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Course Syllabus

BA 4328 – Decision Support and Expert Systems

Term: Fall 2010
Schedule: Tuesdays & Thursdays 5:30 P.M. – 6:45 P.M.
Location: SOM 2.103

Contact Information
Instructor: Wael Jabr
Office: SOM 3.419
Office Hours: Thursdays 4:30 P.M. – 5:30 P.M. or by appointment
E-Mail: Please use eLearning
Phone: (972) 883-4304

Course Pre-requisites, Co-requisites, and Other restrictions

BA 4321 Database Fundamentals
Knowledge of probability
Proficiency in Excel

Course Description: This class is really about “introduction to data mining and business intelligence” (the
course title will be changed next semester). This course will focus on extracting business intelligence from
firm’s business data for various applications, including (but not limited to) customer segmentation, customer
relationship management (CRM), customization, product assortment, business process management (BPM)
and social networks. The emphasis will be placed on the “how” aspect – how to extract and apply business
intelligence to improve business decision making. Various business intelligence software and techniques
(primarily data mining techniques such as clustering, classification and personalization) will be covered.
Throughout the class business secrets of market leaders such as Amazon, Facebook, Google, Netflix, and
Walmart will be revealed.

The class roughly consists of three parts: theories, methods and applications of business intelligence. In Part
I, we will discuss general theories of business intelligence including problem, process and evaluation of data
mining. Part II covers many popular businesslike intelligence/data mining methods such as association rules,
decision tree, neural network, clustering and classification. In Part III, we will look into special applications,
topics of which include personalization, customer relationship management, market data analysis,
collaborative filtering and web mining. We will discuss the inner workings of the methods to the level
necessary to develop an understanding of when and how to use each technique. Students will also acquire
hands-on experience working in teams and using state-of-the-art software (XLMiner) to develop data mining
solutions to business problems.

Student Learning Objectives/Outcomes

 Fully appreciate the concept of data as a strategic resource;

 Use existing database query tools for data/information extraction;
 Identify how and when data intelligence can be used as a problem-solving technique;
 Describe different methods of data intelligence;
 Select an appropriate data mining technique for a specific problem;
 Use existing BI software (XLMiner) to mine a prepared data set; and
 Interpret and evaluate the results of business intelligence tools.

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Highly Recommended Textbook

 Data Mining for Business Intelligence: Concepts, Techniques, and Applications in Microsoft
Office Excel with XLMiner by Galit Shmueli, Nitin R. Patel, and Peter C. Bruce

Required Course Materials

 Microsoft Excel
 XLMiner Add-on to Microsoft Excel (bundled with the textbook listed above)

Assigned Articles available on eLearning

A1: “BI market share” an IDC Report

A2: “Business Intelligence: put information to work” from Economist.
A3: “Sysco Business Intelligence”, HBR case
A4: “Advanced business intelligence at Cardinal health”, from MISQ Executive
A5: “Your Loyalty Program Is Betraying You”, HBR case
A6: “Competing on Analytics”, HBR case
A7: “How Valuable is Word of Mouth”, HBR case
A8: “Nudge Your Customers Toward Better Choices”, HBR case
A9: “Just For You Recommender”, ACM article
A10: “The right way to manage unprofitable customers”, HBR April
A11: “Search Engine Advertising”, ACM article
A12: “Dark side customer analytics”, HBR article
A13: “Personalization Technologies” ACM article


The data we will be using for projects can be found on eLearning.

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Overview: The course will be run as a mixture of lectures, in-class demonstrations, assignments, and student
presentations. Readings will generally be taken from the required text and the assigned materials, together
with tutorials and notes. Some material will be covered only in readings; other will be covered only in
lectures which may depart from the text in either content or order. To maximize learning, classroom
discussion and the amount of time spent on different topics will be adjusted according to the background and
interests of the students.

