Case studies

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Case Studies [1]


These case studies will be used throughout our courses to examine a number of different topics.

Case study 1[edit]

A small business has a computer kiosk inside the store which allows customers to sign up for a email newsletter. If a customer signs up for a newsletter inside the store, they will get a 10% discount on their first purchase at the store. The owner hopes this 10% discount will be an incentive for customers to sign up for the email newsletter. The business will then regularly email the customers special offers and savings. The business owner expects to benefit from this system by having increased sales. The customers expect to benefit from this system by having access to special offers, to save money, and to see what is new and trendy at their store.

Case study 2[edit]

A school of 900 students has a secure web-based application which manages attendance data. The school administrators carefully track attendance for the students so it can identify when students have been absent for a customizable threshold. For example, the school might set a threshold of 5 absences within 30 days, which then automatically notifies the student, parent, and teacher there is a problem with attendance. The threshold might be 3 times within 10 days, or something like that. The system keeps track of attendance and tardies. The system has customizable attendance codes. For example, "absence for school trip", "excused absence", "medical absence" are all allowed absence codes.

School administrators expect to benefit by having data about attendance so they can support students and parents to be in school. School administrators also expect to benefit by giving parents and students information about attendance (so parents can support their children to be in school). Finally, school administrators expect to benefit by using attendance data to apply for government funding (as they can prove how many students were in class on a specific day).

Parents expect to benefit by knowing when their children are in school or miss school. This way parents can support their children to be in school. Being in school is a shared value between the school and the parent. Students expect to benefit by understanding how many days of school of they have missed. The school expects students to have a strong "ownership of learning" and manage their attendance.

Case study 3[edit]

A video game company is working on a futuristic role-playing game. The game is turned based, 4-X play style. You are part of a team that is developing the "exploring" part of the game.

Players send a "scout ship" object with the following customizable attributes:

  1. low armor
  2. low shields
  3. low weapons
  4. high speed
  5. good sensors
  6. limited fuel
  7. limited damage repair

... to explore neighboring systems. All the systems in the game universe are represented as a graph.

When the scout ship enters a new system there are different objects it can encounter:

  1. monsters, some helpful, most not
  2. other civilizations, player run and AI run
  3. habitable planets, hostile planets, moons, satellites (for mining)
  4. pirates, pirate bases
  5. abandoned alien ships or stations
  6. fast food restaurants, trading outposts
  7. nebula, or nothing (an empty system)

Every system will also have N number of paths to another system. Of course there will always be an exit back to the system from which the player came.

The video game company wants exploration to be fun, challenging, and exciting. As with all games, this part (exploration) should carry risk and reward. If the exploration is boring (always easy) it will not be fun. If exploration is always very very difficult, players might not want to play. The company wants their game to be fun to play for players of different skill levels and for players who enjoy different aspects of game playing. They want to make a lot of money by creating a game that is fun to play and people want to buy.


Consider an argument or concept in a way that uncovers the assumptions and interrelationships of the issue.

A unit of abstract mathematical system subject to the laws of arithmetic.

Devote time and attention to gaining knowledge of (an academic subject), especially by means of books

Provide an answer from a number of possibilities. Recognize and state briefly a distinguishing fact or feature.

Use an idea, equation, principle, theory or law in relation to a given problem or issue.

Undertake a systematic process of discovery