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Willowbrook School is a small, private school in the Midwestern United States. For the
past 20 years, it has offered a curriculum for preschool through grade 3. It also offers
after-school care, usually referred to as after care, on premises. Last year the school
added a new classroom to allow the curriculum to expand to provide a grades 4–6
program. Willowbrook is experiencing significant increases in enrollment applications
for all programs from pre-school through the grades 4–6 program. Increases in
applications coupled with the expanded program and increased demand for after-school
care have led to a very high workload for the administrative person on staff. The principal
and teachers have stepped in where possible, but the demand is becoming too great.
Willowbrook School is a non-profit, and is not in a position to hire another full-time
administrative position, which is what the principal and administrator think would be
needed to handle the increased workload.
You are an independent IT consultant, specializing in developing IT solutions for small
business needs. You have been contacted by the parent of one of the students to speak to
the school principal, administrator and teaching staff about the possibility of setting up an
information system to handle some of the school’s administrative and financial tasks.
While there is not money in the budget to add a full-time position, the school does have a
very active board of directors and parent committees that are experienced and
enthusiastic about fund-raising for projects that do not fit into the budget. It is the hope of
the school that it might be feasible to use a combination of grants and fund-raising to
cover the initial cost of purchasing and setting up an information system, and the ongoing
cost of a part-time support position for the system.
The paid staff of the school is as follows:
Kathy Gilliard is the principal of Willowbrook. She has been at the school for 9 years,
and is a certified teacher. Kathy handles the academic and curricular issues that arise, and
ensures that the school meets all federal and state educational standards. She also deals
with issues related to the school’s non-profit status. Kathy and the teachers who report to
her make decisions jointly about admissions and assignments to classrooms. Kathy
handles payroll for teachers and teacher aides. Kathy also substitutes in any of the school
classrooms when a teacher is out.
Susan Brown is the vice-principal. She is responsible for the after-care program. She has
traditionally handled or been responsible for all administrative tasks related to tuition and
after-care fees. Susan sends out monthly bills for tuition and after-care, records payments
and handles bank deposits. While students must be pre-registered for after-care required
on a daily basis, the school does offer “drop-in” care on an “as space allows” basis. Susan
handles all requests for drop-in care in consultation with the after-care teachers, and
adjusts monthly bills accordingly. She also maintains the school calendar, prepares
handouts and reminders for parents, and administers the “camps” that run during the two
weeks that the school is not in session during the spring, and the summer programs that
run through July and August. She maintains all student records, and ensures that contact
Willowbrook School
and pick-up lists for all classrooms and after-care programs are up-to-date. She also
handles payroll for the after-care teachers and part-time assistants in the after-care
programs. Currently Susan handles all her responsibilities using Microsoft Word and
Excel. She is comfortable with the applications, but finds that maintaining records and
producing reports, payroll, etc. results in a lot of duplication of effort, as she has to copy
a lot of information from one worksheet or document to another.
There are six full-time teachers at Willowbrook, three for the pre-school-kindergarten
program, two for the grades 1–3 program, and one for the grades 4–6 program. There are
five teachers aides, for the pre-school-kindergarten and the grades 1–3 programs.
Teacher’s aides report to their respective teachers. Enrollment in the grades 4–6 program
does not warrant the hiring of a teachers aide at this point in time, but it is expected that
an aide will be hired next year, when all three grades of the program will be populated.
Each teacher is responsible for keeping attendance records and recording them in the
student files.
There are two full-time after-care teachers, one for the pre-school-kindergarten group,
and one for the primary grades. After-care teachers report to Susan Brown. Each after-
care teacher has part-time assistants assigned to the program. Assistants report to the
after-care teacher. The number of students pre-registered in the after-care program
determines the number of assistants. The after-care teachers are responsible for keeping
time sheets for their part-time assistants and submitting them every two weeks to Susan
Brown. In addition, the after-care teachers are responsible for submitting weekly
summary sheets to Susan Brown detailing any hours above those pre-registered for that
students spent in the after-care program, so that parents are billed for the additional time.
