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INFORMATION SYSTEMS AND ORGANISATIONS 9TH SEPTEMBER 2012

Examination Paper
Answer QUESTION ONE any TWO further questions. Clearly cross out surplus answers. Failure to do this will result in only the first THREE answers being marked.

Time: 3 hours
Any reference material brought into the examination room must be handed to the invigilator before the start of the examination.

CANDIDATES MUST ANSWER QUESTION ONE AND ANY TWO FURTHER QUESTIONS The questions are based around the following case organisation. You should base your answers upon the information in the case. Flexi Uni A medium sized university in a large country offers both undergraduate and postgraduate qualifications subject areas, such as. Humanities including English Literature , modern Languages and Philosophy I.T. and Computer Science Business and Management Applied Sciences including Psychology, Criminology, Forensic Science, Ecology and Environmental Science Around 10% of students are overseas students. Delivery of subject material follows a traditional pattern and includes lectures from subject specialists who are usually required to do research as well as teaching. Recently, in all departments, some teaching only staff have been recruited, although there tends to be disquiet amongst staff about this development because they consider research led teaching to be essential to the student experience. The organisation is managed in a traditional way, with faculties and schools, each having their own administrative support. Emphasis is placed upon 'paper based' processes. Although these have gradually transformed into electronic documents over recent years. The splitting of courses into modules has provided considerable flexibility of provision because of the ability to share the same module between several named courses. The university, in common with most such organisations, adopts a 'batch' approach to course delivery and administration. Students study set modules at set times and summative assessment is completed within the semester, recorded, reported at an examination board and the transcript sent to students. There are a number of manual processes involved in this and it has not changed significantly for many years. At one level it is efficient and makes for careful checking of marks and accuracy of record. However, senior managers at the University consider it over administrated and complex. There are many paper based stages and a lack of automation (for example no automation of the transfer of marks from electronically submitted marking into the student records system, hence unnecessary transcriptions of marks.) With the aim of transforming the scope and profitability of the University's activities. Senior managers wish to introduce a new way of delivering courses to a wider range of students, including; Part-time and flexible learners Students of all ages Students from any part of the world studying using on-line resources and methods of interacting with teaching staff Central to this is the Flexi Uni concept.

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Information Systems and Organisations September 2012 Final NCC Education Ltd 2012

Flexi Uni is a bold initiative to develop a new revenue stream by providing flexible open learning for a large proportion of the degree courses they deliver. Flexi Uni will deliver; Flexible enrolments allowing up to 4 modules at a time to be studied. Students decide how fast to study and how many modules they complete in any period of time. The degree is awarded once the appropriate number of credits have been earned. Assessments may be submitted at any time. There are no written examinations but on-line multiple choice tests, assignments and other forms of flexible assessment will be used. Monitoring of student progression will be continuous and marks and feedback on assessment will be available 1 month after submission. Existing staff and administrators will be required to perform their work in new and different ways for the Flexi Uni Concept to work effectively. In particular; Staff can no longer expect work to be predictable and regular since the timing of, for example, enrolment of students, arrival or assessment and progression of students will now be driven by the students work rate and expectations. New technology will be used by both academic and administrative staff. Delivery online may involve a variety of methods, including but not limited to, chat rooms, discussion forums, pre-recorded and live video lectures and video conferencing. Administration in the new model will require extensive automation rather than manual 'paper based' systems and processes running to fixed timescales and dates. Working more un-social hours may be required of some staff because of students of Flexi Uni living in different time zones. CANDIDATES MUST ANSWER THIS QUESTION QUESTION 1
Marks

a) THREE areas where new I.T. systems are likely to have a big effect on the work of Flexi Uni

compared to a more traditional university are (i) Delivery of learning materials to students, (ii) Administration, marks recording and management of student records, (iii) Student communication and tutorial support by academic staff. In answering the question you MUST relate you discussion to the case by using evidence from the case and argument based upon it. i) Describe how I.T. systems can make contributions in EACH of the THREE areas making clear, using specific examples, what I.T. systems will do. ii) Discuss how you would go about evaluating the success of the I.T. systems you have described in (I) above. iii) Under suitable headings, discuss the required changes in the organisation of Flexi Uni compared to that of traditionally organised university. iv) Who are the main stakeholder groups in the case? Discuss their likely attitudes to the Flexi Uni initiative and what might be done to mitigate the effect of any resistance to proposed changes to working practices.
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Information Systems and Organisations September 2012 Final

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Marks b) How can EACH of the following models be used to help plan for the success of I.T. 12

initiatives in support of Flexi Uni. Illustrate your answers with specific examples from the case study, showing how the models can help design, planning and implementation for I.T. systems. Technology Acceptance Model The DeLone and McLean model
c) Discuss how the Flexi Uni approach may lead to differing forms of organisation to a 8

traditional university. Use theoretical and other materials from the module and examples from the case to illustrate and support your discussion.
Total 50 Marks

CANDIDATES MUST ANSWER TWO FURTHER QUESTIONS QUESTION 2


a) The Flexi Uni type of organisation will be required to perform much more like a commercial 15

enterprise than a traditional university. Using the Anthony triangle and other models, discuss how information systems at Strategic, Tactical and Operational levels will support decisions at the different levels.
b) Explain and illustrate how the value chain of Flexi Uni will differ from that of a traditional 10

university. How can a socio-technical approach to information systems implementation help as the university moves to the Flexi Uni model of delivery?
Total 25 Marks

QUESTION 3
a) There are a variety of criteria for evaluating information systems of which Tangible cost 12

benefit analysis is most closely associated with implementation of internal process improvements. Using THREE (3) examples from the case, discuss and illustrate how TANGIBLE benefits for I.T. systems will be achieved within Flexi Uni.
b) At present monitoring and control of activities in the University is achieved by a process 13

linked to regular timescales. Marking for example occurs at fixed times of the year. Under Flexi Uni, marking, tutorial and related academic activities may occur at any time in response to students activity and requirements. Discuss how management will have to change monitoring and control systems to meet this challenge.
Total 25 Marks

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Information Systems and Organisations September 2012 Final NCC Education Ltd 2012

QUESTION 4

Marks

a) Sometimes technical difficulties, usability problems and HCI mean that the anticipated 15

benefits from information technology are difficult to obtain. Using examples drawn from the case or elsewhere, illustrate how EACH of these THREE (3) difficulties are typically felt.
b) Discuss TWO (2) possible information system applications that might be useful 10

INTERNALLY (i.e. not directly used for students support) to Flexi Uni).
Total 25 Marks

QUESTION 5
a) Apply the Balanced Score-Card to the Flexi Uni case. Show how a typical enterprise system, 15

such as ERP, could be expected to impact performance is 3 of the 4 aspects of the score-card.
b)

Modern information technology and the Internet will render the traditional type of university 10 obsolete in a few years. Discuss.
Total 25 Marks

END OF PAPER

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Information Systems and Organisations September 2012 Final NCC Education Ltd 2012