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School of Environment, Education and Development

Student and lecturer in a geography lab
MSc Geographical Information Science
Gain thorough expertise in spatial data analysis for a range of specialist careers.

MSc Geographical Information Science / Course details

Year of entry: 2018

Course unit details:
Fundamentals of Information and Information Systems

Unit code MGDI60481
Credit rating 15
Unit level FHEQ level 7 – master's degree or fourth year of an integrated master's degree
Teaching period(s) Semester 1
Offered by Global Development Institute
Available as a free choice unit? Yes


The unit will be of particular value for those involved, or likely to be involved, in a planning, management or user role vis-à-vis computerised information systems.



·                An Overview of Information Systems

·                Basic Models Of Information and Information Systems

·                The Value of Information And Decisions

·                Understanding Information Technology and Information Systems

·                Evaluating Information Systems Benefits and Costs

·                Factors Explaining IS Success and Failure

·                Models Explaining IS Success and Failure



Managers are increasingly confronted by a gap between the positive organisational potential of new information systems, and the sometimes negative reality of partial or total failure. This module aims to evaluate both the potential and the reality of IS success/failure through an understanding of information, of information technology, of information systems, and of the contexts – especially those of developing/transitional country organisations – in which these systems are used, analysing causes of IS failure.


Learning outcomes

Category of outcome

Knowledge and understanding

Students should/will (please delete as appropriate) be able to:

- define ‘information’, 'information technology' and ‘information system’

- understand structural and process models of information systems

- compare hard, soft and hybrid perspectives on information systems

- describe the generic role and value of information in organisational tasks of decision-making and communication

- explain how contextual – including developing/transitional economy-specific – factors affect information and information


- describe the components, applications, benefits and costs of organisational information systems

Intellectual skills

- link theory to real-world practice.

- critically analyse different approaches to understanding IS.

Practical skills

- evaluate existing information systems using models including design—reality gaps

- evaluate the role of information and information systems in an organisation with which they are familiar

- utilise structural and process models of information systems

- analyse an IS and its role in an organisation from a socio- technical perspective

Transferable skills and personal qualities

- group working

- discussion and debating skills

- literature reviewing


Teaching and learning methods



Assessment methods

Assessment task


How and when feedback is provided

Weighting within unit

(if relevant)







Written feedback via Blackboard within 15 working days.





Re-sit Assessment: one essay.





Recommended reading

Alter, S. (2002) Information Systems: A Management Perspective, Addison-Wesley


Bocij, P., Chaffey, D., Greasley, A. & Hickie, S. (2015) Business Information Systems, 5th edn, Pearson, Harlow, UK


Heeks, R. (ed.) (2001) Reinventing Government in the Information Age, Routledge.


Krishna, S. & Madon, S. (2003) The Digital Challenge: Information Technology in the Development, Ashgate


Laudon, K.C. & Laudon, J.P. (2015) Management Information Systems, 14th edn, Prentice Hall, Upper Saddle River, NJ


Development Informatics Working Paper Series, GDI

Study hours

Independent study hours
Independent study 0

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