INF1003 Information Systems, Services and Design

Fall 2010

Important Notice re: video capture


Learning Objectives

Instructors and TAs

Course Structure

Session Locations

Deliverables & Evaluation

Readings & Resources

Weekly Schedule

General Expectations


Learning Objectives:

Students will gain an ability to understand, oversee, and shape the next generation of information systems, services, and practices, based on an understanding of the power, limitations, and interrelatedness of four themes underlying all information systems and services:

A.      Architecture: The principles, organizational structures, communication protocols, and interchange & interoperability standards of contemporary information systems;

B.      Information: the nature, organization, analysis, storage and use of information in the context of information systems and services;

C.      Design: The role of abstraction, formalization, modeling, standards, protocols, and tools in the complex bricolage of contemporary information system design.

D.      Use: The ways in which people define, conceptualize, develop, evaluate, adapt, evolve and sustain information systems, including the role of users, the relation to management and organization, issues of work flow, and imbrication in socio-technical practices;

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Instructors and TAs:

The lectures will be delivered by Kelly Lyons (KL) and Rhonda McEwen (RM).   Tutorials are led by Kelly Lyons (KL), Rhonda McEwen (RM), and Matt Ratto (MR). 

The three instructors will be working with the following TAs to deliver this course: 

·         Steven Chuang, steven.chuang at

·         Zack Hayat, tsahi.hayat at

·         Matt Ramsay, matt.ramsay at

Office Hours:

Instructor / TA

Day / Time


Kelly Lyons

Fridays / 12:30 to 2:00

iSouth: 45 Willcocks St. #314

Rhonda McEwen

Tuesdays /  2:00 to 3:30

iSouth: 45 Willcocks St. #337

Matt Ratto

Wednesdays / 12:00 to 2:00

Bissell #635


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Course Structure:

Three (3) contact hours per week:  1.5 hour lecture and 1.5 hour tutorial in which we discuss and further probe topics covered in the lecture and readings each week.  Occasionally, there will be guests participating in the lectures.  The lectures will be video recorded and available to watch or review within a few hours of the lecture. Students may opt to watch the video recording prior to attending their tutorial section rather than attending in the lecture in person. Students are expected to attend and participate in their tutorial section.  Students will be put into groups (of 3-4 people) within their tutorial section such that the groups will work together on activities during the tutorials and will complete the group portion of assignment 3 together.

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Session Locations:

Lectures are from 4pm until 5:30 on Tuesdays in NF003, Northrop Frye Hall, 73 Queen's Park Cr. E. (Room 003).  Schedule and location details for tutorials can be found here.  We have set things up to ensure that everyone will have access to a desktop or notebook computer for the tutorials.

 If necessary, consult the campus map.

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Deliverables and Evaluation:


Due Date

Percent of Final Grade

Assignment 1:  This is an individual midterm test covering material from the first four weeks of the course. It will be administered on Blackboard and students can do it anytime between Oct. 5 and Oct. 12 (before noon on the 12th) but once started, it will have to be completed in 2 hours.

October 12, noon (online)


Assignment 2:  In this assignment you will develop a high-level proposal that makes a recommendation for an information system to be deployed at a unified command centre in the NP Oil Spill case. As part of this proposal you will include a model of the proposed system. This assignment will be submitted as a paper

November 9 at start of the lecture


Assignment 3:  Designing and implementing a web-based service:

a) Group project design/ implementation, and poster presentation

b) Individual reflection paper

a) December 7 at noon for design / implementation (submitted as a link to your mash-up); December 7 5:00pm for poster presentation

b) December 10 noon in Student Services

a) 30% (group mark)

b) 20% (individual mark)


Papers:  Paper submissions should use the template / format posted on Blackboard. The template contains links and tips as well.

Groups:  Instructors will assign people to groups of 3-4 people in the first couple of weeks of class.  These groups will work together on activities during the tutorials and complete part a) of assignment 3 together.

Poster:  Please note that the iSchool Fall 2010 instructional series will be offering sessions on creating Posters with Punch.  You may find one of these sessions useful.

Modeling: Please note that the iSchool Fall 2010 instructional series will be offering sessions on modeling using Visio.  You may find one of these sessions useful.

