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Department of Information systems

Kristiansand, Norway
Information Systems

Summary

The University of Agder (UiA) is situated on the southern tip of Norway and is located on two campuses, in Kristiansand and Grimstad.

The university has 13 000 students and 1300 faculty and staff members. It is one of the youngest universities in Norway, but its history dates back to 1839 when the first teacher training institution in the region was established. It is a public university with state-of-the-art buildings on both campuses. Research is the foundation of all teaching activities at UiA and covers a wide variety of disciplines.

Being a driving force for societal and regional development, the university of Agder has close contact with industry, organisations and cultural institutions. It is an internationally oriented university in a region exposed to strong international competition. 

The department of information systems provides teaching and research at the intersection of technology, organisation and business administration. In addition to teaching academic programmes in information systems on all levels, the Department of Information Systems maintains close relations to the practice field.

The faculty contributes actively to research within the Information Systems field, and works closely with both public and private sector, typically through research clusters and centres.

Bachelor Programs

The study programme educates candidates who are able to work actively in system development projects, including analysis, design, construction and operation of information systems (IS). The programme has a compulsory basic part (120 ECTS) within the IT/IS field including some organizational theory and understanding of financial theory. The programme allows students to select electives in three different areas, 1) innovation by using information technology and information systems, 2) technical focus on software development and 3) organizational and societal use of IT and information systems.  Throughout the programme the candidates will learn how information systems may be developed and contextualized to assist organizations in implementing their business processes to realize possible benefits for the organization. The candidates will further be able to take part in operation, support, training for realization of benefits.

Master Programs

The Master's Programme in Information Systems educates candidates in managing development projects and change processes, using Information and Communication Technology (ICT) and Information Systems (IS) to achieve strategic goals. The Programmes has three main focus areas: 

Enterprise Systems
Both compulsory and elective courses ensure proficiency in strategic use of Enterprise Systems, including assessment of such investments. Students acquire skills by using tools for process modelling, and experience of various ERP systems. The candidates' understanding of the complex interaction between technological, social and organizational factors related to implementation and use of Information Systems is emphasized.

System Development and Design
Courses in System Development and System Development Methods give candidates knowledge and understanding of state of the art system development processes. Challenges related to specification, design, implementation, testing and evaluation are important factors, as are agile methods and other current methodical approaches to System Development. Project management is also a focus area.

eGovernment
Courses in eGovernment provide knowledge and understanding of how ICT/IS can contribute to modernizing and improving the efficiency and effectiveness of public sector while upholding democratic principles like transparency and participation. Citizens' participation in political processes and right to co-determination through ICT/IS is a focus area, and students are provided with an overall understanding of the complexity and possibilities of relevant information systems for the public sector.

PhD Programs

The PhD specialisation in Information Systems consists of four components: core courses, methods courses, specialisation courses, and a dissertation. The coursework aims to provide the candidates with a) a thorough grounding in literature in Information Systems, b) a solid methodological foundation, and c) an opportunity for in-depth focus in areas relevant to Information Systems in which a candidate has specific interest. In addition to the courses offered by UiA, candidates will be allowed to take, subject to approval, doctoral courses offered by other national and international academic institutions.

Courses

Information Systems

Course

The course prepares the student for the Master Thesis and provides possibilities for specialization on chosen themes within Information Systems (IS). It will focus on current issues in IS, how theory can be applied in an empirical study, and the methodology for conducting literature studies. Students are introduced to various topics and issues within the IS field that can be relevant focus areas in a master thesis. Research ethics and guidelines for how to apply ethics in research studies, are part of the course. During the course, students work with a comprehensive literature review which can be related to the theme of their forthcoming thesis.

Relevant topics within IS that the course focuses on, will depend on ongoing research projects. Relevant topics within IS relevant for master theses, will largely be tied to research groups where employees of the department participate. Topics which the students can choose among, will represent a wide range of relevant areas within IS.

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Course

The objective of the course is to provide detailed and thorough knowledge of how Information and Communication Technology can contribute to a public sector reforms and innovation, including strengthening of democracy both locally, regionally and nationally.