Like many other non-profit schools, Willowbrook relies on volunteer time from parents
to accomplish many of the tasks essential to the running of the school. A financial
committee examines monthly financial reports, a fund-raising committee evaluates
possible fund-raising projects and handles approved fund-raising. In addition, individual
parents step in as needed to do rote office tasks such as copying and distributing
handouts, to free up Susan Brown for other tasks. Parents also fill in as assistants in the
after-care programs when needed, and qualified parents step into the classroom as
teachers aides whenever possible to reduce the reliance on substitute teachers.
As a group, complete the following assignments. Discuss them as a group in the
Group Discussion area. Don’t attach this discussion to the weekly discussion areas
for our class discussion. This is only for your group. There is a discussion area in
the Groups folder. When you have a consensus for the group assignments,
EVERYONE IN THE GROUP MUST SUBMIT THE COMPLETED GROUP
OUTPUT FOR THE QUESTIONS to the submission link for that assignment. If
you don’t submit it, you will receive zero points for that week’s group assignment,
whether you helped or not. Please make sure you spell and grammar check the
documents before submittal, as errors in this respect will be deducted from the total
points earned.
Willowbrook School
Week 1 – Case Study Assignments – Chapters 1 & 2
Here are your group assignments for Week 1:
1. As a group, prepare an organizational chart of Willowbrook School’s paid staff. If
you have Microsoft Office 2007, on the Ribbon Insert tab Illustrations group,
click SmartArt. In the Choose a SmartArt Graphic gallery, click Hierarchy, click
an organization chart layout, and click OK. If you have an older version of
Microsoft Office, you can click the Insert Diagram or Organization Chart button
on the Drawing toolbar then click the Organization Chart button. Save your
document in proper format and attach the finished organizational chart to the
assignment.
2. On a separate page, list at least three business processes that Willowbrook School
performs, and identify the person responsible for the task. Each answer should be
in paragraph form and should be double spaced, and in APA format. Save your
document in MS Word format and attach it to this assignment.
3. How might Willowbrook use a transaction processing system, a user productivity
system, and a business support system? Give an example for each system, and
describe how it would benefit the school. Each answer should be in paragraph
form and should be double spaced, and in APA format. Save your document in
MS Word format and attach it to this assignment.
4. List the pros and cons of the school’s reliance on volunteers to complete tasks
from simple office tasks to financial oversight responsibilities as they relate to the
use of an information system at Willowbrook School. Each answer should be in
paragraph form and should be double spaced, and in APA format. Save your
document in MS Word format and attach it to this assignment.
More Background
After an initial conversation between yourself and the school staff, the staff has
decided that pursuing the possibility of an information system is a good idea. Susan
Brown, the vice principal, in particular is feeling the strain of the increased workload
associated with the rapid growth in the student population. The system that she has
been using, of spreadsheets and word processing documents, worked well when
enrollments were smaller, but now the amount of time spent copying information
from one place to another is daunting, and the possibility of errors is increasing.
Volunteers can help out in the office, but due to the nature of volunteerism, the staff
agrees that reliance on volunteers must be for non-critical tasks, and that an
information system is necessary to cope with the growing administrative workload.
system that could track tuition and after-care billing and payments. While there are
other administrative tasks that could easily be added, right now these are what they
believe to be the priorities.
Based on your initial conversation, staff members are initially interested in a
Willowbrook School
5. Draft a mission statement for Willowbrook School, based on information
provided in the first two chapters. The answer should be in paragraph form and
should be double spaced, and in APA format. Save your document in MS Word
format and attach it to this assignment.
6. Does a strong business case exist in the case of Willowbrook School? Discuss
why or why not? The answer should be in paragraph form and should be double
spaced, and in APA format. Save your document in MS Word format and attach
it to this assignment.
7. Do you think this is a feasible project? Justify your answer, and address each type
of feasibility, noting any unusual challenges that Willowbrook School might
present when evaluating feasibility. The answer should be in paragraph form and
should be double spaced, and in APA format. Save your document in MS Word
format and attach it to this assignment.
8. What information will you need to have to begin the preliminary investigation?
Which techniques will you use to gather this information? The answer should be
in paragraph form and should be double spaced, and in APA format. Save your
document in MS Word format and attach it to this assignment.