Readings & Presentations: Each week we will discuss one (occasionally 2) of the assigned articles.
Student(s) will lead the discussion, which will be counted as presentation points. You are also encouraged to
come up with your own interesting topics (e.g. your company’s use of BI/DM, BI/DM market in DFW area,
demo on Business Objects, etc). At the beginning of the semester, students are required to select Three
readings they would like to present by filling the Signup sheet available on eLearning.

Discussion Board: Participation in the Discussion Board of eLearning is required. At least 24 hours prior to
the discussion of a reading, each student is required to post at least one question relevant to the reading. Each
student in charge of presenting the reading is required to post at least two questions. Everyone is encouraged
to reply to these questions.

Assignments: Students will complete Four projects that aim at practicing the use of BI tools such as
XLMiner. Once completed, the projects will be submitted through eLearning unless otherwise instructed;
submission of electronic copies by e-mail is not acceptable unless prior permission of instructor is obtained.
All assignments should be completed on time. Assignments submitted after the deadline will be considered
late. A penalty of 20% of the assignment value per day (including weekends) is assessed on late
assignments beginning on the day due.

Attendance: Your class attendance and participation is highly recommended for this course. Much of the
content of course will be covered in class. Your fellow students and I will expect you to come fully
prepared. Each student is also expected to actively and constructively contribute to class discussions. Good
contributions transcend assigned readings and are inspired, timely, analytical, and relevant to the topics
discussed. You might well be aware that studies have shown that students who attend classes score higher on
exams and receive significantly better grades. Students can also earn participation credit by drawing attention
to related development, information and resources dealing. A 5% of the final grade will be based on your
class attendance and active participation, elements that are crucial to the success of class meetings.
Attendance refers to punctual attendance. Furthermore, your class participation grade will reflect my
judgment of the quality and quantity of your contributions during the entire class. There is no make-up for
missed in-class assignments.

eLearning: The course slides will be posted on eLearning at least one day prior to the class session.
Most communications for this class will be through eLearning. All questions (except those of a personal
nature) should be posted on the eLearning Discussion Board.
eLearling Optional Quizzes: I will post optional quizzes that covers the discussed material. You are highly
recommended to take these tests, as they will help you assess your understanding of the material.

Changes: The course topics will be covered with different levels of emphasis based upon your prior
knowledge. Topics of common interest to all students will be covered in depth. This will cause changes to
the course schedule. Changes in assignments or schedules will be posted on ELearning at least two weeks in
advance. It is every student’s responsibility to keep up with the changes that are posted on ELearning. Check
it on a weekly basis at a minimum. Exams and presentations will be scheduled on the dates set at the
beginning of the semester unless required by university closing or other force majeure.

Exclusions: music players, mobile phones, voice recorders, or cameras are not to be used during class unless
prior permission of instructor is obtained. Because such devices create distraction to the individuals using

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them and to the students surrounding them, we would like to keep a relationship of civility and avoid such
annoyance to others.

Office Hours: Students are strongly encouraged to visit with me in my office and/or use e-mail to ask
questions, share suggestions about any aspect of the course, or to clear up possible points of confusion. I will
use your feedback to continuously improve and fine-tune the coverage levels and the teaching/learning
processes. Please note that I may not always be able to make all of the changes suggested, but I will do my
best to accommodate your suggestions.

Exams: A picture ID will be required for each student. Please bring a half page Scantron sheet (green, # 882-
E) and a #2 pencil for each exam.
If you have a time conflict, you must notify the instructor in advance for rescheduling consideration. Makeup
exams are not allowed unless dictated by university approved excused absences.

WORKING TOGETHER on Individual Assignments: This course will have a considerable amount of
computing work for application assignments. It is acceptable to work together in how to use computers and
applications. Each student, however, is expected to do their own work on the "individual" assignments.
Copying another student’s work (computer files) or having another person do your work is scholastic
dishonesty (see below) and will be dealt with accordingly.