Key topics:

  • ICT as strategic driver for change
  • Connection between ICT and process and organisational change
  • Case examples from state and local governments
  • Relationship between public value and ICT
  • Social media
  • Net based dialogue as part of political and administrative processes
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Course

The course will provide an overview over various information systems that supports enterprise-wide functions and processes. The students will be given a fundamental insight into the critical factors for planning, implementing and use of such applications, as well as which role the applications will have in an integrated IS architecture. Possibilities and constraints of the various systems are discussed, as well as the factors that influence the implementation and use.

Examples of categories of various systems/applications that will be dealt with:

  • Supply Chain Management (SCM)
  • Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP)
  • Customer Relationship Management (CRM)
  • Knowledge Management Systems (KMS)
  • Data Warehousing, Big Data and Business Intelligence
  • Service Oriented Architecture (SOA)
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Course

Through an internship you get the opportunity to take part in an organization's daily work, and thereby gain experience with relevant work tasks. You will have the opportunity to try out theories in practice and learn to reflect through relevant work tasks. Internship gives you the opportunity to expand your professional network. Internship is not paid, as students achieve 10 credits by taking the course.

The purpose is to give the students insight into and understanding of a specific organization's work related to digital transformation with a focus on, among other things: innovative application of information systems (IS), streamlining and optimizing business processes through digitization, as well as strategic utilization of IS. Current practice is preferably related to practical challenges related to the digitization of public, private or non-governmental organizations, but can also be projects related to the department's research efforts within digital transformation, integrated crisis management and e-health.

The content of the course is determined by the needs of the organization or research project, and in accordance with the agreement entered into between the organization and the Department of Information Systems. By working longer with a specific task in an organization or a research project, the student should gain insight into practical problem solving in a job situation. The practice can be useful for highlighting one's own expertise, establishing networks and important contacts with clients in your field for future careers.

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Course

Through theories and examples, the course will analyse the impact of changes in organisational processes. It will also focus on IT as an important component and catalyst in change processes in organisations, and the role such changes plays in achieving competitive advantage.

The course consists of the following:

  • The role of IT/IS in changing processes; new strategies, organizational structures, work processes, products and services
  • New management concepts that focus on restructuring to retain competitive advantages
  • Enterprise Architecture
  • IT based tools for improving processes
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Course

Course contents

  • Organisational structures
  • Coordinating mechanisms in organisations
  • Project organisation and project culture
  • Manning the project, choose the project model, and make the project plan
  • Initiating, planning, executing, monitoring/controlling and closing projects
  • Managing scope, time, cost, human resources, quality, risk and procurement in a project context
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Course

The Master's thesis provides an opportunity to work in-depth with a specific subject area while carrying out a project for a public or private organisation. Students will gain insight into applying theoretical knowledge and scientific methods to a specific problem.

The thesis constitutes 30 credits and represents the full workload of one semester. There exists guidelines for the thesis about its breadth, content, process and procedures, supervision, literature, form, delivery, evaluation, intellectual rights and publicity requirements etc. A copy of these thesis guidelines is available in Canvas, or can be requested from the faculty.

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Course

The course will give an introduction to different perspectives and metaphores connected to organisational change. The main focus will be on change as a planned and managed process. Furthermore, there will be a discussion on the driving forces of change and how these - and their interpretations may create different change processes. Next step is to define different types of change, where changes are differentiated according to the following dimensions: content (structure vs culture), scope (evolution vs punctuation), time perspective, degree of resistance and organisational context (environments and type of organisation). The last part of the course will discuss different change strategies and their contingencies. This part of the course will also debate the role of leadership in planned change, as well as the role of perceived justice in change processes.

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Course

The course includes the following main components:

  • How to write a Master's thesis - how to choose a topic, evaluate the thesis, define the role of theory and research methodology in the thesis
  • Research paradigms - the research process, philosophical foundation for characteristics and limitations for research paradigms, and how knowledge is generated and developed
  • Research methodology - description of different research methods that are applied in IS. Topics covered include qualitative and quantitative methods for data collection and analysis, action research and design research
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IT and Information Systems

Course

The main purpose of the Bachelor's thesis is to give the students the opportunity to try out the acquired knowledge and skills by deepening the entire development process (project) of an information system. The students are given the opportunity to plan, estimate, perform, test, follow up and document the project's course of events and the information system that results from the development process. The development is done by a student group who is given the opportunity to work with quality in process and product, using methods and techniques that promote these elements. The students will reflect on their work and on the ethical issues that may arise in such a development.

