Effective: Early Spring 8-Week 2018/2019

BUSI 508: Decision Science For Business

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  Course Description

Examination of quantitative skills useful to managers. Discussions focus on selected algebra topics, mathematics for finance and descriptive statistics and probability.

Prerequisite: None, however, knowledge of college algebra, Excel® or other computer spreadsheet applications is important.

Proctored Exams: None


As part of TruitionSM, students will receive their course materials automatically as described below.


  • Ragsdale, Cliff T. Spreadsheet Modeling & Decision Analysis: A Practical Introduction to Business Analytics. 8th ed, South-Western Publishing Co., 2018.  

Textbook Details

The textbook is used in conjunction with Analytical Solver Platform for Education (ASPE)— an add-in to Microsoft Excel focused on Management Science applications.  To avoid the fee to acquire ASPE, BUSI 508 will use a similar version of solver that is built-in to Excel.  Your instructor will provide details on how to activate the version of solver inherent within your Excel software.  Additionally, a series of video tutorials have been augmented throughout the course to demonstrate the use of the Excel solver.  Because Excel is used extensively in this course, proficiency in Excel is highly recommended.

Bookstore Information

Ed Map is Columbia College’s bookstore for Online, Nationwide, and Evening students.  As part of TruitionSM, students will receive their course materials automatically as described below. 

eText Information

If a course uses an eText, (see Textbook information above) the book will be available directly in Desire2Learn (D2L) and through the VitalSource eText reader the Friday before the session begins, if registered for courses prior to that date.  Students will have a VitalSource account created for them using their CougarMail email address. Upon first login to VitalSource, students may need to verify their account and update their VitalSource password.  More information about how to use the VitalSource platform, including offline access to eTexts, can be found in D2L.  Students that would like to order an optional loose-leaf print-on-demand copy of eligible eTexts can do so through the Ed Map storefront at an additional cost.  Once orders are placed, it can take approximately five to seven business days for students to receive their print-on-demand books.

Physical Course Materials Information

Students enrolled in courses that require physical materials will receive these materials automatically at the address on file with Columbia College.  Delivery date of physical materials is dependent on registration date and shipping location.  Please refer to confirmation emails sent from Ed Map for more details on shipping status.

Returns: Students who drop a course with physical course materials will be responsible for returning those items to Ed Map within 30 days of receipt of the order.  More specific information on how to do so will be included in the package received from Ed Map.  See here for Ed Map's return policy. Failure to return physical items from a dropped course will result in a charge to the student account for all unreturned items.

Note: Students who opt-out of having their books provided as part of TruitionSM are responsible for purchasing their own course materials, but may do so through the Ed Map storefront.  Visit https://www.ccis.edu/bookstore.aspx for details.

  Course Overview

The variety of problems business leaders face today is virtually infinite. Couple this fact with other confounding factors – multinational markets, relentless competition on a global scale, extremely narrow market windows, increasing shareholder satisfaction, regulatory compliance, to name a few – and the challenges presented to any businessperson are truly overwhelming. The quantitative techniques you’ll be exposed to in this class are designed to help business practitioners meet these problems head on in an organized fashion, fully capable of providing alternative paths forward along with their associated risk. The skills you learn in this course are designed to enhance your professional business skills—not replace them. 

  Technology Requirements

Participation in this course will require the basic technology for all online classes at Columbia College:
  • A computer with reliable Internet access
  • A web browser
  • Acrobat Reader
  • Microsoft Excel
  • Microsoft Office or another word processor such as Open Office

You can find more details about standard technical requirements for our courses on our site.

  Course Learning Outcomes

  1. Use linear programming for optimization and modeling of business applications.
  2. Apply the concept of sensitivity analysis to business decision making.
  3. Apply regression analysis for problem solving in business applications.
  4. Explain queuing theory.
  5. Evaluate risk assessment and project management.


