Study Plan

During the first weeks in the Master's programme a study plan needs to be created by the students. It is expected that the students familiarise themselves with the programme to get the most out of it. The study plan is an indicative plan for how the student wants to go through the programme, but is not binding and leaves students free to change course during the programme.

The curriculum of this Master’s programme consists of a mandatory and an optional section.

Compulsory courses (22.5 EC)

Advanced research methods (compulsory)

The following quantitative subjects will be discussed:

  • Fundamental statistical concepts/elementary probability topics
  • Correlation and regression analysis
  • Analysis of variance (one-way ANOVA, multi-way ANOVA, ANCOVA, repeated measures, multivariate ANOVA )
  • Logistic regression
  • Factor analysis (principal component analysis)
  • Cluster analysis
  • Non-parametric tests

The following qualitative methods will be discussed:

  • Systematic literature review
  • Grounded theory
  • Case studies
  • Experiment design and operation
  • Analysis and interpretation
  • Mixed methods
  • Design research
  • Ethics

Method engineering (compulsory)

Method Engineering is defined as the engineering discipline to design, construct, and adapt methods, techniques and tools for the development of information systems. Similarly as software engineering is concerned with all aspects of software production, so is method engineering dealing with all engineering activities related to methods, techniques and tools.Typical topics in the area of method engineering are:

  • Method description and meta-modeling
  • Method fragments, selection and assembly
  • Situational methods
  • Method frameworks, method comparison
  • Incremental methods
  • Knowledge infrastructures, meta-case, and tool support

Knowledge management (compulsory)

Knowledge management is about organizing, development, and use of knowledge in such a way that it directly contributes to the competitive edge of a company. In the Knowledge Management course we will study the main themes in the field like 'KM models', 'knowledge management strategy', 'communities of practice and knowledge networks', 'knowledge discovery', 'knowledge management systems', and 'intellectual capital'.
For a long time companies relied on the production factors: labor, capital and (raw) material, but today the main production factor is knowledge (P. Drucker). Organizations, such as corporate enterprises, non-profits, educational institutions and governmental agencies, face the continual struggle to transform vast amounts of data, information and content into usable and reusable knowledge. Globalization and technological developments force organizations into a continuous process of change and adaptation.
Alvin Toffler and Peter Drucker already noticed the consequences in the 80's of the previous century. They mention the rise of the information based or knowledge based organization. This new type of organizations mainly consists of so-called 'knowledge workers' that largely depend on knowledge to do their work. Knowledge workers work rather autonomously hence a different organization structure is required that typically consist of less management layers. The growing awareness of knowledge as a distinct factor of production and the need for a new management approach has led to a new field of study and practice - knowledge management.
Another driver has been the development of so called 'knowledge systems'. However, results of implementing such systems are not always as expected. Systems are not always aligned with work practices, people need to know how to trust and interpret information provided, providing information or sharing knowledge is not automatically a part of everybody's job routine.

Electives (7.5 EC each)

Enterprise architecture

What kind of business processes are important in our organization, and how can we support these processes using IT? What is the application landscape of our organization, and do we need to update it to improve the speed and flexibility with which we can do business? How can we manage our technical infrastructure to improve access to information for our employees but at the same time minimize security risks?In this course, you will learn the techniques that allow you to answer these and other questions. The core subject of the course is the modelling and analysis of enterprise-wide architectures (i.e. business process architectures, information architectures, application architectures, technical architectures, combination of architectures, and so on). In addition, we will discuss related topics such as risk management and business process modelling.

 

Software product management

The success of a software product depends on skilled and competent software product management (SPM). In essence, a product manager decides what functionality and quality a product should offer, to which customers, and when in time, while assuring a winning business case. Sometimes a product manager is referred to as the 'mini-CEO' of an organization.
The course is built around three pillars: SPM theory, SPM research and SPM consultancy.

Business intelligence

This course deals with a collection of computer technologies that support managerial decision making by providing information of both internal and external aspects of operations. They have had a profound impact on corporate strategy, performance, and competitiveness, and are collectively known as business intelligence.During this course the following BI topics will be covered:

  • Business perspective
  • Statistics
  • Data management
  • Data integration
  • Data warehousing
  • Data mining
  • Reporting and online analytic processing (i.e., descriptive analytics)
  • Quantitative analysis and operations research (i.e., predictive analytics)
  • Management communications (written and oral)
  • Systems analysis and design
  • Software development

