IS 413 Requirements Analysis for Emergency Management Information Systems

Course Syllabus

Instructor: Professor Murray Turoff,



1.    Catalog description:


        The development of requirements and the supporting functionality of any Information System supporting the complete preparedness lifecycle for emergency, disaster, and crisis situations for government bodies, non profits, and/or private organizations who are equally concerned with business continuity.  The components of the iterative and continuous emergency lifecycle : planning, mitigation, training, alerting, response, recovery, and assessment. The course will focus on methods for extracting requirements from potential users and applying methodologies from the professional literature relevant to specifying the requirements.  The resulting findings will be used to develop interface design samples that can be used as a further method for evaluating functionality by exposing them to potential users via methodologies such as task scenario design and protocol analysis..


       A.   Course number, title, credits:


       IS 413, Requirements Analysis for Emergency Management Information Systems, 3-0-3


       B.   Prerequisite:


IS265 or equivalent, Math 333 or Math105, and IS118 (or equivalent knowledge of web page design).


       C.   Narrative description:


This course is concerned with the development of requirements and the design of the human interaction, and the supporting functionality of any Information System related to the complete preparedness lifecycle for emergency, disaster, and crisis situations for government bodies and/or private organizations.  The components of the lifecycle are planning, mitigation, training, alerting, response, recovery, and assessment.


We will focus on human and organizational behavior in this environment and how it influences both the functionality of the system and the approach to the human interface.  We will also be addressing the relationships between systems serving the different phases of the lifecycle and the need for integration and coordination across the phases of the process.


The student will be exposed to many new concepts related to emergency and crisis response systems both in the areas of human and team behavior, organizational behavior and general system concepts relative to the design of these systems.


2.    Purpose of the course:


       A.   Why is the course needed?


To expose undergraduate students to this rapidly evolving field and to give them enough understanding to consider doing projects in this area and to be able to take advantage of job opportunities in this area.


       B.   For whom is it intended?  What other students might elect it?


IS413 is an elective course, which will be of interest to students enrolled in curricala in Information Systems, Computer Science, Information Technology, Management, STS, as well as possibly other curricula. IS413 will be a required course in the BSIS/BAIS specialization track in Information Assurance, Security and Crisis Response.


       C.   Reason for prerequisite (or lack thereof):


To insure the student can mock up some simple interface to illustrate the functionality they have come up with for specific design assignments in this area.  The design task will involve the students as both individuals and teams in the design process and the class as a whole will partake in collaborative reviews of the designs and their indicated functionality.


       D.   Is the content duplicated in other courses?  Explain.


A small subset of interface design concepts material that is offered in both our HCI course (IS447) and Multimedia course (IS275) will be used, but this is not more than a 5% - 10% overlap, and the prior knowledge of these topics will not be assumed, but will be covered in this course, from the context of Emergency Management Information Systems requirements and design. 


3.    Course detail:


       A.  Course outline with approximate week-by-week schedule


Weeks 1- 5: The following two broad themes are intertwined in the first five weeks of the course with at least one design assignment occurring in this period requiring the use of much of this information:


Requirements in this field and potential design tradeoffs or conflicts

a)      Individual and Team behavior

b)      Organizational Behavior

c)      Coordination Requirements

d)      Task requirements in Emergency Systems


Interface Design concepts related to requirements

a)      Creativity in the design process

b)      Context visibility

c)      Visualization of complex data

d)      The role of metaphors in design with the example of "roles" and "events" in EMIS

e)      Online searching and index functionality




Week 6: Morphological Analysis as a design tool

Week 7:  Design review of first design, Second design assigned

Week 8:  Protocol Analysis for evaluation requirements and design

Week 9:  Collaborative requirements development methods such as focus groups, survey methods, and the Delphi method

Week 10 Concepts of Risk Analysis and High Reliability Systems (HRO)

Week 11:  Review of second design picking a subset of the student designs that can be done in three hours, usually about five.

Week 12:  Late Midterm

Week 13: Risk analysis focused on emergency systems as a participation exercise by class

Week 14 and 15:  Presentation of students on mini course projects they have been working on.