Grading Scale

Grade Points Percent
A 900-1000 90-100%
B 800-899 80-89%
C 700-799 70-79%
F 0-699 0-69%

Grade Weights

Assignment Category Points Percent
Discussion Postings (8) 80 8%
Excel Exercises (6) 120 12%
Case Review (5) 400 40%
Midterm Exam (1) 200 20%
Final Exam (1) 200 20%
Total 1000 100%

  Schedule of Due Dates

Week 1

Assignment Points Due
Introduction Post 0 Friday/Sunday
Discussion Post 1 (The Dreaded "M" word... Math) 10
Activate Excel Solver - Tuesday
Excel Exercise (Part 1) 10 Sunday

Week 2

Assignment Points Due
Discussion Post 2 (Understanding Linear Programming) 10 Friday/Sunday
Excel Exercise 1 (Part 2) (Linear Programming) 10 Friday
Case Review 1 (Linear Programming) 80 Sunday

Week 3

Assignment Points Due
Discussion Post 3 (Understanding Sensitivity Analysis) 10 Friday/Sunday
Excel Exercise 2 (Linear Programming/Sensitivity Analysis) 20 Friday
Case Review 2 (Linear Programming/Sensitivity Analysis) 80 Sunday

Week 4

Assignment Points Due
Discussion Post 4 (Network Modeling Internet Search) 10 Friday/Sunday
Excel Exercise 3 (Network Modeling) 20 Friday
Midterm Exam (Chapters 1-6) 200 Sunday

Week 5

Assignment Points Due
Discussion Post 5 (Understanding Linear Regression) 10 Friday/Sunday
Excel Exercise 4 (Regression Analysis) 20 Friday
Case Review 3 (Regression Analysis) 80 Sunday

Week 6

Assignment Points Due
Discussion Post 6 (Understanding Queue Theory) 10 Friday/Sunday
Excel Exercise 5 (Queue Theory) 20 Friday
Case Review 4 (Queue Theory) 80 Sunday

Week 7

Assignment Points Due
Discussion Post 7 (Program Success/Failure and Personality) 10 Friday/Sunday
Excel Exercise 6 (Program Management) 20 Friday
Case Review 5 (Program Management) 80 Sunday

Week 8

Assignment Points Due
Discussion Post 8 (Course Review) 10 Friday/Saturday
Simulation Tutorial Review/Excel Exercise -- Friday
Final Exam 200 Saturday
Total Points: 1000

  Assignment Overview


Discussions are primarily focused on understanding basic subject matter though there are a couple of discussions which are more free response. Each student is required to post an initial response to each discussion topic and to emphasize peer review, each student must also respond to at least two posts from classmates to receive full credit.  Your original post is due each week by Friday and responses to your classmates each week by Sunday.  During Week 8, responses to your classmates are due by Saturday.

Excel Exercises

Excel Exercises will consist of a basic homework problem assigned from each applicable chapter. These exercises are designed to give students some familiarity with the subject matter and how such problems are incorporated and solved in Excel prior to completing a more advanced case study on the same subject matter. To emphasize peer review and collaboration, Excel Exercises can be completed in groups of two students with the instructor providing a basic framework (i.e., an Excel spreadsheet file which you will find in the Content area of the course) from which each group should work from. We will discuss the teaming option during the first week of the course. Each response to an exercise question will require a written response as well.

Case Reviews

Case Reviews give students an opportunity to experience the application of various quantitative methods at the MBA level by completing a case problem from each assigned chapter. Similar to the Excel Exercises, the instructor will provide the basic modeling of the problem (see the Content area of the course) where students will respond to questions and will also be asked to make minor modifications to the model. Cases are individual effort though students may ask questions of the instructor by posting to the discussion board in D2L. Students should not email the instructor directly about Cases. Each response to a case question will require a written response as well.

Midterm and Final Examinations

Midterm and Final Examinations will be identical in structure focusing equally on the conceptual and modeling aspects of each analytical technique studied. Question types will vary and students will not be required to use Excel during each exam. The Midterm and Final exams consist of both multiple choice and written response questions. You are allowed two consecutive hours to complete each exam, so please be prepared to complete each within two hours of first opening them. The Midterm will be available Thursday through Sunday of Week 4; the Final will be available Thursday through Saturday of Week 8.

