MGMT 337 Syllabus
Fall 2015
Preliminary Version of 7/26/2015

General Information

Instructor: Stephen D. Burd
Phone: 277-6418 (office), 277-7121 (messages, 0800-1700), 277-7108 (FAX)
Skype ID: Stephen.Burd
Office: ASM 2118 
Office Hours: Not yet determined
Class Meetings: None - online class
Classroom: None - online class
Prerequisites: None required.  Recommended prerequisites include CS 150 (or equivalent), 1 semester of programming (e.g., CS 152 or MGMT 330), MATH 180, ECON 105, and ENGL 219
Textbook: Burd, Stephen D., Systems Architecture, Seventh Edition, Course Technology (Cengage Learning), 2015, ISBN not yet assigned.

Textbook and References

Textbook chapters are the foundation reading for the course.  Draft chapters form the 7th edition will be posted on the course web site.  Other online reading assignments will also be posted on the course web site to update content and to provide supporting materials for specific assignments.

Though I am the textbook author, it isn't my intention to make money from textbook sales to UNM students completing this or other courses.  I earn approximately $5 for every printed copy of the textbook sold in the US or Canada.  If you purchase a printed copy of any of my textbooks (new or used) that hasn't been previously signed by me I'll be happy to refund the $5 directly to you.  Simply bring the book to me during office hours or by appointment.  I'll sign it and give you $5.

Course Objectives

This primary objective of this course is to provide you with a detailed understanding of computer hardware and system software. The material covered in this course forms a technical knowledge foundation for systems analysis, design, development, configuration, procurement, and management. Although some of these application areas will be addressed in this course, the primary emphasis is expanding your basic technical knowledge. Detailed application of that knowledge is addressed in other MIS concentration courses.  Quizzes, exams, and written assignments will be the primary ways in which your understanding of computer hardware and system software is assessed.

Though application of technical knowledge isn't the primary course objective, retention of any learned material is significantly improved by application exercises.  Thus, secondary course objectives include improving your ability to find and absorb information on computer hardware and system software and improving your writing ability with respect to technical topics.  There will multiple writing assignments in support of these secondary objectives. Most of the writing assignments will require you to analyze and/or compare technical alternatives and make specific and well-supported recommendations.

Course Organization and Student Expectations

This is the fifth semester that I've taught this course online and my earlier experiences have taught me some hard lessons.  I have and will continue to make changes in response to those lessons - primarily to increase the interactivity of the course and to even out the workload across the semester.

An important implication of participating in this course is that you should not assume that anything in this syllabus or schedule is set in stone. You should also ensure that you keep up with the class through regular preparation and prompt completion of assignments. Students who "disappear" for an extended period may find the course substantially altered when they return.

We will cover approximately 10 chapters worth of material during the semester.  Each week will be devoted to an entire chapter or portion of a chapter and will include activities that test your preparation level and your ability to apply concepts learned in the chapter. Activities that test preparation will primarily be quizzes and other online assessments.  Activities that test application abilities will be more open-ended assignments that are designed to "stretch" you by applying chapter material in practical or expansive ways.  Exams will cover both chapter and application-oriented material though they'll be weighted more heavily toward the former.

Successfully completing application-oriented assignments will require you to have mastered related chapter material.  In addition, some of the material is inherently cumulative across chapters.  As such, it is very important that you keep up with the material and that you act quickly to remedy and deficiencies in your understanding.  To do so, you'll need to complete readings, assessments, and assignments in a timely fashion and interact with me promptly when there are things that you don't understand.  Though this is an online class, I will be available by email and telephone, during office hours, and by appointment.  Take advantage of these opportunities as needed ... you're paying good money for access to my time so use it!

I read my student evaluations every semester and the wide range of comments regarding my teaching and student interaction styles has always perturbed me.  Comments typically include many that praise my accessibility and helpfulness and nearly as many that describe me as aloof, distant, and unsympathetic.  Both are accurate - but how is that possible?  Simply put, I have little patience for students who are underprepared, who aren't able to perceive their own knowledge gaps, and who aren't proactive in filling those gaps.  I expect students to prepare thoroughly and (as a result) to have a good grasp of what they do and don't understand.  When they do perceive a gap in their knowledge, I expect them to make a timely and thorough attempt to fill the gap. Asking me for help is part of that attempt though so are rereading chapters, interacting with classmates, and searching out and reading supplemental material.  These are reasonable expectations for college upperclassmen and graduate students and they're essential abilities to succeed in any computer-related career.

