This project brief is based on the official assessment notice issued to the 2008-09 IPT class. The original notice, in PDF form, can be downloaded from the HSC IPT section.

Introduction

Information systems arise out of problems, needs and opportunities that involve people and data. The development and implementation of an effective information system requires the combination of a broad range of knowledge and skills, including a firm grasp of the information processes, the creativity to construct an unidentified solution to a poorly defined problem, and a command of numerous project management techniques.

Project Scenario

James Ruse Agricultural High School is currently interested in developing an intranet site that: 
  • engages student learning,
  • empowers better teaching practice, and
  • enriches school life.
The school is commissioning the apocalipticDESIGN team1 to develop this intranet. As part of the team, students are to design and produce an information system with the purpose of delivering online content that achieves the goals stated above within a specified period of time. 

The users of the system will be staff and students of the school, as well as community members (e.g. parents). The participants are the school intranet co-ordinator (Mr. Woo), teacher-in-charge of the LAN (Mr. Widmer), selected members of staff, and the apocalipticDESIGN team. The hardware and software you will use includes the school network resources, the structured wiki application provided by Google Sites2, text processors and multimedia software.

Assessment Components

Project Prospectus

(Due Term 4, Week 10: Thursday 18 December, 2008) – 12 marks
Each student must produce a project prospectus that identifies project personnel, objectives, a realistic potential project timeline (in the form of a Gantt chart3) and available resources4. The prospectus will form the core planning document for each student’s work, and must be accompanied by a context diagram based upon the school intranet site as the central information system.

Project Register 

(Ongoing; ceases Term 2, Week 10: Friday 10 July, 2009) – 44 marks
Each student must maintain a project register in which they record their progress. This must be significantly updated at least once a fortnight, with reports on all actions and developments associated with the project. The following items (and more, if they are relevant to the project) should all be added onto the register in real time as the project progresses:
  • Design decisions
  • Creation of content or features in the information system
  • Modifications to the system
  • Alternative ideas being considered
  • Communications with system users or participants
  • Results of testing and feedback received
  • Updates to the project timeline (whether the original schedule is adhered to or not)
The register must also include comments and documentation on how the developing system relates to key parts of the IPT course that will be covered within the project timeline; some of these will be explained and specified during class time, while others will be up to students to write independently based on their understanding of how various aspects of the project demonstrate or relate to parts of the IPT course.

The register may be updated more frequently than once a fortnight, but no less. This is to ensure that steady progress is made throughout the specified time for the project’s completion.

Final Release 

(Due Term 2, Week 10: Friday 10 July, 2009) – 44 marks
Each student’s editing access to their intranet site will be removed at 3:05pm on Friday 10 July. The site in its state at that time will hence become the final release of their information system. The project register will also be closed from updates and edits at this time. 

The site that each student develops will be assessed primarily in terms of how effectively it achieves the school’s three goals for its intranet site.

All three components of the project will be marked in accordance with the HSC syllabus outcomes being assessed within this task (see below).

Assessed Outcomes

The following outcomes in the Board of Studies IPT Syllabus will be assessed in this project.

H1.1 Applies and explains an understanding of the nature and function of information technologies to a specific practical situation
H1.2 Explains and justifies the way in which information systems relate to information processes in a specific context
H2.2 Develops and explains solutions for an identified need which address all of the information processes
H3.1 Evaluates and discusses the effect of information systems on the individual, society and the environment
H4.1 Proposes and justifies ways in which information systems will meet emerging needs
H6.1 Analyses situations, identifies needs, proposes and then develops solutions
H7.1 Implements and explains effective management techniques
H7.2 Uses methods to thoroughly document the development of individual and team projects

Notes

  1. apocalipticDESIGN is the corporate pseudonym given to the 2008-09 IPT class. Its name is a play on the word ‘apocalyptic’ (which means revelatory, unveiling, or illuminating).
  2. Google Sites is the service that provides the infrastructure for Woo Random Files .
  3. This Gantt chart must make schedule allowances for initial design, collection of data, implementation of a system prototype, creation of documentation, end user and participant testing, and further development based on user feedback. These are the essential elements of the project timeline – you are welcome to add further elements, or divide these elements into more specific aspects.
  4. See pp2-3 in Information Processes and Technology: HSC Course (Ware, Cheleski & Chivers, 2001).