CIS 4980


J. Mack Robinson College of Business Administration

Georgia State University



Instructor Contact Information

Carl Stucke            

Email Address: (always the quickest way to reach me)

Course Website:     TBA

Phone:                   404-413-7379 office

Office:                    Room 906, 35 Broad Street (RCB Building)

Office Hours:           TBA and in-person or online by appointment


Acknowledgement:  The instructor is grateful to James Brown, Melody Moore, and John Sergo for their many years of leadership in the conduct of this course and for the use of their course materials.

This document is subject to change during the conduct of this course.

Course Objectives    Method of Instruction    Text     Policies    Grades   Project Guidelines

Students are invited to contact the instructor assistance with class work.  The best, quickest way for doing this is via email ( ).

Prerequisites: All required BA and CIS 3000-level courses.  Students must be CIS Majors at Georgia State University and must have completed certain course requirements at Georgia State.

Course Description:
This course provides an opportunity for students to apply the knowledge and skills acquired in the core courses to larger and more complex problems and to gain experience in working in teams.  CIS 4980 is also designated as a Critical Thinking through Writing (CTW) course.

Detailed Course Description:

This course provides an opportunity for students to apply the knowledge and skills acquired from previous course work on a full-scale systems development project for a client organization (external or internal). Student teams will conduct a feasibility analysis, develop project plans and system requirements specifications for the client. They will design a new system, develop and test a prototype of the resulting software,  develop implementation plans and implement the prototype in the client environment.   Upon completion of the course, students will present both oral and written reports on their project. Course grades will include the client organization's evaluations, and the input of each student team member, as well as the instructor's evaluation.

 Method of Instruction    Text    Policies     Grades        TOP  Project Guidelines

Course Objectives:
This course is designed to provide the student experience in working with a client organization to perform systems analysis and design from the initial request through a final design and prototype (or other appropriate deliverable). In doing this, the student will demonstrate the ability to :

Develop and maintain professional relations with the assigned client.
Define project scope, assess feasibility, and establish a project schedule.
Analyze the organization and its current information system and develop current system or business process models and other appropriate documentation
Prepare and present both written and oral reports to the faculty and the client organization.
Demonstrate management and control of the project from beginning to end.
Successfully gain experience in working with a group.

This course is also designed to provide the student writing experience in working with a consultant to improve writing capabilities. In doing this, the student will demonstrate the ability to develop and maintain self motivation to write effectively in a manner where others can understand thereby minimizing the Expert Problem. The Expert Problem is the idea of an explicit breakdown in communication that is developed overtime by an individual who becomes an expert and ceases to express  knowledge in a manner for the reader to understand the writers thought process. Through these exercises, students will gain a better intuition on the thought process of a reader and writer alike in terms of writing, thinking, and reading.

In meeting the course objectives, the Course Director will provide arrangements for real-world projects appropriate to the goals of the course, and provide guidelines for successful completion of the course.  However, the course is a test of the curriculum and each student's ability to apply the skills learned in the core curriculum, and a test of the theoretical foundations of the curriculum to enable learning of specific additional skills that may be required by the market.

Course Objectives    Text    Policies     Grades         TOP  Project Guidelines

Method of Instruction:

Students will be grouped into teams and assigned a project for a client organization.   There will be interim project milestones and deliverables during the course to ensure that each project is progressing on schedule.  On each due date, each team will submit a written report of the total project to date, and give a class presentation that updates the class on their progress. 

After obtaining client requirements for their project, each student team will arrange a presentation of their requirements definition for their client, to make sure the team has a correct and complete understanding of the client's intentions and expectations.  (See "Reality Check".)

At the end of the course, and after approval by the Course Director, each team will arrange a final presentation for their client, in which they will present their research (and prototype, if applicable) and appropriate documentation. On the Final Exam date or a scheduled class day, each team will give a complete presentation of their project before the class, the course Director, and invited faculty.  Please see Project Guidelines for more details.

All other class time will be spent working in teams, meeting on-site with the client organization, or discussing the project with the course Director.  It is a course requirement that each student be available for client meetings during business hours as required.

