This Course has been replaced by CSE557
Opening the PDF files on this page may require you to download Adobe Reader or an equivalent viewer (GhostScript).

Opening Microsoft files (winzip, word, excel, powerpoint) on this page may require you to download a special viewer. Or you can download and save the files and use your preferred office applications to view and edit them.


    CSCI372 Syllabus

      Study the generic rules for all my classes [ ../syllabus.html ] as well as the rest of this [ index.html ] web site.

      Course Information

      1. General system theory, information theory. Modeling organizational activities, hardware and software with the Unified Modeling Language. Human-computer interaction, systems engineering. Students will study part of an actual or hypothetical organization. Prerequisites: CSCI 201, MATH 272, MATH 262. (4 units)

      I will waive the MATH requirements this quarter.

      This course is being taught for the sixth time in the Fall of 2008. It is normally scheduled once per year. This is the third quarter with no required text book. Instead there will be readings on the Web. I will refer you to a particular page on my web site for this class [ ] for you to study. Most readings will have a set of review questions to be answered as the assigned work for the class.

      Why Take This Class?

      1. The course is required in the BA interdisciplinary and web options.
      2. Your long term career depends on how well you understand the way organizations work and how computers can be used in them.
      3. It is important to produce software that helps an enterprise work better. My doctor complains that computerizing the paper work in his HMO has reduced the number of patients he sees each day from 30 to 20... and he is working harder than before. Should he blame the OS or is it bad design, or something else?
      4. This course reviews hardware and software options from the point of view of both the user and the computer professional.
      5. Knowledge of systems analysis and design will count in winning a job. This is course covers a lot of systems analysis and design.
      6. Being able to spot risks, opportunities, and problems and solve them is a vital skill. This course will show you how to look at a situation and find problems, risks, and opportunities in it. This is a useful set of skills in any job.
      7. We will cover the traditional and Unified forms of diagrams.
      8. I will show you how to design and evaluate systems of programs.
      9. I will suggest methods for planning and managing projects.
      10. We will cover the operation, support, and maintenance of systems. These are a vital part of real systems.
      11. Field Trips!
      12. No Programming!


      (Required Reading): You will be required to read handouts and designated papers on the World Wide Web. Detailed reading assignments will be in the pages for each class on the web -- these will be ready in time to prepare for each class.

      Here is a list of topics covered

      1. Analysis: Systems and Fact Finding [ a1.html ] , Organizational Context of Systems Work [ a2.html ] , Systems Architecture [ a3.html ] , Modeling the Data in a System [ a4.html ] , System Modeling [ a5.html ]
      2. Choices: Selecting Projects [ c1.html ] , Strategic Thinking [ c2.html ] , Project Planning and Management [ c3.html ]
      3. Data: Human Interfaces [ d1.html ] , Data Element Design [ d2.html ] , Entity Relationship Models [ d3.html ] , Detailed Data Design [ d4.html ]
      4. Requirements: Processes, Procedures, and Logic [ r1.html ] , Functions and Use cases [ r2.html ] , System Design [ r3.html ]

      Note: many of the skills in this course are embodied as procedures, calculations, and diagrams: Data Flow Diagrams, Critical Path Method, Entity-Relationship Diagrams, Normalization, Activity Diagrams, etc., I expect you to learn to do them correctly and demonstrate this in quizzes and the final.

      As you study these web resources look out for Stories, Patterns, Principles, Diagrams, Calculations, Errors, Smells, and Jokes.

      Stories (a short concrete description) are a neat way to express an idea. They will be used to introduce topics. eXtreme Programming uses them for requirements. "War stories" of real life systems are worth taking note of.

      Patterns are solutions to complex problems that are good enough to be used again and again. Watch out for these in each topic we cover.

      Principles are general properties or rules that we use. Some are based on theory and sometimes on practice. Again look out for these.

      Diagrams are useful tools. We express our ideas about particular systems using pictures with well defined meanings. An example is the Data Flow Diagram or DFD that shows how parts of a system effect each other. Another is the Activity Diagram that records a particular procedure used in an organization. You must master the rules for half-a-dozen diagrams so you can use them as needed in your career.

      Calculations help check that our diagrams work. We use calculations to evaluate designs and plans. For example we can use an activity diagram to describe the work to be done next week, and the "Critical Path Method" to calculate how long it will take and which steps in the plan are most critical for completing it before the week is over.

      Errors occur when you don't follow the rules for particular Diagrams or Calculations -- like when you add 2 and 2 and get the answer 5. These are like syntax errors uncovered in your program by a compiler. You must avoid these (and spot them) to do well in this class.