When all of the answers for the given project are completed and a consensus is reached,
everyone in the group will attach the completed answers to the assignment in the Week 1
assignments area.
Willowbrook School
Week 2 – Case Study Assignments – Chapters 3 & 4
Here are your group assignments for Week 2:
Background
Willowbrook School has decided to proceed to the systems analysis phase, based on the
findings and proposal you presented after the preliminary investigation. A summary of
your fact-finding is as follows:
Fact-Finding Summary
Billing and payments for Willowbrook School have two components, tuition, and
after care. Tuition is a fixed fee, set in the spring of the prior academic year. After-care
fees have two components, a fixed fee based on the time-block of aftercare the student is
pre-registered for, and a variable fee based on any additional time that the student may
have used on a “drop-in” basis. There are several different time blocks that students can
be registered for in after care, dependent on whether the child is in pre-school,
kindergarten, or primary school. For preschoolers, time blocks are noon–1:30 p.m.,
noon–3:30 p.m. and noon–5:30 p.m. For kindergarten students, time blocks are 1:30–3:30
p.m. and 1:30–5:30 p.m. For primary school students the 3:30–5:30 p.m. time block is
available. These time blocks are the time blocks available for drop-in after care as well.
In addition, for pre-registered students not registered for the entire afternoon, the
1:30–3:30 p.m. blocks and 3:30–5:30 p.m. blocks can be utilized on a drop-in basis.
There are two payment options for tuition and the fixed component of after care.
Parents can pay the entire amount by August 1 prior to the start of the school year; or the
fixed fees can be spread out over a 10-month period, starting July 1 prior to the start of
the school year. A discount of 5 percent is applied to fees for parents choosing the lump
sum payment option. Parents who have more than one child enrolled at Willowbrook are
eligible for a 5 percent discount on tuition for all enrolled children.
Payment for after care used on a “drop-in” basis is billed monthly, and is added to
the bills for parents who are paying in 10 monthly installments. New bills are generated
for “drop-in” care for those who paid fees in a lump sum.
Monthly bills for fees and “drop-in” care are due on the first of the month, and are
distributed to parents one week prior to their being due. Parents who have more than one
child enrolled in Willowbrook receive a separate bill for each child. Willowbrook has not
had a policy of charging interest on late payments, because it has not been a problem
except in one or two cases per year. These cases are handled on a case-by-case basis.
The billing is done using Microsoft Excel. Susan sets up a new workbook for each
academic year. Each month Susan creates a new worksheet in the workbook. The
worksheet maintained contains one line per student. Each line contains the following
billing and payment information for the student:
Name of student
Names of parents
Amount of discount on fixed fees
Monthly fixed tuition fee
Monthly fixed after-care fee
Willowbrook School
Discounted fixed fees
Monthly “drop-in” fees
Total monthly fee (calculated field)
Payment received
Amount paid to date (calculated field)
Amount outstanding (calculated field)
The entry for each student is updated twice each month, once to prepare the bills
and once to record payment. Entry for bill preparation requires the monthly statements
from after care detailing all “drop-in” hours for each student. Currently the monthly
statements include a listing for each child, detailing date(s) and time(s) of drop-in hours.
From this listing, Susan Brown enters a total charge for additional after care provided.
A summary monthly report is generated for the financial committee from this
spreadsheet summarizing fee collections for tuition and after care. The financial
committee also receives separate monthly reports detailing payroll expenses for all
employees. Reports need to be ready for distribution at the financial committee meeting
which is scheduled for the third Monday of every month.
In light of the plan to expand the system to handle less sensitive administrative
tasks, and the fact that Susan Brown’s workstation is used by volunteers to assist in the
production of newsletters and calendars for parents, you have been asked to ensure that
the billing system be made secure somehow, so that volunteer workers cannot access
financial information. Susan Brown has indicated that the most useful new feature that
could be added to the system would be the ability to generate one bill per family per
month, listing each student’s charges separately, and an overall total. Also useful would
be the ability to generate a receipt automatically at the time payments are recorded. This
receipt should contain information required for reimbursement requests from different
types of dependent care and tuition accounts, including name, location, and federal tax ID
number of the school. In addition, parents have asked for a separate statement
accompanying their bill itemizing all drop-in after-care hours for that statement,
including child’s name, date(s), and time(s) being billed for.
