2. Information and systems

From WikiEducator
Jump to: navigation, search

We talk about information, but what is it specifically? What kinds of systems are associated with information? In this module, 2. Information and Systems we look at these basic ideas and start putting them together to build something that does work and benefits the users.

Learning outcomes

  • recognize the benefits and dangers associated with computer information systems
  • select web sites that provide additional insight into the issues
  • examine issues raised in discussions
  • write thoughtful responses to questions asked

Keywords and concepts

  • information - input, output, data, messages, transactions, databases, media - images, video, audio, file formats, web, cloud computing, social media, security, integrity, privacy, access, communications, messages, transactions, internet, scale, globalization, artificial intelligence [6, 9]

Selected Media

  • Optional - Tomorrow's Technology and You - Chapter 7. Database Applications and Privacy Implications

Reference - IT Industry publications

  • ComputerWorld - covers a wide range of technology topics, including software, security, operating systems, mobile, storage, servers and data centers, and ...more
  • InfoWorld - for IT managers and decision makers to identify new products and strategies to modernize IT
  • Datamation - News and analysis for IT managers, including coverage of IT salaries and certifications, cloud computing, open source, mobile apps, virtualization, data center, networks, security, storage ...

Free books

  • Distributed Proofreaders provides a web-based method to ease the conversion of Public Domain books into e-books. By dividing the workload into individual pages, many volunteers can work on a book at the same time, which significantly speeds up the creation process. http://www.pgdp.net/c/

Related or interesting

  • Podcast: Can 'friendly' AI save humans from irrelevance or extinction? - The podcast is an interview between Dan Farber, editor-in-chief of CNET News.com and Eliezer Yudkowsky, co-founder of the Singularity Institute for Artificial Intelligence. Yudkowsky talks about the future of artificial intelligence and the contradiction between human and artificial intelligence development.

Study questions

  • What are some examples of sources for input to an information system?
  • Name some examples of information system outputs?
  • What is "cloud computing"?
  • List some security issues that need to be considered when working with sensitive customer information such as credit card numbers?
  • What can you do to protect your privacy online?


  1. Before you start the reading and the assignments, take a few minutes to think about what you already know about the topic - Information and Systems. Write a sentence or two about this in the I know... discussion.

  2. Read a couple of the selections in the Suggested media list for this module. Study Tip: If taking notes in class helps you learn, try making notes as you go through the selected media. Many students find that just doing something active while they read or listen helps them focus and learn the information being presented.

  3. Choose a word from the Keywords list for this module, and find a web article that provides information about the word and how it relates to the course. Post the word, link to your selected web article, and a brief description about your selection to the discussion Information and Systems keywords. Who is the target audience for the resources you select - general, advanced, IT professional? Include a question for discussion. Follow links provided by 3 other students, review their suggested articles, and write a brief reply to the author's question for each.

    Note: For these and other search assignments, check the Open Textbooks - Computer Science listing as these are good sources of information related to this course. These are research assignments so searching beyond Wikipedia is required.

  4. If you haven't read the course Syllabus , do it NOW. There is a lot of important information here. Dues dates are listed in the Syllabus.

  5. Research is important in information systems development. Keeping up with what is new in your industry, identifying the latest trends and competition, finding new products, tools and off-the-shelf applications all require research. Learning academic research practices will help you in school, but they will also be important in business. Many of the assignments in this course require finding and discussing current web articles related to the chapter topic. You need to be able to find web resources that apply to the topics being discussed. Review these articles - Research Process, Citing Sources information, and Recommended Search Strategy: Analyze your topic & Search with peripheral vision. Based on the reading, take the quiz Research Process and Citing Sources.

  6. Commercial and proprietary applications - Now you can buy applications to download and install on your computer or smartphone. These are programs that provide functions and perform specific work. Search for an example of an Application that interests you. What does it do? Why is it interesting? How was it developed? Post a link to the web site, along with a brief description of the system and why you selected this one, to the discussion topic Examples of Applications.

  7. Information systems - These are programs that are used by companies, governments, organizations to help manage the information associated with running their business. These include everything from payroll process, running automated banking systems, allowing air traffic controls to keep airplanes a safe distance apart and bill you for you phone usage. Search for an example of an Information System that interests you. What does it do? Why is it interesting? How was it developed? Post a link to the web site, along with a brief description of the system and why you selected this one, to the discussion topic Examples of Information Systems.

  8. Throughout the course, you will be preparing a systems development presentation over a number of weeks. For the Final project, you will be writing collaborative with other students in the WikiEducator wiki. You have to have an account and log in to edit WikiEducator pages. So you will need to have your own WikiEducator account. In the top right corner of the WikiEducator page, there is a link to create account. Follow the link and create your own WikiEducator account. You will automatically get a personal web page that you can edit and add to. Make sure it is open in edit mode - check the indicator near the top of the page. Write 1-2 sentences about your interest in this course CIS 50 Introduction to Computers, Data Processing, and Applications, and indicate that you are a student in CIS50. Then scroll down to the bottom of the page and click on the Save page button.
    Editing help is available - there is a link to the Editing help page at the bottom of the Edit page.

  9. Post a link to your new personal page in the discussion topic WikiEducator User pages. Visit the pages of 2 other students.

  10. Begin exploring WikiEducator by searching for a topic of interest to you. Post a link to that WikiEducator article in the Exploring WikiEducator discussion topic, along with a brief description of the article and why you selected this article. Visit 3 other WikiEducator articles suggested by other students. Write a brief reply about one.

  11. Reflection - What is one surprising new thing that you learned about Information from the readings and assignments? Why was this a surprise? Submit your reply in the I Think... 2 assignment.

Information Systems Lifecycle Project

For Information Systems Lifecycle Project, you will be describing each phase of an information systems development process for a specific system. You can select one of the examples listed below, or you can select one of your own - something of interest to you or applicable to your job, for example.

  • buy a book online - paper, ebook
  • mobile service app - find a Girl Scout cookie sales location near you
  • multi-player Scrabble app
  • bank ATM cash withdrawal
  • NASA Mars rovers "Spirit", "Opportunity" and "Curiosity"
  • car manufacturing
  • company payroll system
  • the next "killer app"


WikiEducator (WE) believes learning materials should be free for all students of the world. WE invest in educators to share knowledge freely.

There is a lot of interest in Information Systems. Although much has been written, there is still a need to have good resource for providing links and commentary about the information. That is what we will be doing during this course. The course assignments include locating web resources about all the topics we cover, and "publishing" the results as WikiEducator pages - a free online resource provided for educational use.

You are doing interesting and important work for your own learning. You are also an educator who has knowledge to share. When you post to the course discussions, other students can read and learn from your work. By adding to the WikiEducator pages, anyone anywhere with internet access can benefit from your work!

We will be using WikiEducator for several different activities.

  • links and commentary for each course topic - collection of individual research by topic
  • lifecycle development projects - individual, new section added each week - your User page
  • final projects - small group collaborations, revisit and select and annotate "best" resources as project pages

WikiEducator is based on the MediaWiki software which makes it easy for everyone to participate in collaborative writing. This is the same software that Wikipedia uses. The current version of the page is always available. Any changes are automatically recorded in the page history - who made the changes or additions, when, and what the changes were. If necessary, it is possible to "roll back" - to return the page to a previous version. This is not usually necessary, but it is nice to know this is available.

2012.01.23 - 743, 2012.01.13 - 382, 2011.12.31 - accessed 335 times