Course Title: Decision Support Systems

Part A: Course Overview

Course Title: Decision Support Systems

Credit Points: 12

Course Code




Learning Mode

Teaching Period(s)


City Campus


620H Business Info Technology


Sem 1 2006,
Sem 2 2006,
Sem 1 2007,
Sem 2 2007

Course Coordinator: Dr Hepu Deng

Course Coordinator Phone: +61 3 9925 5823

Course Coordinator

Course Coordinator Location: 108.17.13

Course Coordinator Availability: Monday and Wednesday or by appointment

Pre-requisite Courses and Assumed Knowledge and Capabilities

ISYS2056, ISYS2046, ISYS2047

Course Description

This course is intended to develop an appreciation of the nature of managerial business decision making as well as an understanding of Decision Support Systems (DSS) designed to facilitate the process. Issues associated with the development of these systems are introduced, along with some of the underlying mathematical modelling techniques that provide DSS with a problem solving capability.

Objectives/Learning Outcomes/Capability Development

This Course is striving to develop the graduate capabilities of our students in a university environment as follows:

It is intended that this course will provide students with a workable knowledge of decisions faced by people in management positions in the workplace. As a result they should be able to identify if a computerised system can facilitate better decision making in a given context and if so what type of system would be suitable. 

Students should be able to approach the design of a computerised system in a creative manner. In addition they should be able to provide creative solutions rather than stock answers. 

Students should be able to analyse a given business situation critically and without bias so as to be able to identify a workable solution. Similarly, a critical analysis of systems designed should always occur before delivery of the finished product. 

The practical side of this course relies on students taking responsibility for their project, from the planning stage to the operational stage.

Students are equipped with knowledge and practical skills that could be eagerly sought in a graduate. In many cases, contacts in business (a requirement of the assignment work) employ the students’ services beyond the completion date of the assignment for additional projects or for refinement and further development of the work just completed. 

The initiative required of students, while working with a business contact and subsequently attempting to deliver the agreed-upon prototype, provides them with experience that lends itself to leadership of similar type projects.

Upon satisfactory completion of this course, students should have an increased understanding of:

  • the relationship between business information needs and decision making,
  • issues relating to the development of DSS, 
  • the general nature and range of management support systems, 
  • appropriate modelling techniques, 
  • the skills required to design and code a DSS, and 
  • the fundamentals associated with the selection of hardware and software for DSS.

A key objective of this course is to prepare students for a decisional role in industry, a role that has a particular emphasis on designing model-based computer systems to facilitate decision making at a managerial level.

Overview of Learning Activities

Students attend a one hour lecture and a two hour workshop session in a computer laboratory.

Practical exercises, set during lab time, build on theory introduced in the lecture and aim to provide the skills required for designing and constructing a computerised DSS.

Overview of Learning Resources

Prescribed textbook

Maraks, G., (2003) Decision Support Systems in the 21st Century, Prentice Hall.

Holsapple, C.W. & Whinston, A.B., (1997) Decision Support Systems, a Knowledge-based Approach, West Publishing.

Winston, W. & Albright, (1997) S., Management Science, Spreadsheet Modelling & Applications,Wadsworth

Jacobson, R., (1997) Excel 97 Visual Basic Step by Step, Microsoft Press.

Additional Reading
Watson, H. J., Houdeshel, G. & Rainer, R. K. Jr., (1997) Building Executive Information Systems & other Decision Support Applications, John Wiley & Sons.

Klein, M. R. & Methlie, L. B. (1995) Knowledge-based Decision Support Systems with Applications in Business, Second Edition, John Wiley & Sons.

Sauter, V., (1997) Decision Support Systems, John Wiley & Sons, Inc.

Turban E., (1995) Decision Support Systems and Expert Systems, 4th edition, Maxwell Macmillan

Overview of Assessment

Assessment consists of TWO (2) assignments, ONE (1) work folder and ONE (1) examination. Their respective contributions to the overall assessment of the Course are  outlined as follows:

Assignment 1 10%
Assignment 2 40%
Lab work folder 10%
Examination 40%

All assessment tasks MUST be submitted and students MUST pass the examination to pass the course.

Assignment due dates have been set so that students may progress evenly from one topic to another. Failure to keep up with the set pace will invariably jeopardise the student’s future progress into advanced topics and will compromise the student’s ability to absorb successive material. Please retain a copy of your assignment in the event of loss or theft or fire! Assignment due dates should be viewed as deadlines. Late assignments will be debited 10% for each day past the due date. Extensions will only be granted in the case of extenuating circumstances. All applications for extensions must be made via the completion of the appropriate form available from the office on level 17. Any such applications for extension must be made AND APPROVED prior to the due date. Your request for an extension should specify reasons for the application and include supporting evidence if it exists.

Where circumstances, such as illness, personal problems or other matters, may have adversely affected performance, students can apply for special consideration. If such a situation arises, you should complete a Special Consideration form, specifying reasons for the application, and submit it within the specified time of the assessment requirement. Supporting information, such as a doctor’s certificate, should be attached.

Submission of assessable work will be made by one of the following methods:
- submitted during a lab session
- submitted via the assignment box on level 17, building 108
- submitted electronically to staff
Students will be told which method is required prior to each due date. Assessed work will usually be returned during a lab session or at the end of the lecture.

Some tutorial time is allocated for revision of spreadsheets. However, this alone will not be sufficient to learn spreadsheet concepts in general. Students are expected to develop basic spreadsheet skills in their own time. There are many references and tutorial guides available in the book shop. Actual programming of the spreadsheet, using VBA, will be taught during computer lab sessions.

The possible grades are as outlined below:
HD (High Distinction) 80%-100%
DI (Distinction) 70% - 79%
CR (Credit) 60% - 69%
PA (Pass) 50% - 59%
N (Fail) 0% - 49%