Assignments
1. List the system requirements for the new fee billing system. Give at least one
example of how to achieve more effective outputs, inputs, processes, performance,
and controls.
2. Are there scalability issues that you should consider? If so, what are they?
3. Draw an FDD that shows the main operations described in the fact statement.
4. Parental input was gathered by speaking to three parents that Susan Brown suggested.
Do you think this was a wise strategy for information gathering? Why or why not?
What other information gathering technique would you consider for gathering
information from parents, and why?
When all of the answers for the given project are completed and a consensus is reached,
everyone in the group will attach the completed answers to the assignment in the Week 2
assignments area.
Willowbrook School
Week 3 – Case Study Assignments – Chapters 5 & 6
Here are your group assignments for Week 3:
Background
Your preliminary investigation and fact-finding tasks are complete. The next step is to
develop a logical model of the proposed billing system.
Assignments
1. Prepare a context diagram and diagram 0 DFD for the new system.
2. Prepare a list of data stores and data flows needed for the system. Under each data
store, list the data elements you would include in the data stores, based on the fact-
finding information presented in Chapter 5.
3. Create a decision table that describes how the Willowbrook School determines which
discounts, if any, are to be applied to the fixed fees for a child.
More Background
You have developed a logical model of the proposed billing system. Now you will
continue the systems analysis phase by creating an object-oriented model of the billing
system. Use the logical model that you prepared in Chapter 5 as a reference.
Assignments
1. Design the student class for the billing system.
2. Design at least three other classes for the billing system.
3. Create an object relationship diagram for the billing system classes.
When all of the answers for the given project are completed and a consensus is reached,
everyone in the group will attach the completed answers to the assignment in the Week 3
assignments area.
Willowbrook School
Week 4 – Case Study Assignments – Chapter 7
Here are your group assignments for Week 4:
Background
Based on your earlier recommendations, Willowbrook decided to continue the systems
development process for a new information system that would improve operations,
decrease costs, and reduce some of the administrative workload.
Now, at the end of the systems analysis phase, you are ready to prepare a system
requirements document and give a presentation to the Willowbrook School staff. Many of
the proposed system’s advantages were described during the fact-finding process. Those
include smoother operation, better efficiency, and more user-friendly procedures for staff
and parents.
You must examine tangible costs and benefits to determine the economic
feasibility of several alternatives. The finance and fund-raising committees will need to
examine the costs and benefits to determine if the development process will go ahead. If
Willowbrook School decides to go ahead with the development process, the system either
can be developed in-house or a vertical package can be purchased and configured to meet
the needs of the school.
Currently, Susan Brown is logging 30 hours of overtime a month to accomplish
the increased workload associated with increased enrollment and school expansion. She
is being compensated for overtime at the rate of $12 per hour. Based on current
enrollment projections, the overtime will need to be expanded to 70 hours a month for the
billing requirements for the next school year as the final grade in the 4–6 classroom
comes online. The overtime requirement would be eliminated if Willowbrook
implements the new system. The current system now causes an average of 20 errors per
month, and each error takes about 30 minutes to correct. The new system should
eliminate those errors.
Based on your research, you originally estimated by working full-time you could
complete an in-house development project in about 8 weeks. Your consulting rate, which
Willowbrook agreed to, is $50 per hour. If you design the new system as a database
application, you can expect to spend about $2,000 for a networked commercial package.
One of the parents at Willowbrook has extensive experience with this package as a
Database Administrator at a local company, and has committed to providing 15 hours per
week working with you to develop the project. You have agreed to reduce your estimate
to 25 hours per week for 8 weeks to take advantage of this offer. After the system is
operational and the staff is trained, you hope that Willowbrook staff and volunteers can
handle routine maintenance tasks without your assistance.
