635.601.81 - Foundations of Information Systems Engineering

Information Systems Engineering
Spring 2024


Creating and operating large-scale information systems requires a holistic approach that manages the blending of software, hardware, networks, and security inherent in modern systems. This course introduces key elements and processes required for designing, analyzing, developing, and integrating complex information systems. The course focuses on the systems engineering approach with specific emphasis on design, development, and deployment. Topics covered include requirements engineering, architecture development, security engineering, cost-benefit analysis, information and networking technologies, and operations. Course Note(s): The required foundation courses may be taken in any order but must be taken before other courses in the degree.


Profile photo of Jeffrey Chavis.

Jeffrey Chavis


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Karen Valenta


Course Structure

The course content is divided into modules. A module will have three sections: Overview, Content, and Assignments. Each week a new module will be covered. Students should regularly check the Course Blackboard for assignment due dates. Students are encouraged to preview all sections of a module on Blackboard before each module.

Course Topics

Course Goals

The goal of this course is to identify and describe a systematic framework for categorizing information systems. Using this framework, we will explore the precepts, concepts, technologies, and principles surrounding information systems engineering. The course will integrate real word case studies with in class discussions to provide a rich overview of the material.

This course will apply the fundamentals of information systems engineering in a term team project based on a real world scenario.

Course Learning Outcomes (CLOs)


Rainer, R. K. and Prince, Brad, Introduction to information systems, 10th edition, Hoboken, N.J: Wiley. October 2023.

Either the loose-leaf, bound version or on-line version of the text can be used.

Textbook information for this course is available online through the appropriate bookstore website: For online courses, search the MBS website at http://ep.jhu.edu/bookstore.

Student Coursework Requirements

It is expected that each module will take 6-9 hours per week to complete. The first few weeks in it will be more like 6, and the last few weeks expect this to ramp up to 9 as you work in your teams to complete the projects. If you find that you are spending significantly more time per week, please contact your professor for assistance.

It is expected that all work be completed by the posted due dates. If you have extenuating circumstances that will cause you to turn in a submission late, you must contact the professors before the due date. Failure to turn in the assignment on time or request an extension may result in all points lost for that submission.

Please note that this course involves extensive writing assignments. Your grade will be in part reflective of the quality of your writing. Extra time should be allotted for this class to fulfill the requisite work load, and meet the standard of quality required by the professors in your work. Please plan your time accordingly.

Here is an approximate breakdown: reading the assigned sections of the texts (approximately 2–3 hours per week) as well as some outside reading, listening to the audio annotated slide presentations and other assigned videos (approximately 1–2 hours per week), writing homework assignments (approximately 1–2 hours per week), and working on class projects. Again, Please note that the last several weeks of the class may require 2-4 additional hours per week to complete project deliverables.

Students must emphasize lessons learned from each module (with prior modules as applicable) when completing all coursework (discussions, homework, tests, etc)


Participation Expectations

Frequent Online attendance is required. There will be a good deal of discussions, which are important to the subject matter.

This course will consist of a weighted average grading of four basic student requirements:


  1. Preparation and Participation (online discussions, individual assignments and team exercises) (20% of Final Grade Calculation)

Each student is responsible for carefully reading all assigned material and being prepared for discussion. The majority of readings are from the course modules. Additional readings will be assigned to supplement text readings.