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Course

The course provides insight into how computers and networks work. An introduction is given to widespread architectures for a calculator and for a network of calculators. Methods of testing and benchmarking are being introduced to evaluate various architectures for information systems. There is also an introduction to basic programming concepts with a focus on system development in heterogeneous networks. It focuses on teamwork and improving communication skills.

The course provides an overview of operating systems and important concepts in data communication. Practical tasks will involve specific tools to gain a better insight into how a computer and network work.

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Course

The cross-disciplinary nature of Information Systems can be the driving force to give meaning to the massive amounts of data generated every moment and improve the relation among data and business models. The course builds on concepts and techniques from multiple fields including business, management, economics, sociology, computer science, philosophy. The students will be able to have the broadest perspective on real life problems, view a challenge as a whole taking into account different perspectives and see how different pieces fit together leading them to propose, design or develop data-driven solutions. The course introduces the students in data science and the role of IS in digital transformation.  The course will develop the conceptual foundations, frameworks and methods for analyzing the relationships between organizations and data. The course gives students a systematic basis for addressing change in the digital business, and bridging digital transformation with digital sustainability for shared value that impacts society as a whole. Focus will be given on discussing big data analytics ecosystems and strategies for digital transformation as paths to change and disruption.

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Course

The course will give the students a platform for the planning of digitization projects. The course will provide participants with a knowledge and method foundation for managing or participating in innovation processes related to digitization and service design, with the user of the services in the center. Participants on the subject have the opportunity to learn how to build a better analytical foundation to ensure that the organization succeeds in digital innovation projects and addresses real-world user needs. The course consists of the following modules:

1. Main module (Supervisor, across other modules):
This module supports the entire topic. It contains tasks, templates and other resources the students need for the delivery of tasks along the way and for the final report (exam). 

2. Innovation theory and practice (for example):
Disruptive innovation theory
The Blue Ocean Strategy methodology
This module contains a review of some key theories and models for business development, and examples of how these are used in practice.

3. Digital Service Design (innovation) and Redesign (renewal / improvement):
About using Design Thinking methods
This module deals with the practical use of Design Thinking methods. The module covers "Discovery" (investigation) and "Define" phase (analysis and idea development) in your case study. Current tools and methods are reviewed.

4. Planning and upscaling of innovations (for example):
"LEAN Start-Up" methods
About protecting your ideas
In this module we review how to "pack in" your case study in a report, with a plan for finance (financing) and growth (business development), summary of user stories and wireframes and other elements that naturally form part of a plan for digitization and business / business development.

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Course

The course balances introduction to key themes in entrepreneurial management, while engaging students in a comprehensive startup business plan formulation (involving both real and imaginary ventures). Key topics covered in the course, include: business idea generation, developing new products/services, entrepreneurial marketing and customer relations, presentation skills, budget and financial management in new businesses, ethical considerations in entrepreneurial processes, as well as the startup process and business plan formulation. All theoretical themes are then applied to an entrepreneurial case students develop throughout the course, under tight supervision and guidance.

Throughout the course student groups will work with new venture ideas originating from real businesses, public and private institutions, social ventures, entrepreneurs, other students, or their own business ideas.

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Course

The course introduces basic concepts in e-commerce. Emphasis is placed on the students becoming acquainted with the importance of e-commerce in society both in relation to technology, organization and society. Particular emphasis is placed on the role of social media in relation to the organisation's strategy, marketing and business model. Through the learning, the students are able to prepare a business plan and marketing material related to a specific business idea developed by the students in groups.

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Course

The course provides an understanding of information system security, including necessary technical terminology, security history, guidelines for information system security and organizational security culture. The course is suitable for anyone interested in helping organizations protect critical information systems and secure their networks, both by understanding current threats and vulnerabilities, and assessing future needs for secure information systems.

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Course

This topic is based on the history of Internet technologies that started in 1968, when the Advanced Research Projects Agency Network (ARPANET) was established. There have been no significant changes in the specifications behind all traffic on the Internet since then. The development of microprocessor technology has subsequently opened up possibilities for a rich ecosystem of architectures. These architectures have a great impact on many social processes. The focus of the topic is on the architectures and their applications. Key words include "microservices", "big data", "cloud computing", IoT (Internet of Things), UXD (User eXperience Design), CI / CD (Continuous Integration / Continuous Deployment), and many programming languages ​​and development environments for these.

