4. Control

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4. Control

Other components of information systems are the software and programming to transform the inputs into outputs, and to control the work of the hardware in the system. This includes everything from the 1's and 0's that are the basic building blocks of all digital systems to complex autonomous systems that do all the high precision calculations in the blink of an eye to get the Mars probe launched.

Learning outcomes

  • understand issues associated with controlling information systems
  • find web resources appropriate to the topic
  • apply the concepts associated with control to sample system


  • control - software, programming, databases, creative commons, user interface, programming languages, systems development methodologies, rapid development, project management, change management, risk analysis [4, 10]

Selected media

  • Optional - Tomorrow's Technology and You - Chapter 4. Software Basics: The Ghost in the Machine

Reference - Adaptive Technology

Study questions

  • What are control systems controlling?
  • What are some examples of operating systems?
  • Why are there so many different programming languages available?
  • What are some file types?
  • What are the important advantages of databases?
  • What are some of the important functions of a database management system?


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

  2. Read, view, listen to the selections in the Suggested media list for this module.

  3. Choose 3 words from the Keywords list for this module. Find a web article that provides information about the words and how they relates to the course. Post the words, links to your selected web articles, and a brief description about your selection for each, to the discussion Control keywords. Follow links provided by 3 other students, review their suggested articles, and write a brief reply to the author for each.

  4. DeAnza provides support to individuals with disabilities through a broad range to resources to help them through education and training. People with disabilities are able to participate more fully in work and careers through the use of Adaptive Technology. Here are some websites with good information on Adaptive Technology.
    * AbilityHub - http://www.abilityhub.com
    * Abledata - http://www.abledata.com/
    * Indiana University also has a site with a lot of information on AT - http://www.indiana.edu/~iuadapts/sitemap.html

    Another instructional media is interactive content, created and delivered using technologies like ShockWave. WebAIM has created several simulations in Shockwave that demonstrate web content accessibility problems for people who have vision disabilities. http://www.webaim.org/simulations
    There is a great site from Fresno State that explains (with quicktime videos!) a number of strategies to design "access-friendly" websites. http://www.calstate.edu/accessibility/resources/
    Try one of the simulations. Does it work on your computer? Does the simulation give you a better understanding of the problems faced by computer users with vision disabilities? Comment on these experiences. Post a 2-3 sentence response to Disabilities and Accessibility discussion.

  5. Following along on this theme, consider the work that is being done to provide or restore physical functionality with prostheses and implants. Current research and innovative use of technologies and materials are allowing many individuals to return to activities that were once unimaginable. Find an article or a video that discusses research and development of prosthetics. Post a link to your selection and a brief description to the Prostheses and implants discussion. Include information about the technology, engineering and materials involved.

  6. Design challenge - What are some of the ways information systems are being designed to meet the needs of users with disabilities? Suggest some specific accommodations that you might incorporate into your Lifecycle information system in 2-3 sentences. Post your reply to the discussion topic Design for users.

  7. Using a wiki is another way to work collaboratively. The wiki technology at WikiEducator.org (like Wikipedia) allows many people to write to the same "documents" at any time. This way, everyone can contribute, fix errors, add information, even delete information if necessary. There is a history kept that records all the changes, so there is always backup for any modifications. You will be working in groups on WikiEducator pages later in the course. Take a look at the other options and links provided at the top and left of the WikiEducator page. In the discussion topic WikiEducator functions, post a note describing one wiki function that you think will be useful and why.

  8. Information System Lifecycle Project - Continuing the process of building your selected Information System topic that you will "develop" over the duration of the course, this week will focus on system design. There are two separate levels of design and it is helpful to consider them as distinct. The "what" specifications consider overall business processes, inputs, outputs, functionality as seen from the outside. The detailed design - "how" specs, examine the actual internal working of the information system. Outline the major functions as the "what" specs. Then break out the actual "hows" for several functions in your selected information system. Post this information to the discussion topic Lifecycle - Design Specifications. Also, add the same information to your own WikiEducator user page.

  9. Reflection - What was ONE important thing you learned this week? What was ONE point that was not clear? Your response should be two or three paragraphs. Submit to I Think... assignment.

2012.01.13 - accessed 224 times