The purpose of the Session Long Project in Trident University classes is to give you the opportunity to explore the applicability of the module to your own life, work, and place in space and time, and to experiment with the module to see how the otherwise academically rigorous presentation of a topic may, with more or less work and/or trauma, become “up close and personal”. This is done in a number of different ways—sometimes cumulative papers, sometimes practical hands-on experimentation with a tool of some sort, sometimes reflections on a place of work or life. The common thread is personal application, aimed at demonstrating a cumulative knowledge and understanding of the course’s material. The main purpose of the written parts of the assignments is to show that you have had some experiences doing the project, that you have thought carefully about what they mean for your own education, and that you can make some personal applications of this meaning to your own professional and/or personal understanding. Demonstrating this understanding is actually considerably more important than carrying out any specific step in the project instructions.
For this course, the SLP will take the form of working through a tutorial in information architectures, toward the purpose of creating a design document for a new website (see below).
The Term Project
Webmonkey is a Web development portal site operated by Wired.com. Among other resources (which you are welcome to peruse), it has a series of tutorials, including a very interesting hands-on Internet-based tutorial on the creation of information architectures (IA) for websites, that ought to work nicely as an SLP for this class. It is organized in five parts, which fits well into our structure. You can access the tutorial at the following site: http://www.webmonkey.com/2010/02/information_architecture_tutorial/ or http://www.webmonkey.com/tutorials/
Your overall assignment for the term is to follow the steps in this tutorial to develop a design document for a website to support students in the ITM programs as they move through it from the first courses to the last.
The goal of your project is to use the “information architectures” process to put together the best design you can. You are encouraged to be creative and imaginative; obviously, there is not any one “correct” design. The purpose of the SLP process is to give you some structure as you create your design.
The assignment is in three parts, one for each module 1-3.
For Module 1, you are to read through the Overview and Lesson 1, and carry out the first steps: goals definition for the website. The lesson outlines a series of questions to structure your goals. It suggests asking a range of respondents about the questions; clearly, this may be outside your present scope, although you may want to discuss them with friends and/or family and/or colleagues who have been with you through the program – who might have suggestions based on their interactions with you as you progressed – to get their take on the possible goals. You may also wish to seek informal thoughts from your instructor if you wish, with a well-structured inquiry.
At the least, you need to iterate the questions a couple of times for yourself. Write down your answers, then set them aside for a couple of days and come back to them. If you can do this a couple of times, you’ll find that your formulation will be better each time.
This part of the tutorial concludes:
“Once you have agreement from everyone involved, document the goals of the site and publish them where everyone in both your client’s organization and your own can see them… summarize the list and write a few paragraphs about the goals. A simple summary will do.”
Your “publication” consists of submitting your “list and paragraphs” in report form as your SLP 1 assignment.
Module 1 is about the environment within which IT management takes place and the variety of forces and factors operating outside the domain that have direct or indirect influence on decision making. It is a great big wide wonderful world out there, and remarkably little of it is under your direct control. Thus, learning to assess your environment and creatively identify both things you can do to affect it and things you simply have to learn to live with is a key first step in effective IT management.
All modules in the course draw on everything that you have learned in the program; however, this module draws most specifically on your courses in business ethics as well as on your general introductory course that discussed various aspects of how IT interacts with organization generally. Marketing and finance are the business functions that virtually every organization, public or private must attend to be successful. More specialized functions like perhaps engineering, manufacturing, research, logistics, and others are particular to the specific organization. Likewise, all decision making must be made in an ethical environment, defined partly by inherent values and partly by the circumstances.
Each specialized function is likely to have its own kind of information system requirements, procedures, history, specific language, and expectations—factors that may only loosely relate to the same issues as defined by and understood by either general management or IT managers specifically. But since IT pervades all organizations, odds are very good that at one point or another you will have to interface with colleagues representing other functional points of view and be able to collaborate effectively with them in defining problems, researching and developing solutions, and implementing them to best advantage. Thus, you will have multiple opportunities to deploy what you have learned about the specialized functions and about the process of decision making generally as your career unfolds.
Some Notes on How to Do Well in ITM490
Use the information architectures approach to develop a website design that meets project objectives.