UB University of Baltimore
Merrick School of Business

INSS 789 - Information Systems Applications
Fall 2005

Thursdays 7:00 - 8:00 PM - BC221
and nine hours of group work

Professor Al Bento

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

Office hours: Thursdays 3:00-5:00 PM and TBA



Dr. Anil Aggarwal
Office: 459 Thumel Business Center
Phone: (410) 837-5275 E-Mail: aaggarwal@ubalt.edu

Dr. Al Bento
Office: 473 Thumel Business Center
(410) 837-5272 E-Mail: abento@ubalt.edu

Dr. Danielle Fowler
Office: 469 Thumel Business Center
Phone: (410) 837-5264 E-Mail: dfowler@ubalt.edu

Dr. Rajesh Mirani
Office: 458 Thumel Business Center
Phone: (410) 837-5261 E-Mail: rmirani@ubalt.edu


  1. to provide the student with a realistic environment within which she/he can practice the application of the tools and techniques of information systems analysis and design;
  2. to assist the student in understanding the effects of practical constraints (e.g., organization politics, technical expertise, group motivation, budget, etc.) On the analysis, design and implementation process
  3. to give student a reasonably mature (not naive) perspective of the systems development process and
  4. to focus the student's capabilities on the solution of a practical problem and the presentation of a solution.

Upon completing the course the student will be able:

  1. To explain some of the practical constraints of systems work and the effects of these constraints on the application of various tools and techniques.
  2. To make modifications in design techniques and strategies to accommodate several different contingencies.
  3. To discuss of the various functional activities required of a successful project team and the role of the project manager.
  4. To prepare and present a proposal for a systems development task or project in a business environment.
  5. To discuss the value of experience in the successful application of systems tools and techniques.
  6. To prepare a written management report, and deliver an oral presentation, describing a non- trivial problem solution.

There are no required texts for this course. Depending on the nature of your project, the texts listed in the appendix may provide useful reference material.


To achieve the desired real life experience, the class is typically divided into three to five person project teams. Each team works on one of the project problems with one of the participating organizations.

The student team must (subject to agreement by the participating organizations) specify the objectives of the study and the method(s) that they will use in their analysis. The team submits a formal proposal including problem formulation and solution method to the participating organization. Following the acceptance of this proposal by the participating organization, the team, under the direction of the participating organization, proceeds to carry out the action indicated in the proposal. The team will make a presentation of their final report in written and oral form at the December 9 class meeting, including a representative of the host organization.

Each team will have a faculty advisor to consult with during the project, but will work under the direction of a representative of the participating organization. All work must be completed by the end of the semester. Students will be neither required nor permitted to extend a project beyond that limit.


The teams are normally composed of two to three Master of Science in Information Systems - students who are at the end of their academic program. The students will have a varied graduate background and work experience, but all students will have completed the coursework in functional areas of business as well as the vast majority of their information systems classes. Each student team is expected to work on a project over the entire semester. The scheduled events that must occur during the semester are described below and a timetable of these events follows:

Event Date Activity
1 09/08 Initial Class Meeting
2 09/15 Teams formed and Projects Assigned
3 09/15-22 Initial Meeting with Participating Organization
4 09/22-26 Initial Meeting with Faculty Advisor
5 09/29 Presentation of Formal Proposal
6 11/10 Presentation of Progress Report
7 12/08 Presentation of Final Report

NOTE: events in bold are classroom meetings.

  1. The first student activity is a meeting with the course administrator. During this meeting the objectives and conduct of the course are presented and discussed with the students.

  2. The second event is project and team assignments. Each student will be informed by the course administrator regarding: 1) the members of her/his team, 2) the project assignment, and 3) the faculty advisor. From this time forward, until the project is completed, the responsibility for initiating action rests with the student team. The first actions required is to arrange the initial meeting with the participating organization.

  3. The third scheduled event is the initial meeting with the participating organization. Among the objectives of this meeting are:

    1) to obtain an overall view of the operation of the organization;
    2) to become familiar with the areas of interest for the project; and
    3) to establish the working relationship between the organization and the project team.

  4. The fourth scheduled meeting is a preparation for the presentation of a formal proposal to the host organization. The team will meet with the faculty advisor and discuss a draft of the proposal.

  5. The fifth scheduled meeting is for the presentation of a formal proposal to the host organization. This proposal will differ between projects but will typically include:

    1) the team's analysis and problem formulation based upon the initial project problem statement and subsequent investigation,
    2) the recommended solution method, and
    3) a complete description of how the team intends to proceed toward a solution.

    Note: each team is supposed to provide a copy of the proposal to the course administrator.