In addition to the approved learning outcomes, students will also be introduced to the concept of simulation using Microsoft Excel. There will be modest evaluation of the student’s general understanding of simulation on the final exam.

  Course Outline

Click on each week to view details about the activities scheduled for that week.


Chapters 1 and 2 (all sections of both chapters)

Introduction Post

Introduce yourself. Give your name, occupation, hobbies, interest or experience you may have in decision science or mathematical modeling, undergraduate major, family information, and/or any other information that can help us get to know you.

When posting your discussion, please indicate that you have read and understand the contents of the syllabus.

Discussion Post 1 (The Dreaded "M" word... Math)
Many students entering BUSI 508 are apprehensive about the course because they know there is a math component to the course. If a fellow classmate told you he/she was apprehensive about the course, what would you tell him/her in order to overcome any fears and be successful in the course?
Activate Excel Solver

Be sure to activate Excel Solver(Microsoft Support)

Excel Exercise (Part 1)

This exercise is designed to ensure you have correctly activated Solver.


Chapter 3 (Sections 3.1 through 3.9; beyond section 3.9, you should review and be familiar with the applications of linear programming) and Chapter 6 (Sections 6.1 through 6.8. From Section 6.9 through Section 6.16 you should review and be familiar with the applications of integer linear programming)

Discussion Post 2 (Understanding Linear Programming)
In the discussion area of the course for Week 2, there is an attachment showing the Excel framework for Problem 17, Page 119. In the graphic, you will see 15 cells labeled from A to O; some cells should contain values required to solve the model and some cells will change as the model is solved. Choose a letter and explain its contents. If your cell contains a numerical value required to run the model, indicate that value after reading the problem in the textbook. If your cell will change as a result of running the model, give the equation that must be present in the cell or if your cell is a decision variable, state so. When you post your solution, please title your response “Letter ?” replacing the question mark with the letter you have chosen from the file. Please ensure you do not duplicate a response from a fellow student.
Excel Exercise 1 (Part 2) (Linear Programming)
Chapter 6, Page 307, Problem 17
Case Review 1 (Linear Programming)
Chapter 3, Pages 138, Case 3.4

Chapter 4 (all sections)

Discussion Post 3 (Understanding Sensitivity Analysis)
In the discussion area of the course for Week 3, there is an attachment showing the sensitivity analysis which you see in Figure 4.9 on Page 153 of the textbook. The instructor has placed a letter, A through O, on 15 of the values in the sensitivity report. Choose one of the letters and explain as best you can what that number means with respect to the solved model. When you post your solution, please title your response “Letter ?” replacing the question mark with the letter you have chosen from the file. Please ensure you do not duplicate a response from a fellow student.
Excel Exercise 2 (Linear Programming/Sensitivity Analysis)
Chapter 4, Page 179, Problem 17 (which refers you to Page 119, Problem 18).
Case Review 2 (Linear Programming/Sensitivity Analysis)
Chapter 4, Pages 184, Case 4.2

Chapter 5 (sections 5.1 through 5.7)

Discussion Post 4 (Network Modeling Internet Search)

Do an Internet search on “network modeling.” Find an article where a business of any industry used network modeling to solve a tough problem. In response, you are required to post the Internet link and provide a 400-500 word statement summarizing the company’s issue and resolution. Conduct additional research and assess the company’s challenges and successes in using network modeling and the effectiveness of the particular model chosen. Before you choose your initial article, please make sure one of your classmates has not posted a similar application. For example, there are several articles on the Internet about utility companies using network modeling to optimize distribution.

Excel Exercise 3 (Network Modeling)
Chapter 5, Pages 227, Problem 9
Midterm Exam (Chapters 1-6)
Evaluation of your modeling and conceptual understanding of Chapters 1 – 6.