  1. Part one of your Class discussion grade is based on posting your initial response to the discussion questions by the evening of Saturday for that module week. Posting a response to the discussion question is part one of your grade for class discussions (i.e., Timeliness).
  2. Part two of your grade for class discussion is your interaction (i.e., responding to classmate postings with thoughtful responses) with at least two classmates (i.e., Critical Thinking). Just posting your response to a discussion question is not sufficient; we want you to interact with your classmates. Be detailed in your postings and in your responses to your classmates' postings. Feel free to agree or disagree with your
  3. Part three of your grade discussion is completeness of thought. Going beyond the obvious to explore the deeper meaning and applications of the issues contained in the
  4. Part four of your grade (if applicable for a given module) is your completion of individual and team Here again, we are looking for completeness, your ability to apply reading and lecture material to real world examples as well as demonstrate that you have learned new technical material from interactive exercises.
  5. Please ensure that your postings are civil and
  6. Students have the option of creating a discussion thread on an aspect of the weekly module topic they themselves have an interest in. Students may elect to use their own discussion question a substitute for or enrichment to one of the weekly discussions

Evaluation of preparation and participation is based on contribution to discussions. Preparation and participation is evaluated by the following grading elements:

  1. Timeliness
  2. Critical Thinking
  3. Completeness of thought

9-10 = A—Timeliness [regularly participates; all required postings; early in discussion; throughout the discussion]; Critical Thinking [rich in content; full of thoughts, insight, and analysis].

8 = B—Timeliness [frequently participates; all required postings; some not in time for others to read and respond]; Critical Thinking [substantial information; thought, insight, and analysis has taken place].

7 = C—Timeliness [infrequently participates; all required postings; most at the last minute without allowing for response time]; Critical Thinking [generally competent; information is thin and commonplace].

<7 = F—Timeliness [rarely participates; some, or all required postings missing]; Critical Thinking [rudimentary and superficial; no analysis or insight is displayed].

  1. Homework (20% of Final Grade Calculation)

Reading and enrichment assignments will be important sources of material for solidifying the concepts in this class

Homework assignments will include a mix of qualitative assignments (e.g. literature reviews, model summaries), quantitative problem sets, and case study.

Assignments may be individual or team assignments.   When team assignments a team grade will be earned.

Homework assignments will be evaluated using the following grading elements: Writing assignments are evaluated by the following grading elements:

  1. Each part of question is answered;
  2. Writing quality and technical accuracy (Writing is expected to meet or exceed accepted graduate-level English and scholarship standards. That is, all homework assignments will be graded on grammar and style as well as content.);
  3. Rationale for answer is provided; any assumptions are clearly stated
  4. Examples are included to illustrate rationale (If a student does not have direct experience related to a particular question, then the student is to provide analogies versus examples.);
  5. Outside references are included.


Homework will be graded as follows:

9-10 = A—All parts of question are addressed; Writing Quality/ Rationale/ Examples/ Outside References [rich in content; full of thought, insight, and analysis].

8= B—All parts of the question are addressed; Writing Quality/ Rationale/ Examples/ Outside References [substantial information; thought, insight, and analysis has taken place].

7=C—Majority of parts of the question are addressed; Writing Quality/ Rationale/ Examples/ Outside References [generally competent; information is thin and commonplace].

<7=F—Some parts of the question are addressed; Writing Quality/ Rationale/ Examples/ Outside References [rudimentary and superficial; no analysis or insight displayed].


  1. Project - (with multiple deliverables) 20% of grade


  1. Midterm and Final (40% of Final Grade Calculation)

We will have a Midterm and a Final. Each carries a weight of 20%. The Midterm will be given as part of Module 7 and the Final will be given as part of module 14

Grading Policy

Assignments are due according to the dates posted in your Blackboard course site. You may check these due dates in the Course Calendar or the Assignments in the corresponding modules. I/We will post grades one week after assignment due dates.

We generally do not directly grade spelling and grammar. However, egregious violations of the rules of the English language will be noted without comment. Consistently poor performance in either spelling or grammar is taken as an indication of poor written communication ability that may detract from your grade.

A grade of A indicates achievement of consistent excellence and distinction throughout the course—that is, conspicuous excellence in all aspects of assignments and discussion in every week.

A grade of B indicates work that meets all course requirements on a level appropriate for graduate academic work. These criteria apply to both undergraduates and graduate students taking the course.