As an alternative to in-house development, a vertical software package is
available for about $7,500. The vendor offers a lease-purchase package of $2,500 down,
followed by three annual installments of $2,500 each. If Willowbrook buys the package,
it would take you about three weeks to install, configure, and test it, working full-time.
The vendor provides free support during the first year of operation, but then Willowbrook
must sign a technical support agreement at an annual cost of $500. Although the package
contains many of the features that Willowbrook wants, most of the reports are pre-
designed and it would be difficult to modify their layouts.
Willowbrook School
You have agreed to provide five hours per week of training and support for the
first two months of operation. After the new system is operational, it will need routine
maintenance, file backups, and updating. These tasks will require about four hours per
week and will be performed by school staff or parent volunteers.
For both the in-house development and the vertical software package, the
necessary hardware will cost about $3,000. Hardware and network installation will be
provided by three parent volunteers.
In your view, the useful life of the system will be about five years, including the
year in which the system becomes operational.
The development of the new system will occur in Year 0, but the system will not
be used until Year 1. The school will use the manual system during development, and
will switch over to the new system during the month of June, to start the new school year
on the new system.
Assignments
You scheduled a presentation to Willowbrook School in one week, and you must
submit a system requirements document during the presentation. Prepare both the written
documentation and the presentation. (Note: To give a successful presentation, you will
need to learn the skills described in Part 1 of the Systems Analyst’s Toolkit.) Your oral
and written presentation must include the following tasks:
1. Provide an overview of the proposed system, including costs and benefits, with an
explanation of the various cost-and-benefit types and categories.
2. Develop an economic feasibility analysis, using payback analysis, ROI, and
present value (assume a discount rate of 8 percent).
3. Provide a brief explanation of the various alternatives that should be investigated
if development continues, including in-house development and any other possible
strategies.
4. Suggest a coding scheme for use in the after-care hours report, that would identify
which time block(s) are being billed for on any particular day. You will need to
refer back to Chapter 4 to review the time blocks available in after care.
When all of the answers for the given project are completed and a consensus is reached,
everyone in the group will attach the completed answers to the assignment in the Week 4
assignments area.
Willowbrook School
Week 5 – Case Study Assignments – Chapter 8
Here are your group assignments for Week 5:
Background
The staff at Willowbrook School has approved your recommendations for a new
computer system. Your next step is to develop a design for the new system, including a
user interface, inputs, and outputs.
Assignments
1. Determine the data required for a new student. Design an input source document
that will be used to capture the data and a data entry screen to input the
information. This input source document will be used as the registration form for
students accepted to Willowbrook, and should contain information for both the
academic program and after-care programs.
2. What data validation checks would you suggest for the new student form designed
in Assignment 1?
3. Monthly updates require inputting information about additional after-care hours
used and payments received. Would you combine these in one data entry screen,
or create separate screens for this? Explain your decision.
4. Design the monthly billing statement for a family using a printer spacing chart or
graph paper. Include a mock-up report and a report analysis form for each report.
When all of the answers for the given project are completed and a consensus is reached,
everyone in the group will attach the completed answers to the assignment in the Week 5
assignments area.
Willowbrook School
Week 6 – Case Study Assignments – Chapter 9
Here are your group assignments for Week 6:
Background
You are ready to begin considering data design issues for the Willowbrook School
project. Refer back to the DFDs you have prepared and the documentation from the
systems analysis phase. Perform the following tasks:
Assignments
1. Using the Functional Decomposition Diagrams and Data Flow Diagrams you
developed for chapters four and five as source documents, create an ERD that
includes cardinality notation.
2. Design tables in 3NF.
3. If you identified any new entities during normalization, create a final entity-
relationship diagram for the system.
4. Use sample data to populate the fields for at least three records in each table.
When all of the answers for the given project are completed and a consensus is reached,
everyone in the group will attach the completed answers to the assignment in the Week 6
assignments area.
Willowbrook School
Week 7 – Case Study Assignments – Chapter 10
Here are your group assignments for Week 7:
Background
The Willowbrook School staff accepted your interface, output, input, and data designs,
and your recommendation to install a server and three personal computers as clients on a
local area network. Two of these personal computers will be new units, the third will be
an existing machine purchased very recently. The network will include a backup unit. An
existing laser printer will be accessible by any of the three PCs. Microsoft Access will be
used to develop the billing system. Now you will determine system architecture for the
Willowbrook School.