Grading Policy
Midterm 20%
Final 20%
Projects 1,2,3,4 (7.5% each) 30%
Presentations 1,2,3 (5% each) 15%
Discussion Board 10%
Participation & Attendance 5%
Total 100%

Final letter grade use the following scale:

A+ > 96.7% B+ > 86.7% C+ > 76.7% D+ > 66.7% F < 60.0%

A > 93.3% B > 83.3% C > 73.3% D > 63.3%

A- > 90.0% B-  80.0% C- > 70.0% D- > 60.0%

GRADING ENVIRONMENT: This class assumes the student is working in a business environment.
Considerable attention (and grading premium) will be given to following directions (both written and in
class). All assignments will be graded based upon the grading rubric provided along with the assignment
requirement sheet. The pace of the course content and assignments is rather fast. This might be
overwhelming at times, however, it will be easily feasible if you keep up with the readings and assignments.
I assure you that it will be rewarding once the assignments are completed.

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Tentative Schedule & Assignments (Check eLearning at least once a week for potential changes)
Items A1 through A13 refer to the assigned readings

Description Readings Submissions on or

Week Date
prior to class before next class

 Class Overview  Read Syllabus

1 Aug 19  Introduction to Business Intelligence  Read Ch1
(BI) and Data Mining (DM)

Course Introduction:  Read A1, A2,  Present short

 Myths and Realities about Business  Read Ch2 cases
Intelligence  Install XLMiner
 Data Mining Processes for Business
Aug 24
2 Intelligence
Aug 26
 XLMiner demo 1
 Business Intelligence Software at
SYSCO and Cardinal Health

Data Extraction and Manipulation:  Read A3, A4  Start Project 1

 The Relational Database Model  Read Ch3  Complete the
Aug 31  Query and Reporting online optional
Sep 2  Data Warehousing and OLAP quiz
 Amazon Recommendation System

Association and Market-Based Analysis:  Read A5 “Your  Submit Project 1

 Association Rule Mining Loyalty Program Is  Start Project 2
 Frequent Itemsets Betraying You”
Sep 7
4  XLMiner demo 2  Read Ch11
Sep 9
 Grocery store basket analysis

Cluster Analysis:  Read A6  Complete the

 Market Segmentation “Competing on online optional
 Cluster Validation and Interpretation; Analytics” quiz
Sep 14
5 KNN  Read A7 “How
Sep 16
Cases: Valuable Is Word
 Identifying and Pampering Big of Mouth”
Spenders in Your Customers  Read Ch6, Ch12

Classification Analysis cont’d:  Read A8 “Nudge  Submit Project 2

 Decision Tree Analysis Your Customers”
Sep 21  Regression Analysis  Read Ch7
Sep 23 Cases:
 Credit Scoring
 NBA Analytics

Evaluation:  Read Ch4  Complete the

 Model Performance online optional
 Decision Metrics quiz
Sep 28
7 Cases:  Start Project 3
Sep 30
 When recommendations go bad:
Walmart & the "Planet of the Apes"

 Review and Q&A

Oct 5
8  Oct 7 Midterm
Oct 7

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Recommender Systems:  Read A9 “Just For
 Collaborative Filtering You”
Oct 12  KNN
Oct 14 Cases:
 Next Generation Recommender

Other Classification Tools:  Read Ch6  Submit Project 3

 Naïve Bayes  Start Project 4
Oct 19
10  Risk Analysis
Oct 21
 Banking credit risk

Customer Relationship Management:  Read A10 “The  Complete the

 Components right way to online optional
Oct 26
11  Customer Lifetime Value manage quiz
Oct 28
Cases: unprofitable
 Online advertising customers”

Online Analytics:  Read “Search

 Web Mining and Online Marketing Engine
Nov 2  Fraud Detection Advertising”
Nov 4 Cases:
 Why Data Mining Won't Stop

Personalization:  Read “The dark  Submit Project 4

 Different Approaches side of analytics”
Nov 9
13 Cases:  Read
Nov 11
 The Netflix $1 Million Prize “Personalization

BI in practice:  Complete the

Nov 16  BI Tools online optional
Nov 18  SAS Miner quiz
 SQL Server

Special Topics:
Nov 23
15  Social Networks
Nov 25
 Risk Management

 Review and Q&A

Nov 30
16  Dec 2 Final Exam (material
Dec 2
covered since Midterm Exam)