Course Objectives    Method of Instruction    Text     Grades         TOP  Project Guidelines


Departmental General Class Policies

Student work submitted in fulfillment of course requirements and any student activity recorded is deemed to be granted in the public domain (copyright-free) for the purposes of use as instructional or research material or for examples of student work in future courses.


Students are expected to attend all classes and group meetings, except when precluded by emergencies, religious holidays or bona fide extenuating circumstances.


Students who, for non-academic reasons beyond their control, are unable to meet the full requirements of the course should notify the instructor. Incompletes may be given if a student has ONE AND ONLY ONE outstanding assignment.


Please see for details regarding withdrawals.


Spirited class participation is encouraged and informed discussion in class is expected.  This requires completing readings and assignments before class.


Unless specifically stated by the instructor, all exams and assignments are to be completed by the student alone. 


Within group collaboration is allowed on project work.  Collaboration between project groups will be considered cheating unless specifically allowed by an instructor.


Work copied from the Internet without a proper reference will be considered plagiarism and is subject to disciplinary action as delineated in the Student Handbook.


Any non-authorized collaboration will be considered cheating and the student(s) involved will have an Academic Dishonesty charge completed by the instructor and placed on file in the Deans office and the CIS Department.  All instructors regardless of the type of assignment will apply this Academic Dishonesty policy equally to all students.  See excerpt from the Student Handbook below:


Academic Honesty

(Abstracted from GSUs Student Handbook Student Code of Conduct Policy on Academic Honesty and Procedures for Resolving Matters of Academic Honesty - . )


As members of the academic community, students are expected to recognize and uphold standards of intellectual and academic integrity. The University assumes as a basic and minimum standard of conduct in academic matters that students be honest and that they submit for credit only the products of their own efforts. Both the ideals of scholarship and the need for fairness require that all dishonest work be rejected as a basis for academic credit. They also require that students refrain from any and all forms of dishonorable or unethical conduct related to their academic work.


Students are expected to discuss with faculty the expectations regarding course assignments and standards of conduct.  Here are some examples and definitions that clarify the standards by which academic honesty and academically honorable conduct are judged at GSU.


Plagiarism. Plagiarism is presenting another persons work as ones own. Plagiarism includes any paraphrasing or summarizing of the works of another person without acknowledgment, including the submitting of another students work as ones own. Plagiarism frequently involves a failure to acknowledge in the text, notes, or footnotes the quotation of the paragraphs, sentences, or even a few phrases written or spoken by someone else. The submission of research or completed papers or projects by someone else is plagiarism, as is the unacknowledged use of research sources gathered by someone else when that use is specifically forbidden by the faculty member. Failure to indicate the extent and nature of ones reliance on other sources is also a form of plagiarism. Failure to indicate the extent and nature of ones reliance on other sources is also a form of plagiarism. Any work, in whole or part, taken from the internet or other computer based resource without properly referencing the source (for example, the URL) is considered plagiarism. A complete reference is required in order that all parties may locate and view the original source. Finally, there may be forms of plagiarism that are unique to an individual discipline or course, examples of which should be provided in advance by the faculty member. The student is responsible for understanding the legitimate use of sources, the appropriate ways of acknowledging academic, scholarly or creative indebtedness, and the consequences of violating this responsibility.


Cheating on Examinations. Cheating on examinations involves giving or receiving unauthorized help before, during, or after an examination. Examples of unauthorized help include the use of notes, texts, or crib sheets during an examination (unless specifically approved by the faculty member), or sharing information with another student during an examination (unless specifically approved by the faculty member). Other examples include intentionally allowing another student to view ones own examination and collaboration before or after an examination if such collaboration is specifically forbidden by the faculty member.


Unauthorized Collaboration. Submission for academic credit of a work product, or a part thereof, represented as its being ones own effort, which has been developed in substantial collaboration with assistance from another person or source, or computer honesty. It is also a violation of academic honesty knowingly to provide such assistance. Collaborative work specifically authorized by a faculty member is allowed.