If you're timely and thorough in your preparation and work but are still having trouble understanding the material or completing assignments, you'll find me approachable, helpful, and generous with my time and attention.  If you're un- or underprepared, consistently late, or asking for help that should have been asked for many days or weeks ago then you'll find me irritable, curt, and unsympathetic.  The choice of which "me" with whom you want to interact with is entirely yours!

Student Evaluation

Exams Three online exams will be given. Exams are not intended to be cumulative though some of the material is inherently cumulative.  Previous semesters' exams are available on the class web page.  Each exam will be open for only a two-hour window and all students will take the exam at the same time.  Scheduled exam dates/times are as follows:
  • Exam 1 - Sunday, September 20, 3:30-5:30 PM
  • Exam 2 - Sunday, October 25, noon-2:00 PM
  • Exam 3 - Sunday, December 6, noon-2:00 PM
Quizzes Online quizzes will be administered most weeks to test your comprehension of assigned reading materials. Quizzes will be opened early in the week and due on Saturday at noon.  Students may attempt each quiz twice with the highest grade counted toward your final grade. I suggest that you do the assigned readings early in the week and take the quiz for the first time no later than Wednesday at noon. That will give you at least 1.5 days to identify and resolve any deficiencies in your understanding of the week's material and to retake the quiz.
Assignments Seven assignments will be due throughout the semester. Each assignment will require you to synthesize material covered during the previous 1-3 weeks to answer one or more in-depth questions.  All assignments require written answers - usually a maximum of two or three single-spaced pages. You may submit a draft of any assignment for my review which will usually be returned with comments the next day. Assignment answers will be posted shortly after the assignment due date and the content of those answers may form the basis of exam questions.
Projects Two larger projects will be assigned. The projects will be relatively complex choice or design scenarios that require you to synthesize and apply material from multiple chapters and course topics. Each project will include detailed instructions and additional reading materials.  I will also provide samples of similar projects and answers from previous semesters to guide you. As with assignments, you're encouraged to start on them early and to submit one or more drafts for my review. Project "answers" will be posted shortly after the project due date and the content of those answers may form the basis of later exam questions.
Grading: 42% Exams (3 @ 14% each)
18% Quizzes (highest 9 quiz scores @ 2% each)
24% Assignments (7 @ approximately 3.43% each)
16% Projects (2 @ 8% each)

Final letter grades will be determined on either a straight 90%-80%-70%-60% scale or a downward shifted curve. Plus and/or minus grades will be used only in borderline cases.

A grade of incomplete will be given only when circumstances beyond the student's control cause a substantial amount of course work to be unfinished by the end of the semester. Whenever possible, the student is expected to make extra efforts to prevent that situation. The instructor will be the sole judge of whether an incomplete is warranted.
Due Dates: Make-up exams will be given and late assignments and projects will be accepted only in unusual circumstances (e.g., severe or prolonged illness, death in family, etc.). Arrangements for make-up exams or late assignments or projects must be made in advance. At the instructor's option, an exam, assignment, or project may be waived with the student's other grades given higher weights to compensate.

There are no make-ups or deadline extensions for quizzes.

Course Web Page and Email

Canvas will be your primary gateway to this course though much of the detailed material will be stored on my own web site.  The Canvas site will be highly structured using weekly modules - please follow that structure to prepare and to complete assignments.  The UNM Learn site for this course will not be used.

All class materials will be distributed only via Canvas. Important announcements and other time-sensitive information will sometimes be distributed by email. Do not send me messages via UNM Learn or via Canvas - I do not monitor those accounts and will not respond to messages sent there.  Instead, use my UNM email address -

Outline and Schedule

The outline and schedule is available on the class web site. The schedule is subject to change as the semester progresses (periodically check the course web page for changes).

Students With Disabilities

If you are a qualified person with disabilities who might need appropriate academic adjustments, please communicate with me as soon as possible so that we may make appropriate arrangements to meet your needs in a timely manner. Frequently, we will need to coordinate accommodating activities with other offices on campus. Course materials can be made available in alternative formats.

Academic Honesty Policy

A policy on academic honesty is available on the class web site. This policy applies to all exams and assignments. Acts of academic dishonesty will be punished.

This page was last updated on 07/26/15