EP uses a +/- grading system (see “Grading System”, Graduate Programs catalog, p. 10). 100-98 = A+

97-94 = A

93-90 = A−

89-87 = B+

86-83 = B

82-80 = B−

79-77 = C+

76-73 = C

72-70 = C−

69-67 = D+

66-63 = D

<63 = F


Final grades will be determined by the following weighting:


% of Grade

Discussion (Preparation and Participation)




Course Project


Exams (Midterm + Final)

40% (20% + 20%)


Academic Policies

Deadlines for Adding, Dropping and Withdrawing from Courses

Students may add a course up to one week after the start of the term for that particular course. Students may drop courses according to the drop deadlines outlined in the EP academic calendar (https://ep.jhu.edu/student-services/academic-calendar/). Between the 6th week of the class and prior to the final withdrawal deadline, a student may withdraw from a course with a W on their academic record. A record of the course will remain on the academic record with a W appearing in the grade column to indicate that the student registered and withdrew from the course.

Academic Misconduct Policy

All students are required to read, know, and comply with the Johns Hopkins University Krieger School of Arts and Sciences (KSAS) / Whiting School of Engineering (WSE) Procedures for Handling Allegations of Misconduct by Full-Time and Part-Time Graduate Students.

This policy prohibits academic misconduct, including but not limited to the following: cheating or facilitating cheating; plagiarism; reuse of assignments; unauthorized collaboration; alteration of graded assignments; and unfair competition. Course materials (old assignments, texts, or examinations, etc.) should not be shared unless authorized by the course instructor. Any questions related to this policy should be directed to EP’s academic integrity officer at ep-academic-integrity@jhu.edu.

Students with Disabilities - Accommodations and Accessibility

Johns Hopkins University values diversity and inclusion. We are committed to providing welcoming, equitable, and accessible educational experiences for all students. Students with disabilities (including those with psychological conditions, medical conditions and temporary disabilities) can request accommodations for this course by providing an Accommodation Letter issued by Student Disability Services (SDS). Please request accommodations for this course as early as possible to provide time for effective communication and arrangements.

For further information or to start the process of requesting accommodations, please contact Student Disability Services at Engineering for Professionals, ep-disability-svcs@jhu.edu.

Student Conduct Code

The fundamental purpose of the JHU regulation of student conduct is to promote and to protect the health, safety, welfare, property, and rights of all members of the University community as well as to promote the orderly operation of the University and to safeguard its property and facilities. As members of the University community, students accept certain responsibilities which support the educational mission and create an environment in which all students are afforded the same opportunity to succeed academically. 

For a full description of the code please visit the following website: https://studentaffairs.jhu.edu/policies-guidelines/student-code/

Classroom Climate

JHU is committed to creating a classroom environment that values the diversity of experiences and perspectives that all students bring. Everyone has the right to be treated with dignity and respect. Fostering an inclusive climate is important. Research and experience show that students who interact with peers who are different from themselves learn new things and experience tangible educational outcomes. At no time in this learning process should someone be singled out or treated unequally on the basis of any seen or unseen part of their identity. 
If you have concerns in this course about harassment, discrimination, or any unequal treatment, or if you seek accommodations or resources, please reach out to the course instructor directly. Reporting will never impact your course grade. You may also share concerns with your program chair, the Assistant Dean for Diversity and Inclusion, or the Office of Institutional Equity. In handling reports, people will protect your privacy as much as possible, but faculty and staff are required to officially report information for some cases (e.g. sexual harassment).

Course Auditing

When a student enrolls in an EP course with “audit” status, the student must reach an understanding with the instructor as to what is required to earn the “audit.” If the student does not meet those expectations, the instructor must notify the EP Registration Team [EP-Registration@exchange.johnshopkins.edu] in order for the student to be retroactively dropped or withdrawn from the course (depending on when the "audit" was requested and in accordance with EP registration deadlines). All lecture content will remain accessible to auditing students, but access to all other course material is left to the discretion of the instructor.