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INF1505

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Contents

Introduction to business information systems

Introduction

This module is a basic introduction to Information Systems. Topics covered include computer hardware and software, data storage and organizaton, telecommunications, networks and how all these components fit into Business Information Systems.

The Unisa syllabus

  1. Introduction to Information Sysyems
  2. Harware and Software
  3. Organizing Data and Information
  4. Computer Networks
  5. Operational Systems
  6. Management Information and Decision Support Systems
  7. Knowledge Management and Specialised Information System
  8. Systems Development
  9. Security, Privacy and Ethical Issues in Information Systems

The INF1505 textbook

Prescribed textbook

ISBN 9781408008843
Title: Fundamentals of Business Information Systems
Authors: Ralph Stair, George Reynolds and Thomas Chesney
Edition: 1st
Publisher: Cengage Learning
Year published: 2008
Year prescribed: 2011

Recommended reading

The INF1505 exam

Past exam papers

The exam in Oct/Nov 2011

The exam consisted of 60 multiple choice questions of 1 point each, filled in on answer sheet. It exam paper was 24 pages - fairly long - but contained quite a few diagrams and pictures that formed part of the questions.

The exam tested nothing but your ability to retain random facts in the book (mostly the tabular and graphic ones that are easy to convert to questions). If you're good at storing information, you are going to be good in this (but then at a lot of things). You are not going to be good at "Business Information Systems", or be better at being an analyst, or understand your organisation or future job or the role you play. Fortunately, if you have been working in Information Systems for several years, your experience will give you a distinct advantage if you've already dealt with the concepts in the book in a largish corporate environment. You could answer most of these questions on intuition alone.

Questions were ALL basically copy paste of the manual, word for word with then options to pick from. Sometimes they took segments from the book and changed the wording in a subtle way. Some questions were extremely easy, most were midrange and a few were just silly and had no meaning for even asking them unless you have a photographic memory.

Here's an example of a question that was asked:

  • Decision Support Systems allow decisions makers to _______ questions. Executive Support Systems allow high-level management to _______ questions.
    1. Ask, answer
    2. Answer, ask
    3. Support, ask
    4. Ask, support

This question was a word for word copy of an obscure line in the study manual. If you didn't STORE this line you wouldn't know it. It means nothing for your ability to make something with this subject in future, only your ability to store information.

If you reviewed the previous exam paper you would have immediately had a sense of deja vu. The diagrams are the same, some of the questions are exactly the same, even the order of the questions were the same, but there were subtle changes to most of them. Most of the easy questions were the ones that were copied word for word from the previous paper. Unfortunately there were not enough to make a difference, or make it easier.

If you're writing this exam fresh out of school or similar (less than 25 years old, or not in IT), this is going to be a HORRIBLE exam and you'd better be mentally prepared and ready to take in a huge amount of information to pass it. A good strategy for multiple choice questions is always to read the question quickly, identify the obviously wrong answers and limit off the options immediately. Then re-read the question and then filter out the others.

The questions in the exam are in sequence of the chapters. Meaning, if you get confused on the probable right answer because there are definitely two (there are a few like that), keep in mind at what chapter the question is in based on the questions around it.

The exam in Oct/Nov 2006

This was a lot harder than all the previous assignments and the Mock Exam. 40 points multiple choice and the rest were long questions. Very few questions were asked from the prescribed book. No questions were asked about the things that were in the assignments.

The exam in Oct/Nov 2003

Like the assignments, this was a multiple choice exam (80 questions), though the questions didn't all come word-for-word from the textbook, as was the case in the assignments. There were also many diagrams, and they didn't ask anything from the 'Supplementary information' sections of the study guides.

How to pass INF1505

Study tips

Focus on the side boxes in the manual (the quick fact boxes). Those are THE most important as they contain the definitions which are used, and also some questions are word-for-word dumps of them for "true/false". You have to know them to be able to understand what they are asking too. As stated on the exam notes, this is an information retention test exam. They cover most of the areas in the manual. Focus on the DSS and ESS definitely more than you would normally as they are the most difficult to answer. The hardware and software questions are few and very easy. They also asked quite a few questions on systems development. Security Ethics and Ergonomics only had 3 questions. The other chapters definitely had quite a few more than the last and the first question.

Useful links

The Cengage Learning page for Fundamentals of Business Information Systems contains additional resources for the book including multiple-choice questions and web cases.

Study notes

Download notes

AuthorDownload linkYear createdDescription
Bronwen Textbook Summary 2003 Summary of the textbook by Stair & Reynolds. Facts that came up in the exam have been highlighted.
Debbie Textbook Summary 2009 Syllabus summary
       

Create notes online

Student opinions

Student survey

Pros of INF1505

  • The assignments are all multiple-choice, making this one of the easier first-year modules.

Cons of INF1505

  • There is no need to remember any of this subject. The procedures, processes and knowledge you learn from this is instantly available on the Web, when you need it. The exam would be more appropriate if it was an application of knowledge.
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