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Welcome students, I look forward to working with you this semester, check this site frequently for updates and assignments.

~  JON ~
IST 331



~ IST 331~

IST 331: Organization and Design of Information Systems:
A Human Centered Design Approach to Users and System Principles

“The people who use technology must be considered part of the systems that they use.” – Frank E. Ritter

HOME: 245-3967 CELL:262-0636 
EMAIL:  jpt16@psu.edu or jontrosky@aol.com                        

SHOULD KNOW and HAVE: Microsoft Word, Power Point, how to do Internet research and correctly cite information gleamed from sites; some knowledge or familiarity of Adobe Photoshop; how to use Google Docs; be able to talk to people and ask questions. You will also need to know how to tell time, the definition of due date and deadline and a desire to discover and analyze.

COURSE DESCRIPTION: This course looks at the user (the human element) who is a key part of the success or failure of technology and information systems. This course looks at the people who use computers and information systems and asks:

  • What do they need to successfully use such systems?;
  • Why do these people do what they do when they use computers?;
  • What demographics need to be known to make the user successful?;
  • How do those involved in the development of information systems learn about the users?

Additionally, the course will research types of learning processes -- the cognitive, physical and social aspects of using technology.

Upon completion of this course, students should be able to:
1.  Understand better the users of information systems.
2.  Evaluate behavior of various technology users and compare information with others.
3.  Develop models of user behavior to apply to different scenarios and occupations.
4.  Recognize IT design issues users face in various occupations and analyze what may
      have been factors that created problems in them.
5.  Dissect and discuss popular computer formats and how such formats affect the user.
      (i.e. in social networks, e-commerce, IT business structures and functions)
6.   Learn, recognize, research and use appropriate methods of organization
      to communicate a specific idea, direction or plan. (ADDIE)
7.   Employ language appropriate for various communications of different systems.
8.   Research the group process and the human element when dealing with technology
9.   Analyze graphic design and discuss its importance with users of technology
10. Present ideas using public speaking skills to a classroom of peers in oral, written and
      visual formats.


SEQUENCE OF TOPICS (in no particular order):
1.   Why do we need Human Centered Design (HCD) in technology?       
2.   User characteristics – bodies, behavior, thinking and groups
3.   Design – its successes, failures and emotions involved                                                                                            
4.   The physical aspects of users and technology
5.   Human-computer communication                    
6.   Cognitive capabilities – mental representations, problem solving and decision making
7.   Social cognition and organizational processes involving networks and team work
8.   Understanding task and hierarchical analysis (as it applies to email, cell phone,
      social network and Web site users)
9.   Good and bad reasons for user-testing and setting up a summary of human behavior
10.  Evaluation methods, field studies, prototypes and user needs analysis

You will be given grades for some or all of the following assignments for this course:

1. Attendance and participation (extremely important)              
2. One or more group projects       
3. One or more oral presentations    
4. Research projects that will be applied to final project
5. A notebook showing continual progress in one or more projects for class
6. Final cumulative test to show knowledge of class
•    Information that will guide the class will be from “The ABCs of Humans: Building Models of Users in Designer’s Heads” by Frank E, Ritter, Elizabeth Churchill and Gordon D. Baxter. It is a work in progress and this class will be part of the overall discovery of new and different information that may contribute to the further development of human-centered design in technology. YOU will not need to buy a book BUT you will have to keep notes and do research to keep up with the class.
•    An external device to transport and save your work (flash drive)

OTHER COURSE REQUIREMENTS: This course requires the student to make at least one and possibly more presentations before the class. At the very least, this class will be a SHARED experience and one of discovery of information. The student will also be conducting research that will involve talking to other people outside of class and maybe elsewhere by email, texting, chats or by phone.

The student will need to be able to work independently on a computer, have keyboarding ability, know or be familiar with MS Word and Google Docs, use the Internet as a research and reference tool, be prepared to analyze situations and also work cooperatively in a group. 



•    You are expected to attend and participate IN EVERY CLASS.  Because of the "active and open learning" nature of this class, it is important to attend. There is no way to “catch up” since there is no book for you to read on your own. YOU will need to attend to understand this very fluid course. I do not have time to repeat a lecture to you if you miss a class. If a class is missed, YOU are responsible for getting the notes or catching up. On my part, I will provided an overview for each class so if you must miss class, this overview will help you understand what we covered each week. The overview does not replace what occurs in class.

•    If you are absent for TWO classes, your grade will be reduced by one step. This means if your final grade is a "B" and you are absent for more than two classes, your grade would be reduced to a "C+".

A death in the family, travel planned prior to the semester that is non-refundable (I must know this at the beginning of the semester or at least two weeks in advance for the absence to be waived) or a contagious illness will be accepted and not be used toward your grade. A school activity that is verifiable from someone at PSU (faculty or staff notification) is also acceptable for an absence. If illness forces you out of class for more than a week, discussion is needed with me to determine your outcome in the class. You are still responsible, no matter what happens, for obtaining notes and information on the missed class(es).