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Course

The purpose is to give the student insight into and understanding of a specific organization's needs and processes related to an IT-related project. Current projects are often linked to innovation with ICT, system development or procurement, operation and maintenance of various types of IT and information systems with a focus on IT security.

The projects can be carried out in organizations in the public or private sector. It is also possible to carry out projects in the voluntary sector. By working for a long time with a concrete task in an organization, the student should gain insight into practical problem solving in a job situation. The content of the course is determined by the organisation's needs and in accordance with the agreement between the organization and the Department of Information Systems.

The content of the project must be academically relevant to the bachelor program in IT and information systems. Examples of current tasks may include:

  • various activities within innovation and system development including preparation of business plan
  • business case
  • preparation of requirement specification
  • analysis and design
  • programming tasks
  • installation, operation and maintenance of systems, databases, networks and such
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Course

The course provides an understanding of digitization and digital transformation of organizations and societies. It is suitable for those who want knowledge about the importance of digitization for working life, business development and corporate governance. The course deals with regulation, politics and ethical perspectives related to key challenges in digitization, such as information security, vulnerability, privacy and sustainability.

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Course

The course provides an understanding of digitization and digital transformation of organizations and societies. It is suitable for those who want knowledge about the importance of digitization for working life, business development and social governance, and who want a theoretical basis for understanding how technology development and social change are related. The course deals with regulation, politics and ethical perspectives related to key challenges in digitization, such as information security, vulnerability, privacy and sustainability.

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Course

Upon completion of this course, students will have knowledge about key concerns related to the management of digitalization projects:

  • understand the role of digitalization within businesses and organizations, change management and ethical concerns.
  • understand key concept of critical importance within the digitalized society, including an understanding of the relationships between the courses within the bachelor program
  • understand future opportunities and challenges within a more digitalized society.

Students will write a project report. Students that follow IS-304 are strongly encouraged to base their IS-305 group project on their bachelor's project. Other students that follow IS-305 arrange a group project in collaboration with the lecturer(s).

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Course

The course gives an overview of classes, objects and methods used in programming languages. Imperative programming, assignment, if-sentences and loops are also learned. Students will be trained in testing and using code standards. Inheritance (sub- and superclasses, multiple heritage, abstract classes) are important in order to be able to set up and utilize relationships between classes in a meaningful way. The students will also be able to acquire knowledge and experience in detail design (choice of classes and methods, modulation, simplifying development and maintenance) and error handling.

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Course

The content of the topic and the activities related to it are twofold. A smaller part is an introduction to the phenomenon "open source". The students explore the phenomenon from different points of view (sociological, psychological, organizational, technological, etc.) and make a critical analysis of it. The main part of the course is a custom project, which is to be established and performed with all the characteristic tools and architectures that largely define the "open source" culture.

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Course

The course gives an introduction to central organizational theory issues. Particular emphasis is placed on how the use of technology can change organizations, such as streamlining work processes and changes to existing markets. The students gain insight into basic concepts such as organization and technology as well as a deeper understanding of what information and communication technology is. Formal features of organizations, including structure, goals and strategy, and informal features, including organizational culture and power relations, are reviewed.

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Course

Students form project groups, which are common to IS-200, IS-201 and IS-202. The groups implement a system based on analysis and design from IS-200, and data model from IS-201. Students must learn to use source code control and write documentation so that the code can be shared, and students can work simultaneously with different parts of the system. There will be short lectures on these and other topics relevant to the project (eg use of third-party libraries).

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Course

The course will give a basic introduction to various social science methodological approaches and train the students' ability to use the methods in the implementation of empirical studies and the use of statistical programs for data analysis. This includes an introduction to scientific theoretical assumptions as well as applicable method.

The topic includes:

  • development of problem
  • the relationship between theory and empirical data
  • the research process and research design
  • choice of different methods
  • the relationship between qualitative and quantitative approaches
  • data collection techniques in both qualitative and quantitative approaches
  • reliability and validity
  • interpretation of data
  • research ethics and design of research reports
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Course

The course gives introduction to and training in the use of models, concepts, issues and tasks that are central to the analysis and design of information systems. The student groups will prepare a report on their own analysis and design of an information system. Through coordination with IS-201 and IS-202, the students will also learn how their analysis and design can be realized in practice.

