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Models are mechanisms for communication. This free course, Models and modelling, looks at what a model is and what the process of modelling is about. The techniques discussed here are applicable to a wide range of systems and have one thing in common: they are all commonly used diagramming techniques. The five techniques are: data flow diagrams, use case modelling, activity diagrams, entityrelationship diagrams and state machines.
Having studied this unit you should be able to:
- explain why modelling plays a key role in eliciting requirements;
- identify the different kinds of model used in eliciting requirements;
- explain the need for modelling languages;
- interpret a data flow diagram describing a simple process;
- interpret a use case diagram describing a system's response to a business event;
- interpret an activity diagram describing the activities that make up a business system;
- interpret an entity–relationship diagram that describes the data involved in a business process;
- interpret a state machine diagram that describes how a system responds to a sequence of events.
- Current section: Introduction
- Learning outcomes
- 1 Models and modelling
- 2 Models
- 3 Modelling languages
- 4 Data flow diagrams
- 5 Four other diagramming techniques
- 6 Use cases and actvity diagrams
- 6.1 Use case modelling
- 6.2 Actors
- 6.3 Describing use cases
- 6.4 Scenarios
- 6.5 More about actors
- 6.6 Modelling the relationships between use cases
- 6.7 Stereotypes
- 6.8 Sharing behaviour between use cases
- 6.9 Alternatives to the main success scenario
- 6.10 To extend or include?
- 6.11 Issues with use cases
- 6.12 Self-assessment questions
- 6.13 Exercises
- 7 Modelling users' routines
- 8 Entity–relationship data modelling
- 9 An introduction to state machines
- Keep on learning
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Models and modelling
Models are mechanisms for communication. This unit looks at what a model is and what the process of modelling is about. The techniques discussed here are applicable to a wide range of systems and have one thing in common: they are all commonly used diagramming techniques. The five techniques are: data flow diagrams, use case modelling, activity diagrams, entity–relationship diagrams and state machines.
This free course is an adapted extract relevant to The Open University course M883 Software requirements for business systems, which is no longer taught by the University. If you want to study formally with us, you may wish to explore other courses we offer in this.
This free course includes adapted extracts from an Open University course which is no longer available to new students. If you found this interesting you could explore more free Computing and ICT courses or view the range of currently available OU Computing and ICT courses.
Copyright & revisions
Originally published: Friday, 15th July 2011
Last updated on: Friday, 26th September 2014
- Creative-Commons: The Open University is proud to release this free course under a Creative Commons licence. However, any third-party materials featured within it are used with permission and are not ours to give away. These materials are not subject to the Creative Commons licence. See terms and conditions. Full details can be found in the Acknowledgements and our FAQs section.
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