IS 613 Design of Emergency Management Information Systems
Instructor: Murray Turoff,



An undergraduate degree in Management, Engineering, Computing, or one of the Social Sciences, with an ability to implement a personal website and understanding of how to use HTML for that purpose. Also an undergraduate course in probability and statistics. Students should be accepted into a graduate program or a certificate program at NJIT in order register for the course.

Catalog Description

This course is concerned with the development of requirements, 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, non profit, and/or private organizations that are concerned with business continuity. The components of the iterative and continuous emergency lifecycle are planning, mitigation, training, alerting, response, recovery, and assessment. It will also 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. The relationships between systems serving the different phases of the lifecycle and the needs for integration and coordination across the phases of the process are addressed.

When will the course first be offered?

At least once a year in both face to face and online mode.

Objectives of the Course

To provide a core course for a proposed Masters in Emergency Management and Business Continuity. To provide in the educational program an area that reflects current Research and Development activities in the Information Systems Department.

For whom is the course intended?

For IS students and students in any other field such as Management, Engineering, Computing in general, and the Social Sciences who might have an interest because of the subject or the job opportunities it offers.

Reason for prerequisites

To insure the students can mock up a Human Computer Interface (HCI) design and that they are ready to read and comprehend professional papers.

Textbooks and References

Karl E. Weick and Kathleen M. Sutcliffe, Managing the Unexpected: Assuring High Performance In An Age of Complexity, University of Michigan Business School Management Series, John Wiley and Sons, 2001.

Snyder, Carolyn, Paper Prototyping, The fast and easy way to design and refine user interfaces, Morgan Kaufmann series in Interactive Technologies, Elsevier, 2003.

Free draft book chapters on: The Design and Evaluation of Information Systems, located at

Required professional paper readings (only about half of these will be required reading for the masters students):

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

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

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 C 860.

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.

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.

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, 2006.

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.

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

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.

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.

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.

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

Course Outline (15 week schedule)

Number of hours of lecture, recitation and laboratory per week.

Two hours of lecture / one hour of discussion a week face to face, audio recorded via an IC recorder and provided in MP3 for online students within two days of face to face meeting for both student sections on a system such as WebBoard. No outside support need for this purpose. Current semester lectures are available for review by anyone interested.

How will student performance and grades be determined?

The following is a planned distribution of grade points:

  1. A course interface design based upon a mini emergency scenario suggested by each student or student team around which to base the design problem: 20%
  2. A protocol analysis of the design: 5%
  3. A final project exploring a specific independent topic in the current professional literature: 25%
  4. A morphological analysis assignment as an exercise in creative design: 10%
  5. Contributions of relevant material from the Web and professional sources to enrich online discussions and lectures: 10%
  6. Spontaneous participation in ongoing discussions 10%
  7. Participation in assigned discussion topics for which specific requirements are specified: 20%

At what graduate level will be course be offered: Master's, Ph.D. or some intermediate level? What degree program or programs will it apply to?

Masters, Ph.D., and certificate students in any related program that allows the student to choose the course as an elective or core requirement. Since the Designs and final projects are unique for each student I do treat the Masters students and the Ph.D. students with some differences with respect to the assignments and readings with some added requirements for the Ph.D. students.

Will the course be offered by any non-traditional methods of delivery?

Courses I teach always use an asynchronous conference system for extended class discussions that always involve class wide collaboration. This course will be offered both face to face and online. If the sections are small enough they will be combined and treated as one class. If they are too large a combination of private conferences for each group and some common conferences for both groups together will be used.

Describe any unusual features of the course. Describe any participation by outside experts or invited speakers.

This course will always invite one author of relevant papers to participate via the Web in an exercise where each student is allowed to ask one question of the guest and will be graded on the nature of the question asked.