Game production

Game production is the discipline that concerns the creation of a game product, and it encompasses its inception, creation, market release, evolution, maintenance, and retirement. This course aims to provide students with a comprehensive understanding of how a game product is created, by considering different yet complementary aspects, including game concept, game design, requirements, architectures, business models, testing, and evolution.The covered topics include:

  • Game production processes
  • Concept and prototyping
  • Game design and development
  • Project risk management
  • Requirements engineering for games
  • Project planning
  • Business models, entrepreneurship, funding, IPR, licences, ratings
  • Architectures and reuse
  • Project management
  • Quality assurance: testing games
  • Post-production: evolution, postmortem, and closing kits
  • Builds and localization, marketing and PR

Software architecture

The course on software architecture deals with the concepts and best practices of software architecture. The focus is on theories explaining the structure of software systems and how system’s elements are meant to interact given the imposed quality requirements.Topics of the course are:

  • Architecture influence cycles and contexts
  • Technical relations, development life cycle, business profile, and the architect’s professional practices
  • Quality attributes: availability, modifiability, performance, security, usability, testability, and interoperability
  • Architecturally significant requirements, and how to determine them
  • Architectural patterns in relation to architectural tactics
  • Architecture in the life cycle, including generate-and-test as a design philosophy; architecture conformance during implementation
  • Architecture and current technologies, such as the cloud, social networks, and mobile devices
  • Architecture competence: what this means both for individuals and organizations

ICT advisory

The advisory discipline is an established industry and employs hundreds of thousands of people. Advisory is best described as “creating value for organizations, through the application of knowledge, techniques and assets, to improve business performance. This is achieved by through the rendering of objective advice and/or the implementation of business solutions” (Markham & O’Mahoney, 2013). Giving advice is not limited to a particular industry and can be found in any industry and on many different topics such as taxes, business strategy, marketing, ICT etc. Logically, the focus of this course is on giving ICT advice but to a variety of industries.
In this course we address ICT advisory from four different perspectives: Descriptive, Practitioner, Critical, and Career perspective. These will be addressed in the lectures of the course and are based on the book that is prescribed for this course. Besides the theory you will be practicing your consultancy skills in the skills workshops. Skills include for example presenting, analyzing and writing. Each of the workshops will be provided by a different consultancy company that is based in the Netherlands and concerns a mix of small, medium and large consultancy organizations. Finally you will practice skills and theory in a project where you have to advise a real client. In this project you will work in teams of three students, where the client that you will be working for is provided by one of the consultancy companies. During the project you will produce a number of intermediate deliverables and the end deliverables are an advisory report and a presentation. The deliverables will be graded and determine your grade for the course.
Several consultancy companies will be participating in this course by providing guest lectures, skills workshops and projects at their clients. At the same time you also learn more about the different types of consultancies as we have a nice mix of small, medium and large consultancy companies that participate.During the course you will be undertaking a consultancy project at a client (i.e. a company or governmental institution). The consultancy companies that participate in this course will provide a number of projects at their clients. But we probably need more project so also lookout actively for clients yourself.
Later in the course you might be asked to sign a Non-Disclosure Agreement (NDA) in which you declare that you will handle in the best interest of the client and will not disclose any information you get from the client.

Software ecosystems

vendors no longer function as independent units, where all customers are end-users, where there are no suppliers, and where all software is built in-house. Instead, software vendors have become networked, i.e., software vendors are depending on (communities of) service and software component suppliers, value-added-resellers, and pro-active customers who build and share customizations. Software vendors now have to consider their strategic role in the software ecosystem to survive. With their role in the software ecosystem in mind, software vendors can become more successful by opening up their business, devising new business models, forging long-lasting relationships with partnership networks, and overcoming technical and social challenges that are part of these innovations.software ecosystem is a set of actors functioning as a unit and interacting with a shared market for software and services, together with the relationships among them. These relationships are frequently underpinned by a common technological platform or market and operate through the exchange of information, resources and artifacts. Several challenges lie in the research area of software ecosystems. To begin with, insightful and scalable modeling techniques for software ecosystems currently do not exist. Furthermore, methods are required that enable software vendors to transform their legacy architectures to accommodate reusability of internal common artifacts and external components and services. Finally, methods are required that support software vendors in choosing survival strategies in software ecosystems.introduce many new research challenges on both a technical and a business level. In a traditionally closed market, software vendors are now facing the challenge of opening up their product interfaces, their knowledge bases, and in some cases even their software. Software vendors must decide how open their products and interfaces are, new business models need to be developed, and new standards for component and service reuse are required. These challenges have been identified but have hardly been picked up by the research community.In this seminar topics on SECOs are discussed. These topics can range from consultancy oriented for product software companies to highly technical for software engineers. The course is largely dependent on student participation. Some example topics are:

