2. Information and systems

It was great to “meet” everyone. Thanks for those wonderful introductions.

This is the first distance learning course for many people, so please spend time learning to use the Catalyst features. Particularly, explore the discussion display options and settings. There are lots of choices and controls. You need to find what works for you. Are you getting too many emails? Do you like to see where new post have been added? What order do you want posts displayed – nested, threaded, newest first? If you don’t know what this means, you need to learn more about the discussion forums. Do it now.

Several students mentioned that information and data were unclear. Perhaps this helps.

Generally, data is “raw” – just numbers, facts. To become Information, someone needs to make some sense of the numbers – What does this mean? Is there something going on – a story, that the data is saying? $4.50 is a gas price on a specific date at a specific gas station (data). Gas prices declined about 4% last year and are going up again (information, based on gas prices recorded over the previous year from many different locations).

We are moving on the the next topic 2. Information and systems. However, check the introductions, too as there are several more students who registered late and will be adding their introductions.

Topic 2. Information and systems is the beginning of the course – we are starting by looking at the basic concepts, terminology and history of information systems. You will be surprised how much you already know and how much you learn this week, even if you consider yourself a computer person. If you don’t learn something new, you need to look around more – there is something that is new for everyone. You can’t possibly know it all.

Enjoy the journey.

If you have questions, ask. Use the forums, messages or email. Just don’t worry about not knowing something. We are all here to learn.


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