University of Baltimore
Merrick School of Business

INSS 640 - Information Systems and Technology - Fall 1996

Thursdays 1:30 - 4:00 PM - BC 309

Professor Al Bento

office BC 473 v-mail 837-5272
e-mail abento@ubmail.ubalt.edu URL http://home.ubalt.edu/abento

Office hours: Tuesdays 3:00 - 5:00 PM and Thursdays 5:00 - 7:00 PM



Over the past 20 years, information technology (computers, telecommunications and office automation) and the management of information technology have changed dramatically. The need to learn how to use and deploy information systems and technology became a must for business professionals.

In many industries, obtaining competitive advantages became directly related to the deployment of information technology to design, create and provide the main products/services. In many instances the information technology became an integral part of the product/service.

The course aim is to provide you with learning experiences in the use, development and management of information systems and technology.

Each class meeting will be divided in two parts:

  1. lecture and discussions, related to in-depth study of main types of information systems and technologies: system concepts, decision making, business processes, systems development, data base, networking, information architecture, artificial intelligence, planning information systems, ethical and human issues and strategic use of information technology.

  2. activities, related to applications of tools for development of information systems and use of information technology: skills and hands-on experience with basic Internet, business graphics presentation tools, creating information systems logical design, and participating in computer mediated meetings. Also, first-hand experience in developing and delivering business presentations using state-of-the art information technology multimedia resources.


Mini-projects (3) 30%
Assignments (5)20%
Presentations (3) 20%
Final exam30%


The mini-projects are to be done in groups of three students. The mini-projects are based on the Voice case, also found at my index page on the World Wide Web. You should use Freelance, or another graphical tool, for creating the required diagrams.

  1. Develop a data flow diagram (DFD) for a Mail Order System for Voice. Explode the DFD as needed.
  2. Develop an entity-relationship diagram (E-R diagram) for the Voice Mail Order System.
  3. Create a process diagram to show the logic of the Order Processing process.
All mini-projects are due, in printed format, in the end of the class meeting listed on the course outline.


The assignments are to be done individually. You will need, in most cases, to use an Internet tool to have them done and/or sent to me.

  1. E-mail with the results of a Web search on electronic commerce
  2. E-mail with the results of a Web search on software publishers
  3. A printout of a simple presentation in Freelance (or other graphical tool)
  4. Create your home page on the Web
  5. E-mail short essay with an example of IS/IT strategic impact
All e-mail assignments are due in my e-mailbox, at the time and date indicated in each assignment.


The presentations will be made in groups of four students (your previous groups), and consequentely we will have 4 groups. Each group will make three presentations of 15 minutes each, in three different days. Each case will be presented by two groups deffending opposite views for the solution of the case, in the same day. You should use Freelance to develop overheads for your presentations. Your grade in the presentations will depend upon the content, presentation materials, and delivery of the presentations. See here how the presentations will be scheduled. Each group can choose three of the following cases from the textbook to make the presentations:

  1. The Internet: Information Source and Shopping Mall of the Future? (677-680).
  2. Resumix, Inc (682-683).
  3. DIA: Baggage System Blues (685-686). /li>
  4. Wellington Education Board ([688-689 ).
  5. 911: The System behind the Phone Number (690-691).
  6. CONFIRM project, (693-695).
Presentations are to be delivered both live, using multimedia resources, and in printed format.

Final Exam

The final exam is a take-home exam, covering both conceptual and applied materials. There will be questions asking you to explain a concept, to apply a concept to a small case, and to use an information technology tool studied in this course. The take-home final is due (in printed format) at, or before, 5:00 PM of the exam day (December 12) in my office.


Alter, Steven. Information Systems, 2nd. ed., Benjamin/Cummings, 1996 (required). [ ]

Additional (free) references, available in the Internet, will also be required.

Class materials are available on the World Wide Web (all overheads) and in the PCUB lab (some). All overheads are linked to the course syllabus at the following address:

It is a good practice to print the overheads (use the Business Center Indys) before coming to class, so that you can add your observations and comments to the overheads as I am lecturing. This saves you the time of taking notes when I am lecturing, or demonstrating something. Please note that no printed class notes will be provided by me.

Select the text version of the outline, if your browser does not support Netscape table extensions.

Day 1:30 - 2:50 3:00 - 4:00 Assignments
09/05 Course overview, information and systems concepts [1] Group formation and lab acquaintance  
09/12 Internet overview , E-mail E-mail and Web *
Maestro and UBMAIL accounts required
0. mail me back due
09/19 Information Technology: hardware [9] Setting-up your PCUB account *
PCUB account required
1. e-mail: results of Web search on electronic commerce
09/26 Information Technology: software [10] More in E-mail and Web *  
10/03 Business processes [2,6] Using Freelance * 2. e-mail: results of Web search on software houses
10/10 Systems Development [14] Freelance and DFD *  
10/17 Systems Analysis and DFDs [3] Freelance and DFD * 3. a simple presentation
10/24 Files & Data Base [4] Freelance and E-R diagrams*  
10/31 Telecommunications and Networks [11] Your home page A. Voice DFD
11/07 Communications and decision-making [5] GDSS practice at ISRC B. E-R diagrams for Voice
11/14# AI and Expert Systems [12] and Human and ethical issues [8] The Internet [677-680] and 911 [690-691] presentations C. Business process diagram for Voice, order processing
11/21# Strategic Impact of IS/IT [7] and Information Systems Planning [13] Resumix, Inc [ 682-683] and Wellington Education Board [688-689] presentations 4. home page due
11/28 Thanksgiving no class  
12/05 DIA [pp. 685-686] and CONFIRM [ 693-695] presentations Final take-home overview and course-wrap-up 5. e-mail: an example of IS/IT strategic impact
12/12 Take-home final due    

Notes: class meetings marked with # will be from 1:30-5:00 PM, and the ones marked with * are lab meetings.

This page is maintained by Al Bento who can be reached at abento@ubmail.ubalt.edu. This page was last updated on August 7, 1996. Although we will attempt to keep this information accurate, we can not guarantee the accuracy of the information provided.