Management Information Systems

BUS 310

Fall 2016

Class Meeting Metadata
Meets: T 6:30pm - 9:15pm
Classroom: Huntley 230
Instructor's Metadata
Instructor: Jason T. Mickel, Ph.D.
E-Mail: How to Email a Professor
Phone: (540) 458-8653
Office: Leyburn M33
Office Hours: M 11:15am - 12:15pm
W & R 1:00pm - 2:00pm
By appointment


The objective is to build an understanding of the value and uses of information systems for business operations, management decision making, and strategic advantage. Topics include basic systems concepts and major roles of information systems; computer, telecommunications, and database management concepts; and management issues in the implementation of information systems, including international, security, and ethical considerations.

Discussion and engagement are paramount as the breadth and complexity of IT in a business environment can only barely be summarized in twelve weeks, so prepare for a fast pace.

The most important takeaway: understand and internalize the interconnectivity of not only the various technological issues but also how the decisions made in the context of information systems impact a company's performance and bottom-line as a whole.

Learning Outcomes

Upon completing this course, students should be able to:

  • Synthesize pertinent infomation regarding technology decisions with business decisions
  • Discuss and defend positions on both classic and topical MIS-related business issues
  • Understand the key elements of information systems, both in hardware and software
  • Develop a small-scale database application using Microsoft Access
  • Design and implement a data dashboard using Tableau that communicates key decision support information


INTR 201 and at least junior standing

Course Policies

Please refer to the box for policies that apply to this course.


Required Textbooks

Management Information Systems: Managing the Digital Firm, 14th Edition (2016) Kenneth C. Laudon & Jane P. Laudon ISBN-13: 978-0-13-389816-3 ISBN-10: 0-13-398816-4

The Adventures of an IT Leader (2016) Robert D. Austin; Richard L. Nolan; Shannon O'Donnell Available through Harvard Coursepack (choose either PDF or print)

Harvard Business Publishing Coursepack Cases Link in your e-mail and in Sakai

Additional free readings/viewings listed in the schedule below.


Hands-on Technology Assignments (3 x see pts below) 20%

Hands-on technology assignments will evaluate your mastery of some of the common information systems tools in use throughout business. You will have some time during class meetings to allow you to work on the assignments while I am immediately available.

Scratch Programming 50 pts

Scratch is a visual programming environment used by all ages to learn the basic concepts of programming. We will use Scratch to create a virtual tour of a building, part of campus, or somewhere in Lexington in the spirit of what you might find in a tourism marketing campaign. A sample project will be provided as a building block.

Access Database 150 pts

You will design, implement, and write queries for a database using Microsoft Access based on a set of data and a scenario I provide.

Tableau Dashboard 150 pts

Using Tableau, you will create a data dashboard that communicates to an executive key information to support a business decision. I will provide a scenario and the data.

Please refer to the Sakai course site for specific assignment details.

Chapter Quizzes (10 x 30pts) 10%

Almost every week of the term will involve a brief quiz on the topics we have discussed and read about.

The quizzes will be open book/note; however,

  1. they will be timed
  2. you may not consult classmates or any others besides your professor through any form of communication (included but not limited to: written, spoken, electronic, telepathic, osmotic, semaphore, hand signals, or Morse code) while taking a quiz

The quizzes will be taken outside of class time, and they will be available through the Sakai course.

Software Presentation plus Q&A (see pts below) 15%

With a partner (or two only in the event of an odd number of students), you will choose a piece of software from my provided list and argue to the IT governance committee (AKA your classmates) of why your company (Two Generals, LLC) should adopt it. The assignment value is broken down as follows:

Presentation and Summary 100 pts

On the Friday prior to your presentation, you will submit a one-page executive summary of the software to the rest of the class and me. This will allow us to formulate questions going into your demonstration. You will then use presentation software (PowerPoint, Keynote, Google Slides,, etc.) to support your arguments to the committee. When possible, you should also demonstrate the software. The presentation should last between 10 and 15 minutes followed by between 5 and 10 minutes for questions and answers. I expect you to wear at least business casual attire while presenting.

Executive Summary (writing quality, depth of coverage, sufficient length)
See the Writing Style section in the Course Policies box
30 pts
Presentation (preparedness)30 pts
Presentation (slide design and quality of included information)20 pts
Presentation (personal poise and style)10 pts
Q&A (preparedness)10 pts
Question Preparation for Other Groups 5 pts X # of other groups

By the Monday night before class, each student will submit to me at least 3 questions for each presentation (other than your own) based on the provided executive summaries. Although you have significant flexibility in formulating your questions, to receive credit, they must be more thoughtful/complex than simple yes/no/maybe questions and must be on-topic. You will receive up to 5 points for each set of questions submitted.