IMPORTANT: You have 24 hours before or after class to tell me why you are going to be or were absent from class. If I do not get a text, email or call from you, your absence will be considered an unexcused absence and it will be used against your final grade.

•    Participation is defined as being PREPARED AND ON TIME to class (unless there is a pre-approved reason for you being late). It also means speaking up in class. 

•    TARDINESS will not be tolerated and it will reduce your grade if you are late for more than two classes without prior authorization or knowledge by me (Again, if I am aware of an issue that forces you to be late, then this will be waived. Situations such as this must be given to me BEFORE it happens, not afterward. Email or text me if it is an immediate issue). 

•    Papers that are turned in after they are due will also reduce the grade of the project point total on the assignment by 10 POINTS each week it is late. You have until midnight of the night of class to get work to me if you miss the class.



Your grade is based on a point system as explained below (as per the PSU handbook).
The grades of A, B, C, D, and F indicate the following qualities of academic performance. The information in italics is my criteria for such a grade:
A -  (EXCELLENT) Indicates exceptional achievement. 4.0 (Perfect or near perfect)
B -  (GOOD) Indicates extensive achievement. 3.0 (Minor mistakes in content, grammar)
C -  (SATISFACTORY) Indicates acceptable achievement. 2.0 (Many minor mistakes and poor proof reading to correct mistakes. Student did assignment but satisfied bare minimum of assignment and lacked depth of understanding.)
D -  (POOR) Indicates only minimal achievement. It indicates that the student may be seriously handicapped in carrying a more advanced course for which this course is a specific prerequisite. 1.0 (Barely understood assignment, showed no effort to invest time in making the assignment better and lacked effort in appearance, content or substance.)
F - (FAILURE) Indicates inadequate achievement necessitating a repetition of the course to secure credit.
The grades of A, A-, B+, B, B-, C+, C, D, and F indicate a gradation in quality from Excellent to Failure and are assigned the following grade-point equivalents: 
A 4.00;  A- 3.67;  B+ 3.33;  B 3.00;  B- 2.67;  C+ 2.33;  C 2.00;  D 1.00;  F 0

Grade points are determined by multiplying the grade-point equivalent of the grade earned by the number of credits for the subject, e.g., BUS COM 202D 3 credits, with a grade of A (grade-point equivalent 4.00) yields 12 grade points.

HOW YOU WILL BE GRADED ON YOUR ASSIGNMENTS: You will be given a letter grade or a numeric grade based on the type of test or assignment given. If you get a multiple choice test, it will be based on 100 points. The letter grades will be assigned the following points:

A-    96-100                A minus  92-95                      B plus  89 - 91 
B-    85-88                   B minus 81-84                       C plus  77-80
C-    73-76                   D  68-72                                 F  below 68

MY TEACHING STYLE: I am a strong believer in self-learning. I can lecture and teach but it is you who make the decision as to whether or not you will learn and retain.

I do not give grades, you earn them. Your success in this class depends on how much effort you put into it. There is a wealth of information in this class. I realize life situations can get in the way of your educational goals but that is what happens in the real world as well. There is a lot of work for you to do in this class. If you pace yourself and do not get behind, your experiences and outcome will be a success.


ACADEMIC INTEGRITY: Work that is done in this class is expected to be your own. There are many examples out there that I will encourage you to read and use as a guide. Anything you submit or write must be your own words and ideas. If you are using someone else’s ideas, theories or information, you will need to cite who said it, when they said it and where it was said. Penn State has a policy on plagiarism and you are advised to be familiar with it. See http://www.psu.edu/dept/ufs/policies/47-00.html#49-20 

PLAGIARISM: Documented plagiarism will result in failure of this course. Additionally, any student caught plagiarizing or cheating may be subject to further university action. 
PHYSICAL, LEARNING DISABILITIES: Penn State University is committed to the policy that all persons shall have equal access to programs, facilities, admission and employment without regard to personal characteristics not related to ability, performance or qualifications as determined by the university policy or by the state or federal authorities. PSU does not discriminate against any person because of age, ancestry, color, disability or handicap, national origin, race, religious creed, gender, sexual orientation or veteran status.

In compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and Penn State policy, please inform me as soon as possible if you have a disability documented by Penn State. If you have a disability that needs accommodation, PSU may have services available to you. If there is something that makes you uncomfortable, come to me and we may be able to alleviate the discomfort. I cannot control the heat or air conditioning in the rooms so if you are someone who is always cold, please brings a sweater or jacket with you. If I speak too fast, too loud, not loud enough, or my presentations are unclear or unreadable, please let me know.

FINALLY: This is a busy course and your grade is based heavily on your assignments. There may only be one or two tests so your assignments are key to you getting a good grade.