More about assignment due dates: Assignments are due at the beginning of class, when they will be collected by tutorial section. However, they will be accepted without penalty until the next day.  After class, assignments should not be submitted to your tutorial instructor, but during regular working hours at the reception desk in the main office, where you'll usually see Christine Chan. After that, they can be deposited in the after hours mail box outside the Dean's office, Bissell 219 (no envelope needed). Any assignment not submitted by first thing the next morning will be considered late, and penalized if no prior arrangement has been made with your tutorial instructor.   As in all assignment submissions, ensure that your name, student number, date, course, tutorial, and assignment appear prominently on the first page, as specified in the MI core assignment template.

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Readings and Resources:

We will draw on information in three textbooks for this course as well as numerous articles as indicated in the Weekly Schedule.  All of the required readings (including textbook sections) will be scanned and uploaded to Blackboard.   A few copies of the first two text books ([SR], and [NHPM]) are available on reserve at the Inforum.  The third text book ([W]) is available online through a creative commons license.

This is a rapidly changing area of study and new readings may be added as appropriate but we will make sure you are aware and will make the readings available.

Text books:

[SR] Stair, R., & Reynolds, G. (2009). Principles of Information Systems (9th edition), Course Technology Press, Cengage Learning, United States.

[NHPM] Norrie, J., Huber, M., Piercy, C., & McKeown, P. (2010). Introduction to Business Information Systems (2nd Canadian Edition), John Wiley & Sons Canada, Ltd.

[W] Walsham, G. (2009). Interpreting Information Systems in Organizations. A Global Text, Available online here.

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Weekly Schedule:

The course is divided into three sections of four weeks each:

Weeks 1-4 Foundations

In this section of the course, we cover fundamental issues in information systems, services, and design.   In the tutorials, we further explore concepts in the lectures through activities in groups.

1         Sept. 14   Architecture: The principles, organizational structures, communication protocols, and interchange & interoperability standards of contemporary information systems.

Required Readings:

a)      [NHPM]:   pages 36-58 and 76-78

b)      [SR]:  pages 4-15 and 28-35


2         Sept. 21  Information: The nature, organization, analysis, storage and use of information in the context of information systems and services.

Required Readings:

a)      [NHPM]: pages 204-213 and 435-438

b)      [SR]:  pages 182-215


3         Sept. 28  Design: The role of abstraction, formalization, modeling, standards, protocols, and tools in the complex bricolage of contemporary information system design.

Required Readings:

a)      [NHPM]:  pages 247-255

b)      [SR]: pages 486-526


4         Oct. 5  Use: The definition, design, development, evaluation, adaptability, evolution and sustainability of information systems, including the role of users, the relation to management and organization, issues of work flow, and imbrication in socio-technical practices.

Required Readings:

a)      [NHPM]: pages 122-132 and 140-142 and 276-295 and 318-323

b)      [SR]: pages 44 to 75

c)       IT World Canada: 12 Technologies That Changed Everything (retrieved: September 7th, 2010); pdf version available on Blackboard


** Assignment 1 available

Weeks 5-8 Scenario Analysis

In this section of the course, we apply the foundations learned in the previous section to an information scenario – the NP Oil Spill Case.

5         Oct. 12  Exploring the definition, design, development, evolution and sustainability of information systems, including the role of users, relation to levels of organization and politics, within the National Petroleum (NP) Oil Spill case.

Required Readings:

a)      McEwen, R. (2010)  National Petroleum Oil Spill case.

b)      [W]: Chapters 1, 2, 3

c)       Winner, L. (1986). Do artifacts have politics?, in The Whale and the Reactor: A Search for Limits in an Age of High Technology, The University of Chicago Press, Chicago.

d)      Cantwell Smith, B. (1996).  Limits of correctness in computers, ed. R. Kling Computerization and controversy, 2nd edition, Academic Press, 810-828.


** Assignment 1 due


6         Oct. 19  Applying an understanding of the nature, organization, analysis, storage and use of information systems and services to the NP Oil Spill case.

Required Readings:

a)      Douligeris, C., Collins, J., Iakovou, E., Sun, P., Riggs, R., & Mooers, C. (1995).  Development of OSIMS: and Oil Spill Information Management System, Spill Science & Technology Bulletin, 2(4): 225-263.

b)      Law, J. (1987). Technology and heterogeneous engineering: The case of Portuguese expansion, in Eds W.E. Bijker, T.P. Law & T. J. Pinch The Social Construction of Technological Systems: New Directions in the Sociology and History of Technology. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 111-134.