Assignments
1. Should the Willowbrook School system be based on file-server or client/server
architecture? Prepare a checklist that includes the main topics and issues that
should be considered when making this decision.
2. Speak to the cost-benefit issues of file server and client/server designs. How much
of an impact do you think they would have on a system of this size?
3. What are your recommendations for backup and disaster recovery for the new
system? Provide Willowbrook with two scenarios for backup and disaster
recovery, and present the strengths and weaknesses of both. Which is your
preferred scenario?
4. Prepare an outline for a system design specification and describe the contents of
each section.
When all of the answers for the given project are completed and a consensus is reached,
everyone in the group will attach the completed answers to the assignment in the Week 7
assignments area.
Willowbrook School
Week 8 – Case Study Assignments – Chapter 11
Here are your group assignments for Week 8:
Background
The systems design has been completed, and design specifications approved. You are
now benefiting from the 15 hours a week of volunteer time from one of the parents who
is assisting you with the programming and testing. You should assume that the server and
workstations discussed in Chapter 10 have been purchased, installed, and networked.
Assignments
1. Design the testing required for the billing system. You should consider program,
integration, and system testing in your test plan.
2. Identify the people who need training on the new system. For each group,
describe the type of training you would recommend and list the topics you would
cover.
3. In an earlier chapter, a preference was expressed for a transition to the new
system utilizing a direct cutover method, timed around the move from one
academic year to the next. All fixed fee billing for an academic year is completed
in April, and commences in July for the following academic year. Drop-In After-
Care billing continues for the month of May, and a final bill is issued during the
second week of June, the week after classes end. Do you think this is feasible?
Would you recommend another method for transition?
4. Develop a data conversion plan that specifies which data items must be entered,
the order in which the data should be entered, and which data items are the most
time critical.
When all of the answers for the given project are completed and a consensus is reached,
everyone in the group will attach the completed answers to the assignment in the Week 8
assignments area.
Willowbrook School
Week 9 – Case Study Assignments – Chapter 12
Here are your group assignments for Week 9:
Background
The system at Willowbrook has been up and running for 5 months now, and things are
moving reasonably smoothly. Willowbrook is pleased with the ability to generate one
household bill rather than a series of individual bills and parents are pleased with their
itemized after-care receipts. You have been asked to contract for ongoing support
services on an as needed basis. The school would like to arrange for support services in
such a way that your time is used as efficiently as possible, because their budget for
support is small.
Assignments
1. Prepare a procedure that Willowbrook can follow to request maintenance support.
You should create a form or forms that will provide you with the information needed
to provide support services in as timely and efficient a manner as possible.
2. The staff at Willowbrook is full of ideas about how to expand and enhance the
system. You would like to help Willowbrook prioritize some of the ideas they
have for updating, expanding, and enhancing the system. Discuss some of the
other ways the IS could be used to reduce the administrative load on teachers and
administrators. Given the reliance of the school on volunteers to accomplish
certain administrative tasks, your answer should discuss any security implications
that expansion and enhancement would have.
3. Write a brief report explaining the different types of maintenance activities, how
they affect the system and what the cost patterns are for the different maintenance
types. Given the anticipated five year useful life of the system, can you suggest
any priorities for spending maintenance dollars in each of those five years?
4. Some of the parents have asked about investigating the possibility of making
certain information available over the Internet. Currently the school provides
phone directories listing all families to all families with registered children. There
has been a question as to whether or not this could be made available online in a
secure fashion. Some parents would like the option of receiving their bills
electronically. Others have asked about setting up an online registration system.
Quite a few parents have asked about having a school calendar online. A vocal
minority are against any material being made available online, due to concerns
about privacy, the security of family information made available or submitted
online, and the safety of their children. Write a brief report for the school
administration discussing the pros and cons of providing any or all of this
information over the Internet.
When all of the answers for the given project are completed and a consensus is reached,
everyone in the group will attach the completed answers to the assignment in the Week 9
assignments area.

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