Spring 2017

BUS4 118s, Special Topics in MIS - Big Data

As discussed in the course catalog, special topics courses augment the regularly scheduled electives, so it counts as an MIS elective.  This course covers the emerging topic of Big Data and there are two sections scheduled for Spring 2017.

Section 1:

Course number:  21315

Class Time:  Tuesday & Thursday 12:00pm - 1:15pm

Location:  BBC 326

Section 2:

Course number:  21315

Class Time:  Tuesday & Thursday 3:00pm - 4:15pm

Location:  BBC 304

For the detailed syllabus and weekly schedule, please see Canvas

Course Format: Generally the Tuesday sessions will be lectures, discussions, and exercises.  The Thursday sessions will be hands-on sessions working with Big Data tools for data wrangling, analysis, and visualization.  The software tools will be a combination of free web-based software and desktop tools you can load on your laptop or will be available on laptops in the LCoB.  If you do not plan to use your own laptop, one can be checked out from the College, or you can use the laptops in the lab (if you are signed up for section 2 which will be held in BBC 304).  If you are in section 2 you are also free to use your own laptop if you prefer.

During the Thursday sessions we will be doing lab exercises to learn the tools you will be using in your project (see below).  These labs are part of the individual grade.  The individual portion will also include a midterm and final and short quizzes that provide a study aid for the exams.

We will form 3-person teams at the start of the semester.  Your team will work together to formulate a business question you want to ask of a real-world social media dataset and then apply the framework we learn in class along with the Big Data tools to answer that question.  Since you do not know the answer to your question at the start, you are graded on how you apply the process and whether you are curious about your data - not getting a specific result.  We will have two progress reports during the semester and each team presents their results at the end of the semester. 

Course Description: This course explores how businesses are using Big Data to improve performance, reduce costs, and develop new products. When implementing Big Data projects, businesses have identified two significant hurdles:
1.    Getting data ready for analysis (a.k.a. “data wrangling”)
2.    Defining the question to be answered
This class will explore the characteristics of Big Data - what is different about Big Data that makes data-wrangling important, and the importance of being able to apply business knowledge in formulating Big Data questions.  Students will learn how to formulate questions to ask of a dataset and then apply current Big Data technologies through hands-on lab assignments and a class project to wrangle, query, visualize, and graph relationships in a large social media dataset.  The course also explores issues relating to developing the business proposition, Big Data strategies, and ethical considerations.

Prerequisites: None.  Both the BUS4 92, Introduction to  Business Programming, and BUS4 112, Database Management Systems courses are helpful knowledge for this course, but are not required. The lab assignments walk you through step-by-step.  We will also have a couple sessions where we do a hands-on review of topics you may have covered in more detail in those courses.  Curiosity is a greater asset than specific technical skills.

Text:  We will be using chapters from two textbooks. Both books are very readable without having any technical background.  We only use a couple chapters from the first book and you can read them online for FREE from your MLK Library.  The second book includes "MBA" in the title, but don't let that scare you.  This book is written from a business perspective for students without a background in Big Data, so no specialized knowledge is required.

  • Thinking with Data: How to Turn Information into Insights, by Max Shron.  Published by O'Reilly Media.
  • Big Data MBA, by Bill Schmarzo.  Published by Wiley.

As mentioned above, the first book is free online from the MLK Library (for students).  The second book is approximately $30 on Amazon ($18 for the Kindle version).

These will be supplemented from time-to-time by articles we will discuss in class which will be posted in Canvas or linked to the article at the Library or on the Web.



BUS4 188, Business Systems and Policy

Section 6:

Course number: 21315

Class Time: Tuesday 6:00pm - 8:45pm

Location: BBC 103

Course Description: In today’s business environment technology plays a significant role, so an understanding of information systems is needed for businesses to be able to compete effectively. This course provides an introduction to the information systems used in business, including key terms, concepts, and capabilities, as well as how technology impacts business organizations.  Click here for the course catalog description and prerequisites.

Course Format: We meet once per week, and most weeks the course will consist of a combination of lecture, exercises, and in-class projects where you will work with your team.  There are approximately 8-10 in-class team projects and you will be assigned to rotations on three teams which will be diverse both in major and gender since industry has found that diverse teams generate better results.  There will be a midterm and final exam, with two online quizzes before the midterm and two before the final - these are designed as a study aid for the exams.  We will also have a series of six lab projects where you will be using a FREE Salesforce developer account to do lab exercises developed by another faculty member.  These use an engaging format and since they are based on a currently in-demand skill, the labs have helped prior students in landing internships and jobs.