7         Oct. 26  Marshalling ideas about the role of abstraction, formalization, modeling, standards, protocols, and tools in the complex bricolage of the NP Oil Spill case.

Required Readings:

a)      Mylopoulos, J. (1998). Information modeling in the time of the revolution. Information Systems, 23(3/4): 127-155.

b)      Hirschheim, R. & Klein, H. (1989).  Four Paradigms of Information Systems Development, Communications of the ACM, 32(10): 1199-1216.

c)       Flanagan, M, Howe, D, & Nissenbaum, H. (2005) "Values at play: design tradeoffs in socially-oriented game design", CHI 05 Proceedings of the SIGCHI conference on Human factors in computing systems, ACM.


8         Nov. 2  Contemplating the principles, organizational structures, communication protocols and interchange & interoperability standards in the NP Oil Spill case.

Required Readings:

a)      Sheth, A. (1998).  Changing focus on interoperability in information systems: From system, syntax, structure to semantics, eds. M. Goodchild, M. Egenhofer, R. Fegeas, and C. Kottman, Interoperating Geographic Information Systems, Kluwer, 1-28.

b)      Allen, B. & Boynton, A. (1991). Information architecture: In search of efficient flexibility, MIS Quarterly, 15(4): 435-445.


Weeks 9-12  Synthesis

In this section of the course, we address cross-cutting themes and topics, pulling together concepts from the previous section and INF1001.

9         Nov. 9  Information Networks: The rise of information and communication technologies in contemporary societies has highlighted the interdependent nature of relationships; person-person, person-machine, machine-person, and machine-machine.  Increasingly, information-rich environments such as workplaces, libraries, museums, and schools may be viewed as complex networks where relationships and interdependencies play a major part in how we experience these environments. 

Required Readings:

a)      Castells, M. (2005).  The network society: from knowledge to policy,  eds. Castells, Manuel and Cardoso, Gustavo, The Network Society: From Knowledge to Policy, Washington, DC: Johns Hopkins Center for Transatlantic Relations, . 3-21.

b)      Gillespie, T. (2006). Engineering a principle: ‘End-to-end’ in the design of the Internet, Social Studies of Science, Sage, 36(3): 427-457.


** Assignment 2 due


10     Nov. 16  IT / IS Strategy: Information systems in organizations.

Guest panel: Richard McDonald, Distinguished Engineer, IBM; Marden Paul, Director Planning, Governance and Assessment, University of Toronto; and Ivan Sestak, IT Coordinator, Faculty of Information. 

Required Readings:

a)      [W]: Chapter 7

b)      Report of the Auditor General of Canada to the House of Commons—Spring 2010, Chapter 1: Aging Information Technology Systems,

c)       Zachary, P. (2009). An operating system for the cloud, Technology Review, 112(5): 86-89.


11     Nov. 23  Service Science: The role of service systems in information systems architecture, information, design, and use.

Required Readings:

a)      Demirkan, H., Kauffman, R. J., Vayghan, J. A., Fill, H.-G., Karagiannis, D., & Maglio, P. P. (2008). Service-oriented technology and management: Perspectives on research and practice for the coming decade. Electronic Commerce Research and Applications, 7: 356—376

b)      Lyons, K. (2010). Service science in iSchools, Presented at the 5th Annual iSchool Conference, February 3-6, 2010, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 5 pages

c)       Lyons, K. (2010). A framework that situates technology research within the field of service science, to appear in Service Systems Implementation, a Volume in Service Science: Research and Innovations (SSRI) Advances of Service Systems, Eds. H. Demirkan, J. C. Spohrer, V. Krishna, 13 pages

d)      Spohrer, J., Vargo, S. L., Caswell, N., & Maglio, P. P. (2008).  The service system is the basic abstraction of service science, in Proceedings of the 41st HICSS, Jan. 2008


