IS2000 Principles of Information Science

Fall 2010, Prof. Carole Hafner
Contact Info:   tel. 617-373-5116, Room 446 WVH
Office Hours: Monday and Thursday 4-6 p.m.


Weekly schedule of topics and required readings

Course administration and rules

Class notes, assignments, and other resources

Schedule of guest lectures

I. Introduction

This course begins your study of information science -- a field that focuses on the relationship between information systems and their users.  We live in what is often called the "Information Age" because of the growing importance of information (and information-related skills) in our society.  The study of information cannot go very far without encountering the role of information technology (IT) -- in other words, computers and communication networks.  Information technology enables many of society's information-dependent institutions to function.  For example, our financial system (including banks, credit cards, and the stock market) could not exist in their present form without computer-based IT.  In addition, IT has changed the way people communicate with each other.  Information scientists are just beginning to study and understand the impact of email, wikis, social networks, and text messaging on human behavior and relationships.

As a result of taking this course, students will:
  1. Develop "organizational awareness" of the technical, economic, and social issues that arise when designing and managing information systems in organizations
  2. Understand of the space of applications of information technology, and (to the extent this is understood), what works and what doesn't, and why
  3. Learn to apply several formal approaches to modeling information organization and informed decision making
  4. Continue to develop good research and professional communication (i.e., writing) skills.
The prerequisites are CS 2500, Fundamentals of Computer Science, and CS 1800, Discrete Structures.

A textbook is assigned: Introduction to Information Systems: Supporting and Transforming Business, 3rd edition, by Rainer and Cegielski.  Other readings will be assigned, which will be handed out or accessible on the Web. 

A major term paper is required, that will demonstrate the ability to apply the theories and concepts studied in the course, and the professional communication skills developed. Each student is required to present their term paper to the class in a 15- or 20-minute talk with slides.

II. Weekly Schedule of Topics and Assigned Readings

WEEK TOPICS                                                                                
  Assigned Reading              

PART I. Organizations and Information Systems




Course overview; What is IS?  Organizations and IT

Organizations and IT (cont.); Traditional Information systems

Recent developments: e-Commerce; e-Government

Cutomer Relationship Management; Mobile Commerce

Kling; Rainer, Ch. 1

Rainer Ch. 2, 8

Rainer Ch. 6
Anderson article
Mergel article, pp. 1-27

Rainer Ch. 9, 7

Part II.Modeling information and decision making

10/5& 10/8





Probability (review); Decision Trees

Guest Lecture: Prof. David Lazer, CCIS and Political Science: "Cyberspace, Network Science, and Social Behavior"
Discuss Term Projects; Data and Information Models

Exam #1
Guest Lecture: Prof Yang Lee, Management Information Systems: "Enterprise Information Systems"

Data and Information Models (cont.); Taxonomies; Ontologies

Decision Tree Primer Ch 1
Decision Tree Primer Ch 3

Term Project Description

Noy/McGuiness: Ontology101

Part III. Behavioral and Social Informatics







Information Security
Guest Lecture: Prof. Stephen Intille, CCIS: "Computers can revolutionize health care"

Information Security (cont.); Innovation Diffusion

Learning from Failure

Impact of computers on society (in general)

Thanksgiving recess -- no class

Intellectual Property;  Discuss final presentations

Social Engineering article

CyberThreats report


Brey article
Is Google making us stupid?

4 short CACM articles  1  2  3  4

Part IV. Student presentations


Student presentations

Student presentations

Student presentations 1:00 - 3:00 p.m.

III. Course administration and rules

The student's grade will be based on homework  (30%), two  in-class exams (30%), a term paper and presentation (30%), and class attendance/participation (10%).  Some assignments will be focused on developing critical reading, research and writing skills.

Homework 1 will consist of a collection of short writing assignments, which will be graded: Excellent, Satisfactory, Unsatisfactory, or 0 (for not submitted).  If Unsatisfactory, there will be a chance to do a makeup assignment.  The lowest-graded assignment from homework 1 will be dropped. There will be 3-5 guest lectures by experts in several IT application areas.  Attendance at the guest lectures is required, and  a 1-page commentary on each invited talk will be part of Assignment 1.

Academic Honesty: Work assigned to an individual or a group must be done ONLY by that individual or the people in that group.  When material is quoted or derived from outside sources. those sources must be given the proper credit.  Plagiarism or cheating will result in an official University disciplinary review.

Late Homework:  Assignment 1 papers must be handed in as hard copy in class on the due date (or within 24 hours).  The other (major) assignments will be submitted using Blackboard unless otherwise specified.  All of your work should have a professional appearance, and include your name, the name of the course, a title that identifies the assignment, and the date. Homework will be accepted up to 24 hours late without any penalty.  After that, late homework will be penalized by 10% of the maximum grade per week.  This will be handled on Blackboard by having two assignments defined for each actual assignment: one for on-time work which will enforce the deadline, and one for late work.

Missed exams: There are no makeup exams in this course.  An unexcused absence for an exam results in a grade of 0. If a missed exam is excused for legitimate medical or family emergency reasons, the course grade will be based on the student's other work in the course.

Last modified: September 16, 2010