  • Virtualized software enterprises
  • Open source software ecosystems
  • Market-specific domain engineering
  • Software ecosystem orchestration
  • Software development communities
  • Software product lines
  • Software product management
  • Publishing APIs
  • API development
  • Formal modeling of business models
  • Architectural implications of reusability
  • Keystone and niche player survival strategy
  • Software ecosystem creation
  • Economic impact of software ecosystems
  • Communities of practice and software reuse
  • Product software and software licensing
  • Software business models
  • Software ecosystem practices and experience
  • Software ecosystem modeling
  • API related topics: design, development, marketing
  • Software ecosystem models
  • A software ecosystem analysis method
  • Strategic advice for software vendors
  • API compatibility over subsequent releases

Seminar medical informatics

This seminar is about the development, implementation and evaluation of IS/IT in the health care domain, which can be labeled as 'medical informatics' but also 'health IT' or 'e-health'. Compared to the previous courses, this years' seminar will focus on medical apps and games. This is a relatively new and exciting field that is full of opportunities to explore and evaluate. It is about apps and games to help doctors in their clinical work, to help managers to govern their hospitals, to help patients to cope with their diseases. Three knowledge fields are combined in this course:
(1) Health care: what are the current challenges of health care, how do clinical and organizational processes in health care look like, how do health care systems, organizations and professionals work?
(2) Mobile health: what types of mobile systems are applied in health care, what type of apps do doctors, nurses and patient use - or want to use?
(3) Evaluation studies: what are principles and models to evaluate if apps and games in health will work? how to review apps and games in different stages and from different perspectives? The three fields will be addressed and integrated in this course. After this course, you have gained more knowledge about both the drivers and barriers in medical informatics, and of medical apps and games in health in particular.

ICT entrepreneurship

A software product is defined as a packaged configuration of software components or a software-based service with auxiliary materials, which is released for and traded in a specific market.
In this course the creation, production and organization of product software will be discussed and elaborated in depth:

  • Requirements management: prioritization for releases, tracing en tracking, scope management
  • Architecture and design: variability, product architectures, internationalization, platforms, localization and customization
  • Development methods: prototyping, realization and maintenance, testing, configuration management, delivery; development teams
  • Knowledge management: web-based knowledge infrastructures,
  • Protection of intellectual property: NDA, Software Patents
  • Organization of a product software company: business functions, financing, venture capital, partnering, business plan, product/service trade-off, diversification

This course is explicitly meant for students Information Science and Computer Science. Pre-arranged or mixed teams are are no problem, it is the product idea that matters.
 
The aim of this course is to create a prototype and business plan for a novel software product. Students can join the course either with a product idea or without. In both cases your participation in the course must be formally approved.

Seminar intelligent user interfaces

In its call for papers, the conference on Intelligent User Interfaces states the following:
'It's time for the next generation of user interfaces. People want to do increasingly interesting and complex things with information technologies, but our interfaces need new ways of interacting with people. We can't get to the next generation of user interfaces simply by adding more menus and icons to our already overcrowded screens. Sooner or later, our interfaces need to understand more about what people are doing with them, become self-reflective, and communicate using natural modalities such as speech and gesture.'In this seminar we will study the principles behind virtual coaching, a sophisticated example of a so called cooperative assistant. We will in particular focus on calming technology, i.e. technology that uses behavior changing strategies to reduce people's stress. Among others, the following topics will be studied in this seminar: embodied and social agents, virtual assistance, behavior changing strategies, persuasive technology and calming technology.Goals:
Study of the state of the art in automatic coaching principles.

  • Development and presentation of a conceptual model of a virtual coaching machine.

"ICT Entrepreneurship was, together with Software Product Management, the best and coolest learning experience in the MBI program. Thanks to ICT Entrepreneurship and the failed start-up attempt we launched from the course, I have learned a lot that I still use daily in my job as a software product manager at Topicus." - Ruud Kuipéri (alumnus)

Thesis Project (40 EC) + Colloquium (4 EC)

In the final thesis project, you will plan and conduct research under the supervision of one of our staff members and an external coach. The thesis project will contain both a scientific and an applied study on a specific business informatics topic. Students often perform these in collaboration with an external organisation, i.e. a knowledge or IT-intensive company. The project concludes with writing a thesis and a publishable paper based on your research.

Thesis results are presented and discussed in the Master’s in Business Informatics Colloquium, where all graduating students and staff meet during a biweekly gathering.