12     Nov. 30  History and Future Trends:  A look back and a glimpse into the future.

Required Readings:

a)      Messinger, P. R., Stroulia, E., Lyons, K., Bone, M., Niu, A., Smirnov, K., Perelgut, S. (2009). New directions for social computing in virtual worlds: applications for business and social sciences, Decision Support Systems, 47(3): 204-228.

b)      Eric Paulos, R.J. Honicky, and Ben Hooker (2008) Citizen Science: Enabling Participatory Urbanism in Handbook of Research on Urban Informatics: The Practice and Promise of the Real-Time City.

c)       Hershey, PA: Information Science Reference, IGI Global.

d)      Future of input devices? Brain-computer interfaces

                                                                                 i.            “Shining a light, unlocking a mind”. BLOOM, 17 Feb 2009.

                                                                               ii.            “The future of brain-controlled devices”. CNN. 4 January 2010.

Both last retrieved 24 Nov 2010.

Week 13 Festival Week

During this final week, student groups will present their posters as part of the requirements for Assignment 3.

13     Dec. 7  Posters and Demos

The INF1003 lecture will not be held and, instead, all INF1003 students are invited to participate in the INF1001 class at 2pm which will present an integrative round table where various iSchool faculty members will discuss their teaching specialties and path opportunities.  There are no tutorials after this last lecture.

** Assignment 3 due

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General Expectations:

1.       Communication Policy: Please do not email questions to instructors or TAs.  If you have a question, there is a pretty good chance that other people in the class have the same question or, at least, will benefit from the answer.  Please post all questions to Blackboard (forum threads to be announced) so everyone in the class can benefit from your questions and our answers.  Questions posted to Blackboard will normally be answered within 1 day (except on weekends).

2.       Readings: It is important to complete the required readings before the lecture and your tutorial in order to fully benefit from the lecture and tutorial activities.  You may even want to revisit some between the lecture and tutorial (if there is time).

3.       Late assignments: If you cannot meet a deadline for an assignment please e-mail your tutorial instructor a week before hand, and we will try to find another mutual agreeable deadline.  Unexcused delay will lower your grade automatically one grade (e.g. A-> B+, B+>B).  Another grade will be deducted after three days. Only in quite exceptional circumstances will an assignment be accepted more than one week late.

4.       Academic Integrity: The essence of academic life revolves around respect not only for the ideas of others, but also their rights to those ideas and their promulgation. It is therefore essential that all of us engaged in the life of the mind take the utmost care that the ideas and expressions of ideas of other people always be appropriately handled, and, where necessary, cited. For writing assignments, when ideas or materials of others are used, they must be cited. You may use any formal citation format, as long as it is used consistently in your paper, the source material can be located and the citation verified. What is most important is that the material be cited. In any situation, if you have a question, please post it to Blackboard. Such attention to ideas and acknowledgment of their sources is central not only to academic life, but life in general.  Please acquaint yourself with U of T’s Code of Behaviour on Academic Matters.

5.       Participation and Attendance:  Discussion and interaction in the tutorials are important ways to learn. Sharing your experiences and ideas with your classmates is central to your learning experience in this course.  As such, you should attend and participate in every tutorial.  There will be exercises and discussions that you will participate in within your groups in your tutorial.  Some of the activities will be very helpful in completing your second and third assignments.

6.       Students with Special Needs or Health Considerations:  All students are welcome in this course and we will make every effort to ensure a meaningful, respectful and positive learning experience for everyone. If there are special considerations that you require to help you successfully fulfill the requirements of the course, please feel free to see one of the instructors, the Faculty of Information Student Services, and /or contact the Accessibility Student Office as soon as possible so we can ensure you are able to successfully meet the learning objectives for this course. 

1.       Writing Resources: Please review the material you covered in Cite it Right, familiarize yourself with the How Not to Plagiarize  site and UofT’s policy, and consult the Office of English Language and Writing Support as necessary.

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Video Recording:

Please note that the lectures in INF1003 are being video-recorded for educational purposes. We will be capturing the class slides and video and audio of the instructor.  The camera will capture the front of the lecture hall including the instructor and the slides. If you do not wish to be video or audio recorded, please wait until the end of the video/audio capture to walk to the front of the lecture hall or ask questions.  If you wish to discuss matters further, please contact Kelly Lyons, Rhonda McEwen, or Joan Cherry, Associate Dean, Academic.

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