Chapter 9 (sections 9.1 through 9.14)

Discussion Post 5 (Understanding Linear Regression)
Discussion Post 5: In the discussion area of the course for Week 5, there is an attachment showing the regression results for Problem 24 on Page 493 in your textbook. The instructor has placed a letter, A through G, on 7 of the values in the regression results and also added 8 questions labeled H through O. Choose one of the letters and explain as best you can what that number means with respect to the regression results or answer one of the 8 written questions. When you post your solution, please title your response “Letter ?” replacing the question mark with the letter you have chosen from the file. Please ensure you do not duplicate a response from a fellow student.
Excel Exercise 4 (Regression Analysis)
Chapter 9, Page 489, Problem 13
Case Review 3 (Regression Analysis)
Chapter 9, Pages 496, Case 9.2

Chapter 13 (all sections)

Discussion Post 6 (Understanding Queue Theory)
For this discussion post, please reference Pages 746 and 747 in your textbook and complete one of the following problems: 5a, 5b, 5c, 8a, 8b, 8c, 8d, 8e, 9a, 9b, 9c, 9d, 12a, 12b, 12c, or 12d. In crafting your response, you will likely have to make entries into Q.xls and interpret the associated queue characteristics. When posting your response, in addition to providing the answer to your particular question, please also note in the inputs you made to Q.xls (arrival and service rates and number of servers.). When posting your response, please use your problem number as your subject (e.g. 5C).
Excel Exercise 5 (Queue Theory)
Chapter 13, Page 747, Problem 11.
Case Review 4 (Queue Theory)
Chapter 13, Page 751, Case 13.1.
Course Evaluation
Please evaluate the course. You will have an opportunity to evaluate the course near the end of the session. A link sent to your CougarMail will allow you to access the evaluation. Please note that these evaluations are provided so that I can improve the course, find out what students perceive to be its strengths and weaknesses, and in general assess the success of the course. Please do take the time to fill this out.

Chapter 15 (all sections; NOTE: the reading can be found in the content area of the course)

Discussion Post 7 (Program Success/Failure and Personality)
Fundamentally, program management boils down to three things: completing a project within cost, on time, and delivering “whatever” to meet the desired purpose established for the project. If you been a program manager in the past, discuss a project you worked on, whether it was a success or failure and why you categorize it as such. If you have never been a program manager, you will as an MBA! I contend that being a program manager is a personality—what kind of personality are you going to be to ensure the success of your team and your project?
Excel Exercise 6 (Program Management)
Page 15-41, Problem 10
Case Review 5 (Program Management)
Chapter 15, Page 15-51, Case 15.3

Chapter 12 (all sections)

Discussion Post 8 (Course Review)
Give an example of a scenario that is appropriate to analyze with a simulation. In your explanation, state the independent and dependent variables in your scenario. You are welcome to do an Internet search to support your response.
Simulation Tutorial Review/Excel Exercise

See video tutorials contained in Content area of the course—there are three.  In Tutorial #3, there is an explanation of what you are to accomplish and the file referenced is also contained in the Content area under Week 8.  

Final Exam
Evaluation of your modeling and conceptual understanding of Chapters 9, 12, 13, and 15.

  Course Policies

Student Conduct

All Columbia College students, whether enrolled in a land-based or online course, are responsible for behaving in a manner consistent with Columbia College's Student Conduct Code and Acceptable Use Policy. Students violating these policies will be referred to the office of Student Affairs and/or the office of Academic Affairs for possible disciplinary action. The Student Code of Conduct and the Computer Use Policy for students can be found in the Columbia College Student Handbook. The Handbook is available online; you can also obtain a copy by calling the Student Affairs office (Campus Life) at 573-875-7400. The teacher maintains the right to manage a positive learning environment, and all students must adhere to the conventions of online etiquette.

