents, electronic publishing and digital libraries, and their use in organizations;
  7. understand how visual programming and virtual realities can be used in organizations;
  8. describe the state of the art in hypermedia and multimedia, and their application in organizations;
  9. describe the state of the art in electronic meetings and their application in organizations;
  10. describe the uses of cross-platform GUIs and web browsers in organizations;
  11. understand the range of object oriented systems and their use in the office environment;
  12. describe the state of the art in electronic funds systems, electronic data interchange and networked organizations;
  13. describe the current and future uses of intelligent agents in organizations;
  14. consider the social impact of the information highway;
  15. understand the main privacy, security and other legal issues in organizations;
  16. describe the developments in documentation and training systems in organizations;
  17. understand the issues involved in ethics and liability in using computer systems;
  18. understand the problems of introducing electronic systems in organizations;
  19. understand organizational and enterprise modeling;
  20. have improved presentation skills;
  21. rapidly assess technical reports and documents in order to produce a summary;
  22. contribute to discussions.

Course books

Professionals in advanced information systems can remain topical only if they know how to find, read, and digest information on new concepts and systems. Given the rapid evolution of ideas and products, the time taken to write a book, and the delays in the publishing process, a book's contents are often out of date almost as soon as they appear in the bookstores. While these books are still useful, the best material is found scattered across technical journals, conference proceedings, commercial magazines research reports and increasingly on the internet.

The course readings will be available on the internet; addresses will be supplied electronically. Supplementary readings for presentations may be obtained from a book of collected supplementary readings available from Dr Shaw, and issues of ACM Transactions on (Office) Information Systems available in the library. Many specialized books will also be useful on particular topics. The internet will also be useful in finding current work in most areas (see Project I).

Course structure

In order to cover the basic issues and techniques, and to understand future directions there will be three main parts to the course:

1. State of the art of advanced information systems and background material: covers some of the technologies in use in the organization and background work necessary to understand other topics;

2. Readings: covers topics which represent key developments in advanced information technology;

3. Labs:

(i) During lab times topics relevant to the course will be covered by demonstrations, videotapes and guest lectures. Assignments will be further elaborated in labs.

Your projects will be marked by Danny Dimian. He will monitor your progress and make sure you are on track. Danny will also be available to advise on presentation topics and techniques.


Assessment is in two parts. Both parts must be passed to achieve a pass in the course. Part A is theory and consists of items 1 through 6 below, worth a total of 75%. Part B is practical and consists of items 7 through 9 below, worth a total of 25%. Note the dates when work is due -- extensions will not normally be given without medical documentation. There will be NO opportunity to submit/resubmit any work after the due date. All work should be submitted on the web, or emailed as requested. Answers to all exam questions should be written with a pen (NOT pencil) and may be given in point form if appropriate, with clear examples, unless otherwise specified.

1. Topic presentation and class discussion

A small group of students will have the responsibility to study a topic in depth, present the main issues and lead a class discussion on the topic. Each student must participate in the presentation. (12%)

2. Topic report

Each member of the group should give an overview of their part of the topic. It need not follow the structure or content of the presentation. All material taken from the literature should be referenced, with a list at the end. This must be completed and put up on the web before the class a week following the presentation. Be sure to email your url to mildred@cpsc.ucalgary.ca by the due date. (10%).

3. Paper summary and discussion in class

Each student will submit a summary of the readings assigned for each class (about 3/4 page). These should be emailed to mildred@cpsc.ucalgary.ca with the topic name in the subject line, by 1pm on the day before the class in which the work is covered. Summaries which are late will not be accepted. Each student will be expected to take an active part in all discussion and offer a critical analysis of the topics covered. (8%).

4. Examination 1

45 mins in class time (see course schedule). It will cover material in the first 3 weeks of the course.
(15%) On Jan 25.

5. Examination 2

60 mins in class time (see course schedule). It will cover material from week 4 to week 8 of the course. (20%) On Mar 7..

6. Examination 3

45 mins in class time (see course schedule). It will cover material from week 9 to the end of the course. (10%) On Apr 9.

7. Project I: The Internet.

Increasing ease of access to the Internet is making it feasible for geographically dispersed communities to work closely together, coordinating their activities through electronic mail, digital document archives, and access to remote computing facilities. The support of the collaboration through digital discourse also makes it feasible to disseminate the results of the collaboration to others through the same media, for example through World-Wide Web.

In this project you will explore some or all of the following: electronic mail, news, list servers, Internet Relay Chat, MUDs, ftp, archie, gophers and the World-Wide Web.

You will write a report showing your interaction with at least four of the above internet tools to explore your presentation topic. Details will be given in labs.

(5%) On Mon Jan 29.

8. Project II: Describing and contrasting existing office tools.

With one of the office tools suggested below, produce an 11-page document (single spaced, narrow margins) that includes the following: The office tool may be one of word processors, personal databases, spreadsheets, drafting or painting systems, communications systems, network administration, hypermedia/multimedia, operating systems, harware or an approved other (see Danny for approval).

(10%) On Mon Feb 19.

9. Project III: WebGrid.

WebGrid is a specialist server on WWW that uses techniques from personal construct psychology (PCP) to allow individuals to make explicit their mental models of a domain. WebGrid uses Kelly's repertory grid techniques to elicit personal constructs about a set of elements relevant to the domain of interest.

Part 1: Exploration

Part 1 of the project consists of exploring WebGrid. You can start with an empty grid and develop your own on any topic of interest to you. You can also look at some existing grids on other topics. You can use the FOCUS and PrinCom tools to analyse any of the grids. Use the NetScape browser to access WebGrid--other browsers may not operate correctly.

The url is: http://tiger.cpsc.ucalgary.ca/547/547WebGrid.html

Part 2: Elicitation of constructs on CPSC547 topics

For part 2 you will be supplied with an initial grid starting with the topics covered in the course, and will then develop your own constructs. You can compare your constructs to see how they correspond with those in the initial grid.

Part 3: Elicitation of constructs on your presentation topic

For part 3 select a set of elements relevant to your presentation topic and elicit a grid based on these. Link the results into your topic report on the web.

Part 4: Report

Write a 1-2 page report on your results and experiences in the use of WebGrid.

(10%) On Mon Mar 25.

Supplementary Readings for Presentation Topics

The supplementary readings are listed separately.

Lecture Notes and Presentations

The lecture notes and notes on presentations are listed separately.

Course Schedule

Department of Computer Science
mildred@cpsc.ucalgary.ca 13-Mar-96