      Smells tell you something is wrong. For example a good doctor can diagnose a strep throat from the smell on the patient's breath. Similarly a program that does not give a name to a constant does not smell good: it might compile and run, but something is rotten in it. A smell in a diagram does not mean it is incorrect -- but it means you should try figure out what is really going on, and perhaps change the diagram.

      Jokes encapsulate folk wisdom. Here is an example. [ TireSwingTable.html ] (Cartoon) [ treeswing.htm ] (History and origins)


        This web site [ seems to talk sense] .

        The Wikipedia is fairly trustworthy, but check with me.

      Instructional Methods, Work and Grading

        I will be using my standard straight-line grading scheme based on a 500 point nominal total. See [ ../syllabus.html ] on my main web site.

        Lecture Discussion

        40 points(8%). Lectures and discussions will be based on assigned reading. Participating in the 20 classes will be worth 2 point each. My plan is to set you lots of exercises starting with a task to be done while I grade the [ Assigned Work ] next below. There will be short lectures.

        Assigned work

        36 points(7.2%). There are 18 assignments. Each is worth 2 points. You will normally be given some web pages to study. They end with a set of review questions. You should try to answer as many of review questions as you have time for. Bring one question and its answer to class on a piece of paper with your name on it. It is worth 2 points. If you don't have a review question+answer hand in a blank sheet of paper with your name on it to at least prove you were in class. In some class meetings there is no reading and so no review questions. Instead hand in a question you want answered.

        Field Trips

        45 points(9%). There will be 3 field trips. Participation is worth 5 points and a written report is worth 10 points. The report is due at the start of the following class. It should be at least one page long. It should present your own observations and thoughts.

        You can make up for missing a field trip by organizing your own visit to any office on campus and writing a report on how computer technology is used in that office.


        50 points(10%). Parts of five(5) sessions (Schedule) will be dedicated to developing a team project that interests you. 5 points will be given for work done in class time and a further 5 points for completing the work ready for the following session starts. Hand in what you have at the start of the next session. I will also ask for a short progress report from each team at the start of the class. At the end of the course you will be asked to present your project to the class. These classes will be passed to CSCI375 for further development. In the past some projects have ended up being implemented as Senior Projects.


        150 points(30%), 15 points each in 10 classes(Schedule). Note. This the largest component in the assessment prior to the final. Quizzes will test your memory of topics covered plus skill with the techniques covered. It is essential that you read the quiz questions accurately. Answering the wrong question -- for example designing an output format when the question asks for an input technique -- will loose points. Another example -- drawing a DFD when the question asks for an ERD, or vice versa looses points.


        You can earn the standard 5 points bonus/make up points by attending a computer science seminar or Masters project presentation. See [ ../seminar/ ] for the schedule. You must attend the seminar and, at the next class meeting, hand in to me a short report: who, what, when, why, how, ... (less than 250 words) on the presentation.

        Course Work

        You can score a maximum of 300 points before the final.

        Final Examination

        200 points comprehensive(40%). Questions will be based on work done in class (including field trips and project work) and in assignments during the quarter. See a previous years [ mock.html ] [ mock.pdf ] mock finals.

      . . . . . . . . . ( end of section Instructional Methods) <<Contents | End>>


      [ schedule.html ]

      See Also: Policies and Schedule

      See my generic syllabus [ ../syllabus.html ] for the general policies that apply in my classes. Also check out the on-line [ schedule.html ] on my web site.

      Changes Can Happen

      This is a tentative syllabus. If I have to change anything it will be announced on this website [ index.html ] , in class, or even by EMail to your CSUSB Email address. If I make changes a note will be posted on the blog for this class. My web page has links to changes on my site. These may lag a a day behind.

      What is this class about

      This class includes materials often covered in courses called
    1. Systems_Engineering::= See [ Systems_engineering ]

    2. Systems_Analysis::= See

    3. Systems_Thinking::= See

    . . . . . . . . . ( end of section CS372 Syllabus) <<Contents | End>>


  1. TBA::="To Be Announced".
  2. TBD::="To Be Done".


    Notes -- Analysis [ a1.html ] [ a2.html ] [ a3.html ] [ a4.html ] [ a5.html ] -- Choices [ c1.html ] [ c2.html ] [ c3.html ] -- Data [ d1.html ] [ d2.html ] [ d3.html ] [ d4.html ] -- Rules [ r1.html ] [ r2.html ] [ r3.html ]

    Projects [ project1.html ] [ project2.html ] [ project3.html ] [ project4.html ] [ project5.html ] [ projects.html ]

    Field Trips [ F1.html ] [ F2.html ] [ F3.html ]

    [ about.html ] [ index.html ] [ schedule.html ] [ syllabus.html ] [ readings.html ] [ review.html ] [ glossary.html ] [ contact.html ] [ grading/ ]