Plagiarism and Academic Integrity

Your grade will be based in large part on the originality of your ideas and your written presentation of these ideas. Presenting the words, ideas, or expression of another in any form as your own is plagiarism. Students who fail to properly give credit for information contained in their written work (papers, journals, exams, etc.) are violating the intellectual property rights of the original author. For proper citation of the original authors, you should reference the appropriate publication manual for your degree program or course (APA, MLA, etc.). Violations are taken seriously in higher education and may result in a failing grade on the assignment, a grade of "F" for the course, or dismissal from the College.

Collaboration conducted between students without prior permission from the instructor is considered plagiarism and will be treated as such. Spouses and roommates taking the same course should be particularly careful.

All required papers may be submitted for textual similarity review to Turnitin.com for the detection of plagiarism. All submitted papers may be included in the Turnitin.com reference database for the purpose of detecting plagiarism. This service is subject to the Terms and Conditions of Use posted on the Turnitin.com site.


There will be no discrimination on the basis of sex, race, color, national origin, sexual orientation, religion, ideology, political affiliation, veteran status, age, physical handicap, or marital status.

Student Accessibility Resources

Students with documented disabilities who may need academic services for this course are required to register with the office of Student Accessibility Resources. Until the student has been cleared through this office, accommodations do not have to be granted. If you are a student who has a documented disability, it is important for you to read the entire syllabus as soon as possible. The structure or the content of the course may make an accommodation not feasible. Student Accessibility Resources is located in Student Affairs in AHSC 215 and can be reached by phone at (573) 875-7626 or email at sar@ccis.edu.

Online Participation

You are expected to read the assigned texts and participate in the discussions and other course activities each week. Assignments should be posted by the due dates stated on the grading schedule in your syllabus. If an emergency arises that prevents you from participating in class, please let your instructor know as soon as possible.

Attendance Policy

Attendance for a week will be counted as having submitted any assigned activity for which points are earned. Attendance for the week is based upon the date work is submitted. A class week is defined as the period of time between Monday and Sunday (except for week 8, when the work and the course will end on Saturday at midnight.) The course and system deadlines are based on the Central Time Zone.

Cougar Email

All students are provided a CougarMail account when they enroll in classes at Columbia College. You are responsible for monitoring email from that account for important messages from the College and from your instructor. You may forward your Cougar email account to another account; however, the College cannot be held responsible for breaches in security or service interruptions with other email providers.

Students should use email for private messages to the instructor and other students. The class discussions are for public messages so the class members can each see what others have to say about any given topic and respond.

Late Assignment Policy

An online class requires regular participation and a commitment to your instructor and your classmates to regularly engage in the reading, discussion and writing assignments. Although most of the online communication for this course is asynchronous, you must be able to commit to the schedule of work for the class for the next eight weeks. You must keep up with the schedule of reading and writing to successfully complete the class.

No late discussion posts will be accepted.

No late assignments will be accepted without extenuating circumstances beyond the control of the student and with instructor notification prior to the due date (Columbia College Catalog).

Course Evaluation

You will have an opportunity to evaluate the course near the end of the session. A link will be sent to your CougarMail that will allow you to access the evaluation. Be assured that the evaluations are anonymous and that your instructor will not be able to see them until after final grades are submitted.

  Additional Resources

Orientation for New Students

This course is offered online, using course management software provided by Desire2Learn and Columbia College. The course user guide provides details about taking an online course at Columbia College. You may also want to visit the course demonstration to view a sample course before this one opens.

Technical Support

If you have problems accessing the course or posting your assignments, contact your instructor, the Columbia College Helpdesk, or the D2L Helpdesk for assistance. Contact information is also available within the online course environment.

Online Tutoring

Smarthinking is a free online tutoring service available to all Columbia College students. Smarthinking provides real-time online tutoring and homework help for Math, English, and Writing. Smarthinking also provides access to live tutorials in writing and math, as well as a full range of study resources, including writing manuals, sample problems, and study skills manuals. You can access the service from wherever you have a connection to the Internet. I encourage you to take advantage of this free service provided by the college.

Access Smarthinking through CougarTrack under Students -> Academics -> Academic Resources.