  6. The sixth scheduled event is an informal presentation of a progress report to the class and faculty administrator. This written and oral report may be very brief (one or two pages) but must indicate the current status of the project in relation to the formal proposal, and should take about 5 to 10 minutes. Faculty advisors may attend the meeting if their schedule allows them to do so. Each team will provide a copy of the written report to their advisors and the course administrator.

  7. The seventh scheduled event is the presentation of the final report in written and oral form. The written report should be a management report rather than an academic paper, within the guidelines provided by the host organization. The oral report will typically be supplemented with overhead transparencies, slides, flipcharts, etc. This presentation will be made in the BC221 caseroom with at least one representative of the host organization present, the faculty advisor and course administrator in attendance. Typically the formal presentation will be followed by a question and answer session and/or general discussion of the report's contents. Although each project team's final report is different, typically it will contain a discussion of the problem, problem formulation, solution methodology, recommended solution or alternatives, and an implementation plan. Each team will have aproximately 20 minutes to present their project report.


A wide variety of organizations assist the Merrick School of Business in presenting this course. They include financial institutions, public utilities, government agencies, health and educational institutions and manufacturing and processing firms of may types. The following is a description of the scheduled activities for each participating organization.

  1. The first activity for a participating organization is the identification of suitable problem areas and the development of project problem statements.

    Since each full-time student on the project will normally be carrying three other courses besides INSS 789 , and part-time students typically are working a full workweek, it is not intended that this project be a full-time activity. Each student is expected to work about 10-12 hours per week on the project. This translates into approximately 500 man-hours per project team during the semester. Considering travel time, orientation, etc., it is recommended that the projects be targeted at 350- 450 man-hours.

    Projects which involve large amounts of programming are discouraged because: 1) The students generally have only a limited programming ability; and 2) The time required to understand and adopt a particular organization's standards and practices is usually excessive given the overall project's time constraints.

  2. The second scheduled activity is a meeting of the host organization representative with the project team to discuss the project problem statements and familiarize the project team with the organization and establish a project team liason with the organization.

    Each student will be in the final stages of the MS in Information Systems program. It is assumed that students have the skills and maturity of information systems professionals.

    In general, no direct cost is associated with the participation of an organization in this course. However, each host organization should aware of the costs associated with providing time for interaction, space for the team to work "on-site," if necessary, and the reproduction of the final report for distribution within the host organization and to the team members. In addition, it is expected that the host organization will make every effort to provide the data necessary to support the project. Of course, the team and the Merrick School of Business recognize the proprietary nature of some of the data and will act accordingly. If possible, the organizations may reimburse students for the incidental expenses incurred during this project (travel, parking, etc.).

  3. The third scheduled activity is a meeting at which the project team presents a formal proposal. This proposal presents the results of the team's initial investigation and their plan for achieving a solution to the problem by the end of the semester.

  4. The fourth and final event is the formal presentation of the project at the end of the semester in BC 221, December 8, from 6:50 to 8:10 PM. The host organization representative is supposed to attend this presentation. The faculty, of course, has the ultimate responsibility for grading the student's performance, but the opinion of the host organization representative will be carefully considered in determining a final grade.

    The participating organization may, of course, require additional progress report meetings of a formal or informal nature as they feel necessary. The events specified above are the minimum formal meetings required by the course.


  1. To review the team's proposal, prior to the presentation of the proposal to the host organization.
  2. To meet with the team from time to time during the semester to provide council and review its progress. The advisor may be viewed as a consultant to the team and may assist the team with problems they encounter.
  3. To attend the presentation of the results of the study to the host organizations in in BC 221, December 8, from 6:50 to 8:10 PM, if their schedule allows it.
  4. To provide input to the course administrator in the evaluation of the team performance.


  1. To meet with and assist host firms in the preparation of project problem statements.
  2. To meet with students and explain the course, present the problem statements and determine the individual students'preferences.
  3. To determine how many and which projects can be undertaken, to form the student teams, and to assign each team a project.
  4. To match a faculty advisor with each project team.
  5. To advise the students of their team assignment, faculty advisor and project problem.
  6. To advise the participating organization of the project, the student teams and the faculty advisor.
  7. To check with the faculty advisors and participating organization during the semester to ensure satisfactory progress.
  8. To attend the formal team presentations during the semester.
  9. To obtain input from faculty advisors and representatives of the participating organization regarding the experience during the semester and the evaluation of the performance of the project teams.
  10. To process the final grades for all students.


The final grade in this course will be determined primarily on the basis of the formal proposal, progress report and final report. The evaluation of the team members' performance by the host organization will also be considered in determining the final grade. Any grade is subject to appeal. It may be changed at the sole discretion of the course administrator and may go up or down based upon the review.

This page is maintained by Al Bento who can be reached at abento@ubalt.edu. Although we will attempt to keep this information accurate, we can not guarantee the accuracy of the information provided. This page was last updated on August 22, 2005.