       B.  Probable textbooks and references


1. James F. Broker, Risk Analysis and the Security Survey, Third Edition, Butterworth-Heinemann, Elsevier, 2006


2. Snyder, Carolyn, Paper Prototyping, The Fast and Easy to Design and Refine User Interfaces, Morgan Kaufmann series in Interactive Technologies, Elsevier, 2003.


Also available will be free draft book chapters on the:  The Design and Evaluation of Information Systems, located at:


References (a great deal of material for lectures is from the following papers, and a selection of approximately  five of these will be given to the students for reading assignments throughout the course.)


กค        Carroll, John M., Five Reasons for Scenario Design, 32 HICSS Conference Proceedings, 1999.

กค        Clemons, E.K., Using scenario analysis to manage the strategic risks of reengineering, Sloan Management Review, 1995, 61-71.

กค        Van den Eede, G.,  Kenis, D., and Van de Walle, B.,  Combining flexibility and reliability for mainstream organizational learning, Proceedings of the 5th European Conference on Knowledge Management ECKM2004 (Paris, France, September 2004), 851 จC 860.

กค        Van den Eede, G., Van de Walle, B., Ruktkowski, Anne-Francoise, Dealing with Risk in Incident Management: an application of High Reliability Theory, Proceedings of the 39th Hawaii International Conference on System Sciences, 2006, January 4-6.

กค        Go, Kentaro, and Carroll, J. M., The Blind Men and the Elephant: Views of Scenario-Based System Design, Interactions, (XI.6), November-December 2004, 45-53.

กค        Hiltz, S.R., Fjermestad, J., Ocker, R. and Turoff, M.  Asynchronous Virtual Teams: Can software tools and structuring of Social Processes enhance performance?  Chapter for Volume II: Human Computer Interaction in Management Information Systems: Applications, Dennis Galletta, and Ping Zhang, 2005 (in press).

กค        Quarantelli, E. L., The Disaster Research Center Field Studies of Organizational Behavior in the Crisis Time Period of Disasters, International Journal of Mass Emergencies and Disasters, 15(1), 1997, 47-69.

กค        Rutkowski, A. F., B. van de Walle and Gerd van den Eede, The effect of Group Support Systems on the Emergence of Unique Information in a Risk Management Process: A field study, Proceedings of the 39th HICSS Conference, 2006

กค        Barry M. Staw, Lance E. Sandelands, and Jane E. Dutton, Threat-Rigidity Effects in Organizational Behavior: A Multilevel Analysis, Administrative Science Quarterly, 26 (December 1981), pp. 501-524.

กค        Turoff, M., Chumer, M., Van de Walle, B., Yao, X., The Design of a Dynamic Emergency Response Management Information System (DERMIS), Annual Review of Communications, Volume 58, March 2006, Chosen as one of the best engineering communication papers of the year 2004 by the International Engineering Consortium, pp. 637-661.

กค        Turoff, M., Chumer, M., Hiltz, R., Klashner, Robb, Alles, Michael, Vasarhelyi, M., Kogan, A., Assuring Homeland Security:  Continuous Monitoring, Control, and Assurance of Emergency Preparedness, Lead article for a special issue on Emergency Preparedness for JITTA, Volume 6, Number 3, Fall 2004, 1-24.

กค        Turoff, M., Chumer, M., Hiltz, S. R., Emergency Planning as a Continuous Game, ISCRAM 06 Proceedings, May 14-17, 2006, NJIT, Newark NJ, ISBN 90-9020601-9


C.     Number of hours of lecture, recitation, and laboratory


Three hours of meeting where two hours are lecture and one hour is discussion.  In addition, there will be an on online asynchronous conference system for coordination, collaborative assignments, and the merger of online and face-to-face distance students in the same course.  All lectures were recorded this last semester on an IC recorder and transferred to mp3 format. (Thus, face to face students could review prior  lectures, and  Distance students could hear the face to face discussions as well as the lectures.)  .


       4.  Course mechanics:


.A. Who can and will teach the course?


Professor Murray Turoff, who also may mentor other faculty, adjuncts, instructors, or PhD students to be able to teach this course using  materials that Dr. Turoff will maintain and provide as needed.