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Course

The course provides an overview of the information technology's historical development and opportunities and challenges when using information systems in today's society. Students learn about security and risk associated with digitization, which also includes a discussion of laws and regulations and ethical dilemmas in the use, privacy and copyright of what is created, stored and published through information technology. We will also discuss current issues such as the importance of artificial intelligence, cloud services, the Internet of Things and social media, and discuss the consequences this has for the society of the future. The course is intended to provide an understanding of what we mean by information systems, and thus provide a good platform for the students' further study.

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PhD Specialisation in information systems

Course

Philosophical questions of science, epistemology, and ontology. Rationalism and empiricism. Modern and postmodern criticism of empiricism and the defence of rationality. Natural science vs. human and social sciences. Phenomenology. The role of language in science. Foundations of ethics and the ethics of scientific research. Selected cases from the history of science and science today.

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Course

Content:

  • Research paradigms in IS
  • Research design
  • Theoretical constructs and empirical operationalization
  • Quantitative research methods, such as: survey research, questionnaire construction and validation, statistical analysis methods, issues in using software for statistical analysis, survey research, etc.
  • Qualitative research methods, such as: qualitative data collection and analysis, case studies
  • Combining research methods
  • Proactive research approaches, such as design research, action research and combining design research and action research

The objective of the course is to develop knowledge and skills in the application and use of different research methods in Information Systems research. The relationship between research problem, design, and methods of analysis will be highlighted. The students will gain an understanding of the implications of trade-offs that characterize every research project.

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Course

The specialisation courses go into depth in specific topics currently on the research agenda in the information systems area. These courses are intended to give the PhD candidate sufficient knowledge within a subfield of information systems and to start producing research in this field. Examples of specialisation courses (all 2,5 ECTS) that have been given by the Department of Information Systems include:

  • Research issues on eGovernment
  • Research issues on Enterprise Systems
  • Research issues on ICT for Development

In addition, the candidates will be encouraged to take specialisation courses offered by other universities in Norway and abroad. As part of this category of coursework, participation in research seminars and conferences may also give course credits, subject to approval by the PhD Programme Committee. It will also be possible to arrange readings courses tailor-made for individual candidates in specialised areas of interest and competence, where the completion of such courses will require writing a scientific paper. The content of such courses is subject to approval by the PhD Committee.

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Course

Content:

  • The role of theory in IS research
  • The concept of IT/IS artefacts as the core of the IS discipline
  • Examples of influential theories in IS research and their ontological, epistemological and methodological assumptions and implications.
  • Theories on IT and organizational change, innovation and strategy
  • Theories on global issues in IS


The objective of this course is to provide a theoretical foundation for research in information systems. The course will introduce students to the major influential theories and current research streams in the field of information systems. The course will provide participants with understanding of the micro and macro perspectives on the utilization of information technology and information systems, and the mutual relationship between information systems and organizational and social structure and behavior.

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People

Have you met...
People

An Information Systems (IS) researcher has accomplished PhD in IS in May 2016. I have worked as PhD Research Fellow at the Department of Information Systems, University of Agder (UiA), Norway.The main task at UiA was to carry out research to undertake a doctorate study, and to assist in teaching of some courses by delivering lectures for bachelor and master students in different topics. The title of the thesis is “Realizing Benefits from Enterprise Systems”. Before that, I have accomplished my master of science in IT Management – Project Management stream (2011) from the British University in Dubai, in collaboration with University of Edinburgh and University of Manchester. However, realizing benefits and creating value from IT remains one of my research interest, combined with an interest in project management, enterprise systems, and IT-enabled innovations. My research appears in various international journals and conferences, such as International Journal of Information Systems and Project Management, Business Process Management Journal, CENTERIS, UKAIS, ECIME, and EMCIS. 

Formerly, I had worked as an IT professional for 15 years in Jordan, Palestine, and the United Arab Emirates. My practical experience was focused in delivering information systems, gathering business requirements, systems design and modeling, database management, systems development and integration, training and support and team leadership in governmental entities, financial services and healthcare organizations. I am also certified as Project Management Professional (PMP), PRINCE 2 Foundation, and ITIL V3 Foundation.

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