Assessment Summary

 Project 1 due on Sep 9 through eLearning

 Project 2 due on Sep 23 through eLearning
Assignments  Project 3 due on Oct 21 through eLearning
 Project 4 due on Nov 11 through eLearning
 Presentation on Week 10 or Week 15

 Midterm on Oct 7 at 5:30 P.M. in Class

 Final on Dec 2 at 5:30 P.M. in Class

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Usual Disclaimers
Field Trip Policies
Off-campus Instruction and Course Activities

Off-campus, out-of-state, and foreign instruction and activities are subject to state law and University policies and
procedures regarding travel and risk-related activities. Information regarding these rules and regulations may be
found at the website address Additional
information is available from the office of the school dean. Below is a description of any travel and/or risk-related
activity associated with this course.

Student Conduct & Discipline

The University of Texas System and The University of Texas at Dallas have rules and regulations for the orderly and
efficient conduct of their business. It is the responsibility of each student and each student organization to be
knowledgeable about the rules and regulations which govern student conduct and activities. General information on
student conduct and discipline is contained in the UTD publication, A to Z Guide, which is provided to all registered
students each academic year.

The University of Texas at Dallas administers student discipline within the procedures of recognized and established
due process. Procedures are defined and described in the Rules and Regulations, Board of Regents, The University of
Texas System, Part 1, Chapter VI, Section 3, and in Title V, Rules on Student Services and Activities of the university’s
Handbook of Operating Procedures. Copies of these rules and regulations are available to students in the Office of the
Dean of Students, where staff members are available to assist students in interpreting the rules and regulations (SU
1.602, 972/883-6391).

A student at the university neither loses the rights nor escapes the responsibilities of citizenship. He or she is expected
to obey federal, state, and local laws as well as the Regents’ Rules, university regulations, and administrative rules.
Students are subject to discipline for violating the standards of conduct whether such conduct takes place on or off
campus, or whether civil or criminal penalties are also imposed for such conduct.

Academic Integrity
The faculty expects from its students a high level of responsibility and academic honesty. Because the value of an
academic degree depends upon the absolute integrity of the work done by the student for that degree, it is imperative
that a student demonstrate a high standard of individual honor in his or her scholastic work.

Scholastic dishonesty includes, but is not limited to, statements, acts or omissions related to applications for enrollment
or the award of a degree, and/or the submission as one’s own work or material that is not one’s own. As a general rule,
scholastic dishonesty involves one of the following acts: cheating, plagiarism, collusion and/or falsifying academic
records. Specifically on “individual assignments”, copying another students computer files or having another
person do your work could result a grade of F and/or expulsion from the University.
Students suspected of academic dishonesty are subject to disciplinary proceedings.

Plagiarism, especially from the web, from portions of papers for other classes, and from any other source is
unacceptable and will be dealt with under the university’s policy on plagiarism (see general catalog for details). This
course will use the resources of, which searches the web for possible plagiarism and is over 90% effective.

Email Use

The University of Texas at Dallas recognizes the value and efficiency of communication between faculty/staff and
students through electronic mail. At the same time, email raises some issues concerning security and the identity of each
individual in an email exchange. The university encourages all official student email correspondence be sent only to a
student’s U.T. Dallas email address and that faculty and staff consider email from students official only if it originates
from a UTD student account. This allows the university to maintain a high degree of confidence in the identity of all
individual corresponding and the security of the transmitted information. UTD furnishes each student with a free email
account that is to be used in all communication with university personnel. The Department of Information Resources at
U.T. Dallas provides a method for students to have their U.T. Dallas mail forwarded to other accounts.

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Withdrawal from Class
The administration of this institution has set deadlines for withdrawal of any college-level courses. These dates and
times are published in that semester's course catalog. Administration procedures must be followed. It is the student's
responsibility to handle withdrawal requirements from any class. In other words, I cannot drop or withdraw any student.
You must do the proper paperwork to ensure that you will not receive a final grade of "F" in a course if you choose not
to attend the class once you are enrolled.