Class Participation 20%

Each class session will be a mix of lecture, discussion, and activities. It is paramount that you engage with all material through questions, reactions, and input. Your class participation grade will be based on the following scale:

AEngaged participantContributes in a significant way to classroom discussions, regularly making key points and helping to move the discussion ahead. Relevant and insightful questions fit into this category.
BRegular participantMakes comments that points out important facts or restates pertinent facts. At least somewhat analytical points regularly offered.
CInfrequent participantResponds correctly to questions asked by the professor. Makes comments that are at least tangentially relevant to the discussion without being particularly analytical.
DRare participantRarely makes comments and/or cannot correctly respond to questions when asked.
FNon-participantNo classroom discussion

Mini Case Study Responses (2 x 75pts) 15%

You will respond to questions based on provided case studies in two brief papers of approximately 750 to 1,000 words. Your responses should be well researched with supporting evidence from both professional and academic literature. Charts, graphs, and other visuals may be included to help support your arguments.

To help you understand what literature is available and to provide guidance in your research, you are required to meet at least once during the term with John Tombarge, who is the liaison to all business-related academic fields. I will ask that Professor Tombarge e-mail me to confirm that you have met with him. Failure to do so will result in one of your two case study responses receiving a zero.

Please refer to the Sakai course site for specific assignment details, and see the Writing Style section in the Course Policies box.

Final Case Study Paper (1 x 200pts) 20%

The final paper will be due during the week after classes end in leiu of a final exam. This paper will be similar in nature to the mini case studies, but will involve a deeper level of research and analysis. The final paper should be between 1,500 and 2,000 words, and it should include visuals supportive of your points.

Please refer to the Sakai course site for specific assignment details, and see the Writing Style section in the Course Policies box.

Course Policies

Attendance & Participation

I will be keeping a regular attendance record. Attending class is crucial to learning not only for yourself but also for your colleagues. We only meet 12 times!

Arriving late to class is equally impactful and also distracting. Show up on time. I reserve the right to penalize those consistently arriving late.

Absences will be excused only if I am notified prior to class.

If you do miss, securing the information covered during that class is YOUR responsibility.

You are expected to actively answer questions posed in class and participate in discussions when they occur. Asking pertinent questions also contributes to your participation.

Late Work

Late work is accepted at my discretion, but it will always have some amount of penalty applied. This is in fairness to those who strived to submit their work on time. The penalty may vary based on the circumstances but will always be fair and appropriate.

Class Conduct

All communication should be approached with maturity and academic respect. We may not always agree, but we will give each other the opportunity to hold and support our positions. This applies not only in-class but also to any electronic discussions assigned.

Please put your phones on vibrate or silent mode. Check social media before class begins. To put it simply, be respectful to everyone in the room.


We will be working in-class on a few software applications that will require your use of a laptop. If you are happy with the reliability and performance of your own laptop (Windows or Mac), you may use it for class. I will otherwise have available a cart of Mac laptops.

If you do choose to bring your own, please ensure that it is in full working order immediately prior to each class meeting. I don't want to use precious class time for technology troubleshooting.

Writing Style

All formal writing should meet the following criteria:

  • Typed in Microsoft Word (or equivalent application) using 1-inch margins, 12 pt Times New Roman font, double-spaced
  • Be written in standard academic English without "chat-speak", txtng-style abbreviations, or emoji (unless used for emphasis or as part of your argument). Proper punctuation, capitalization, spelling, and grammar is expected.
  • Properly cited in APA (6th edition) format. I can't recommend more highly the use of Zotero to manage your citations. If you need help using it, request a one-on-one tutorial from a librarian.

Grading Scale (Inclusive)

Letter Grade Ranges (in percents)
A >= 93 C 73 - 76
A- 90 - 92 C- 70 - 73
B+ 87 - 89 D+ 67 - 69
B 83 - 86 D 63 - 66
B- 80 - 82 D- 60 - 62
C+ 80 - 82 F <= 59

Final grades will be rounded to the nearest whole number. A value of .5 and higher will be rounded up. For example, 92.5 will round up to 93 (A). A grade of 92.49 will round down to 92 (A-). To keep things fair, there will be no exceptions to this rule.

Academic Integrity

With the exception of your presentation group assignment, everything submitted for credit should be your own work. You must give full and accurate credit to sources that are not your own (books/journals, online resources, other students, etc). Deliberate concealment of sources constitutes plagiarism and will result in a failing grade for the course and a report to the EC. Cite and credit everything, except your own class notes.

This is NOT intended to discourage helping or seeking help from your classmates, nor is it to discourage collaboration on assignments. Rather, it is intended to promote the idea that when help is received that it should be credited explicitly.

Please familiarize yourself with W&L's policy on plagiarism at:

Accommodations for Students with Disabilities

Washington and Lee University makes reasonable academic accommodations for qualified students with disabilities. All undergraduate accommodations must be approved through the Office of the Dean of the College. Students requesting accommodations for this course should present an official accommodation letter within the first two weeks of the term and schedule a meeting with me outside of class time to discuss accommodations. It is the student's responsibility to present this paperwork in a timely fashion and to follow up about accommodation arrangements. Accommodations for quizzes must be arranged with me ASAP.

Tentative Schedule

(nb. Dates of activities and due dates for assignments are always subject to shifting. Refer to Sakai for the most accurate information.)