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  Heritage Information Systems Design Team

"Heritage Information: Learning about Information Systems in an online virtual organisation: the Cultural Heritage Authority"

Richards Smith
Design Team
  Team: Penny Collings, Anne McMahon, David Walker, Errol Martin, Frank Hicks, Terry Webb, Dale Kleeman and Avon Richards-Smith


  Focus: Project/Case Study
  Discipline: Information Technology
  Target: Postgraduate
  ICT used: Web plus special software (Groupware: Lotus)
  Scope: Entire length of subject/unit/course

Designer's Summary


Students play various roles in a behavioural simulation game called Heritage Information. The aim is to create, work in, plan and design Information Technology (IT) support for a fictitious organisation called the Cultural Heritage Authority.

The simulation is to engage students in a low risk/high value form of experiential learning that will enable students to develop a rich understanding of processes and concepts about the following:

  • The design of IT-based systems in an organisational context.
  • Strategic planning.
  • Quality management.
  • Information management.

This learning design implementation assists students to do the following:

  • Understand and identify important inter-relationships between information systems design and organisational processes and hence understand how user needs arise.
  • While being primarily a designer, manager and/or implementer of information technology (IT)-based information systems, contribute to related processes such as strategic planning, IT infrastructure design and task design (e.g. the design of a task incorporating IT support).
  • Engage in the design and implementation (as appropriate) of IT-based information systems using participatory, human-centred techniques (sometimes also called socio-technical systems design).
  • Develop conceptual models, task and workflow scenarios, as a basis for user interface design and usability testing of prototype systems.
  • Perform prototyping activities (paper and/or screen-based).
  • Develop, use and modify quality and project management procedures for designing, implementing and evaluating information systems.
  • Communicate in written and oral form in several areas related to business process-analysis and information systems-design.
  • Work in a computer supported collaborative work environment (CSCW) and understand related management and IT infrastructure-design issues.

Students gain an understanding of the role of IT professionals in the IT development process and have the opportunity to further develop and apply techniques learned in previous subjects; for example, data modelling, programming, design of collaborative work systems, etc.

Comment from the Project Team

ICT is embedded in this learning design in that students learn about ICT through their direct use of ICT.

Rationale for Inclusion


This exemplar has been selected for inclusion for the following reasons:

  • It illustrates the implementation of a simulated work environment where students interact amongst themselves in particular roles. The development of this exemplar was funded by the former Australian Government Committee for the Advancement of University Teaching, CAUT.
  • The learning design provides students with the opportunity to learn about Information Technology and Systems issues via their direct use of ICT.
  • The learning design has undergone an iterative process of development, implementation and evaluation.
  • The learning design could be applied in other disciplines and contexts.

Please Cite As:

  Collings, P., McMahon, A., Walker, D., Martin, E., Hicks, F., Webb, T., Kleeman, D. & Richards-Smith, A. (2002). Description of Heritage Information: Learning about Information Systems in an online virtual organisation: the Cultural Heritage Authority. Retrieved , from Learning Designs Web site:
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