Course Exam—COMP 361

COMP 361 (Systems Analysis and Design) is a three-credit upper-level Computer Science course that has students solving business problems by analyzing the requirements of information systems and designing such systems applying analysis and design techniques.  The practical component of COMP 361 is object oriented and use-case driven, requiring students to go through the steps of system analysis and design to solve a real-life business problem.

This course requires students to either have taken COMP 200 (Introduction to Computing and Information Systems), CMIS 351 (Management Information Systems), or to request the permission from an instructor as a prerequisite.  Permission from an instructor is based on three things, which include the students’ basic knowledge of programming (Java for instance), the students’ basic knowledge of object oriented languages, and the students’ basic knowledge of databases.  If you are interested in learning more about Introduction to Computing and Information Systems, read my COMP 200 Course Exam Article!

Systems Analysis and Design is made up of seven units, five assignments weighing a total of seventy percent of your final grade, a weighted participation grade of five percent, and a final exam worth twenty-five percent.  Students must achieve at least fifty percent overall and must get at least fifty percent on each assignment, participation mark, and final exam to pass the course.

Throughout the seven units within this course, students will gain the comprehensive theoretical knowledge as well as practical skills that are related to the system development process of information systems.  These units will teach students how to gather data to analyse and specify the requirements of a system, design system components and environments, build general and detailed models that assist programmers in implementing a system, and design a database for storing data and a user interface for data input and output, as well as controls to protect the system and its data.

Dr.  Vlad Voytenko (PhD in Computer Science) has been with Athabasca University for eleven years and has been tutoring COMP 361 for ten of those years.  He is also associated with COMP 272 (Data Structures and Algorithms), COMP 372 (Design and Analysis of Algorithms), COMP 410 (Software Engineering), and COMP 489 (Distributed Computing).  If you would like to learn more about Data Structures and Algorithms, read my COMP 272 Course Exam Article! He states, “My current research interests and projects focus on the following aspects in the areas: software engineering, mobile application, mobile computing, machine learning.”

Dr.  Voytenko states, “COMP 361 takes an integrated approach to the subject.  There are five marked assignments for the course.  The assignments in the course reinforce the textbook materials by applying systems analysis and design concepts, skills, methodologies, techniques, tools, and perspectives to specific issues and subjects.  The assignments support each other: Assignments one through five successively refine the requirements and design for an information system case study.

He continues “Each assignment consists of at least three parts: 1) a practical part where you are asked to apply analysis, modeling, and design techniques; 2) an essay part where you are asked to answer an essay question; 3) a blogging part where you are asked to write a blog posting.  Because the assignments are related, you should leave sufficient time between assignment submissions to allow for tutor feedback.  Also, some additional examples of problem-solving and modelling exercises are identified and made available to students.”

When asked to give advice to students who are planning to enroll or are already enrolled, he states “Because of the integrated nature of the treatment of the subject, students are advised to follow as closely as possible the suggested module sequence.  Furthermore, they are strongly encouraged to communicate and discuss topics with other students through blogs and discussion forums.  The suggested sequence assumes part-time study: that students will spend ten to fifteen hours per week on the course and will take approximately sixteen weeks to complete it.  Students who intend to study full time, or whose personal schedules are likely to be problematic or significantly different from this norm, are encouraged to develop their own schedules.”

He concludes stating “We would recommend following the Online Study Plan, and do not jump directly to the Assignments section.  We strongly discourage students from taking an assignment-oriented approach to the course, that is, seeing the course as a collection of assignments with supporting materials.  This will almost inevitably lead to two outcomes: first, an incomplete understanding of the course materials because the structure implicit in the materials is ignored; and second, difficulty completing the assignments because of incomplete and/or incorrect understanding of the applicable concepts, skills, methodologies, techniques, tools, and perspectives.  When students have completed the course, they should have a theoretical and practical understanding of the analysis and design techniques and tools used in a systems development project.”

Whether this course is a degree requirement of yours or the topics above are of interest to you, COMP 361 will have you immersed in the interesting topics surrounding systems analysis and design!