Legal Requirements:  Some project assignments may require legal agreements with the respective clients, and some projects may not require legal agreements.  In cases where legal agreements are necessary, legal documents are available for student use.  All students are expected to be familiar with the terms of the legal requirement documents furnished by the University.  Examples of such documents are non-disclosure agreements and waivers of intellectual property.  Do not sign these without GSU review.

All student work presented for course credit will identify the sources of information used, and any sources quoted verbatim will be further identified by including the material in quotations.  Any material included in work submitted that is copied from other sources without giving credit for the source will result in a grade of F for the course.

Course Objectives    Method of Instruction      Policies    Grades           TOP  Project Guidelines


Textbooks for CIS 3001, CIS 3300, CIS 3310 (if taken), and CIS 3730 should be retained for reference in this course. Each student is expected to read each of the following:

     Why MBA Students Can't Write  The Wall Street Journal
     The Elements of Clunk The Chronicle of Higher Education

     What Corporate American Cant Build: A Sentence The New York Times

     Writing Commission The College Board

     What is WAC Georgia State University

     Recommended but not required:  Planning Written and Spoken Messages  Cengage

Course Objectives    Method of Instruction    Text     Policies          TOP  Project Guidelines


Criteria for Project Grades:

To earn a project grade of "C" a student team must successfully complete the following minimum requirements, which shall be demonstrated in both written reports and oral presentations to the complete satisfaction of the faculty and the client, plus excellent relations with the client throughout the duration of the project:

Project plans and project management documentation
Requirements definition as provided by the project sponsor
Database design
System design
Documentation of research for the project (both CIS and project related research)
Attendance and participation in all class presentations as required by the class schedule
Attendance and participation in all client meetings
Submittal of all project reports ON TIME as required by the class schedule.
Presentation of research and documentation to the faculty and the project sponsor
Communicate effectively and timely with the project sponsor and the Course Director
Present a professional appearance and conduct toward the project sponsor in all personal contact.

Additional specifications for projects requiring software development:
Development of a fully functional prototype that meets all of the defined requirements, with no errors
Testing of the prototype
Implementation and demonstration of the prototype to the faculty and the sponsor
Implementation of the prototype in the sponsor's environment
Technical documentation of all aspects of the project
Non-technical documentation of instructions for the users of the prototype (a User Guide)
Client training in the operation of the prototype

To earn a project grade of "A", a student team must successfully accomplish all the above, plus provide more functionality and better documentation than the minimum expected by the sponsor, the course Director and the faculty, plus excellent relations with the sponsor throughout the duration of the project.  The student must also complete an excellent CTW assignment.

Individual student grades will be allocated according to their contribution to their team's project as determined by the team peer evaluations.  However, a student may not get a grade higher than "one step above" the project grade earned by the team.  For example, if the project grade is B, then the highest grade will be B+ for individuals on that project team.

FACTOR weights in grading:
Inputs:  Course Director 60%, Project Sponsor 40%, Teammates provide peer evaluation scores to adjust the project grade to yield the individual student grade.

Deliverables will vary depending on the specific project.  The following are examples of typical deliverables and their weights in determining the final grade.  CTW and self-paced courses do not change weight with projects.

The following add up to the Course Director's 60%.

Development Projects (most projects):  Prototype 24%, Reports & Presentations 23 %, CTW assignment 8%, Programming Self-Paced courses 5%
Other project types:  Documentation to project sponsor 24%, Reports & Presentations 23%, CTW assignment 8%, Programming Self-Paced courses 5%

Please see for more details.  The average peer evaluation score for a team member is multiplied by the team project grade to get the individual team member grade. This can change your final grade by two letter grades!

CAUTION:  Student are expected to conduct themselves in a manner that best exemplifies students in the University, the Robinson College of Business, the CIS Department, and CIS 4980.

Grade Distribution














Total Points

97.0 - 100

93.0 - 96.9


87.0- 89.9



77.0- 79.9



60.0 - 69.9

Below 60.0

Checklist for earning a grade of  "C" ..... or better.

Course Objectives    Method of Instruction    Text     Policies    Grades     TOP  Project Guidelines