Student Grievance Procedures

Procedures for student grievances are found in Title V, Rules on Student Services and Activities, of the university’s
Handbook of Operating Procedures.

In attempting to resolve any student grievance regarding grades, evaluations, or other fulfillments of academic
responsibility, it is the obligation of the student first to make a serious effort to resolve the matter with the instructor,
supervisor, administrator, or committee with whom the grievance originates (hereafter called “the respondent”).
Individual faculty members retain primary responsibility for assigning grades and evaluations. If the matter cannot be
resolved at that level, the grievance must be submitted in writing to the respondent with a copy of the respondent’s
School Dean. If the matter is not resolved by the written response provided by the respondent, the student may submit a
written appeal to the School Dean. If the grievance is not resolved by the School Dean’s decision, the student may
make a written appeal to the Dean of Graduate or Undergraduate Education, and the deal will appoint and convene an
Academic Appeals Panel. The decision of the Academic Appeals Panel is final. The results of the academic appeals
process will be distributed to all involved parties.

Copies of these rules and regulations are available to students in the Office of the Dean of Students, where staff
members are available to assist students in interpreting the rules and regulations.

Incomplete Grade Policy

As per university policy, incomplete grades will be granted only for work unavoidably missed at the semester’s end and
only if 70% of the course work has been completed. An incomplete grade must be resolved within eight (8) weeks from
the first day of the subsequent long semester. If the required work to complete the course and to remove the incomplete
grade is not submitted by the specified deadline, the incomplete grade is changed automatically to a grade of F.

Disability Services

The goal of Disability Services is to provide students with disabilities educational opportunities equal to those of their
non-disabled peers. Disability Services is located in room 1.610 in the Student Union. Office hours are Monday and
Thursday, 8:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m.; Tuesday and Wednesday, 8:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m.; and Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.

The contact information for the Office of Disability Services is:

The University of Texas at Dallas, SU 22
PO Box 830688
Richardson, Texas 75083-0688
(972) 883-2098 (voice or TTY)

Essentially, the law requires that colleges and universities make those reasonable adjustments necessary to eliminate
discrimination on the basis of disability. For example, it may be necessary to remove classroom prohibitions against
tape recorders or animals (in the case of dog guides) for students who are blind. Occasionally an assignment
requirement may be substituted (for example, a research paper versus an oral presentation for a student who is hearing
impaired). Classes enrolled students with mobility impairments may have to be rescheduled in accessible facilities.
The college or university may need to provide special services such as registration, note-taking, or mobility assistance.

It is the student’s responsibility to notify his or her professors of the need for such an accommodation. Disability
Services provides students with letters to present to faculty members to verify that the student has a disability and needs
accommodations. Individuals requiring special accommodation should contact the professor after class or during office

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Religious Holy Days

The University of Texas at Dallas will excuse a student from class or other required activities for the travel to and
observance of a religious holy day for a religion whose places of worship are exempt from property tax under Section
11.20, Tax Code, Texas Code Annotated.

The student is encouraged to notify the instructor or activity sponsor as soon as possible regarding the absence,
preferably in advance of the assignment. The student, so excused, will be allowed to take the exam or complete the
assignment within a reasonable time after the absence: a period equal to the length of the absence, up to a maximum of
one week. A student who notifies the instructor and completes any missed exam or assignment may not be penalized for
the absence. A student who fails to complete the exam or assignment within the prescribed period may receive a failing
grade for that exam or assignment.

If a student or an instructor disagrees about the nature of the absence [i.e., for the purpose of observing a religious holy
day] or if there is similar disagreement about whether the student has been given a reasonable time to complete any
missed assignments or examinations, either the student or the instructor may request a ruling from the chief executive
officer of the institution, or his or her designee. The chief executive officer or designee must take into account the
legislative intent of TEC 51.911(b), and the student and instructor will abide by the decision of the chief executive
officer or designee.

These descriptions and timelines are subject to change at the discretion of the Instructor.
For details, please check the content of the syllabus

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