NYU Stern School of Business

Undergraduate College

INFO-UB.0001.001 (C20.0001): INFO TECH IN BUS & SOCIETY

Summer 2011

Instructor Details

Rhue, Lauren


Tuesdays, 2-3:30pm

KMC 8-186


Course Meetings

MW, 3:00pm to 4:55pm

Tisch T-UC19

Final Exam:

Schedule exceptions
    Class will not meet on:
    Class will meet on:


Course Description and Learning Goals

This course is an introduction into information technology and its influence on business practices, the economy, and the larger society. Broadly, the course objective is to prepare students to use information technology to examine real-world business problems. By the end of the course, you should have a basic understanding of how to evaluate and analyze information-based products, firm IT investment, and some common large-scale systems. You should understand the digital economy and the ways that information technology is transforming certain industries. You will also gain experience with common business analytics tools such as spreadsheets and relational databases. The assignments, projects, and exams are designed to reinforce the concepts discussed in class.


Course Outline

IT, Strategy and Competitiveness

We will cover Porter's framework of industry competitiveness and then we’ll apply Porter’s framework to understand how IT has transformed long-distance telephony.


How Computers & the Internet Work

We will cover a select set of IT concepts: digitization, basic computer architecture and Moore's Law, operating systems, applications, and how these lead to powerful shared IT platforms in business. We will discuss how the Internet works, including the business structure of the Internet, client-server basics, packet switching, protocols and peer-to-peer networks.


Data Mining, Databases, and Intelligent Decision Support

We will cover business data analysis beginning with some relational database fundamentals and some artificial intelligence technologies used in business data analysis and decision making including expert systems, neural networks, genetic algorithms and intelligent agents.


Social Media, Platforms, and Information Privacy

We will cover the challenges and opportunities in monetizing the social graph, including sources of revenue and sustainable competitive advantage in online social networking. We will introduce the concepts of Internet platform and discuss digital privacy.


Digital Goods, IP and DRM

We will cover information goods and their unique economics, focusing on costless production, costless distribution, "rendering", and remixing. We introduce the idea of digital rights management and understand how it is central to strategy in the digital economy. We will also discuss IP law, and how it is just one of the forces that regulate digital consumption. 


Network Effects

We will cover what network effects are, why they pervade IT-based products and services, and show how they are responsible for Facebook's future wealth, and for Office and Windows being two of the most profitable products in history.


Web Search and Advertising & The Search Economy

We will cover the history of search, the fundamentals of search technologies and the search economy, including PageRank and its superiority to its predecessors, Google's business model, and sponsored search advertising. We will also discuss the "long tail" phenomenon and its drivers.

Computer crime and security

We will cover some common forms of computer crime enabled by the Internet and what individuals and companies do to protect themselves. We will discuss viruses, denial-of-service and DDOS attacks, encryption and authentication, web defacing, and some common computer security precautions.


Required Course Materials

The required text for the course isInformation Systems: A Manager's Guide to Harnessing Technology & Flat World Knowledge(v1.1) by John Gallaugher. The text is available at the bookstore or you can read the pdf online for free at: http://www.flatworldknowledge.com/printed-book/227252.


Assessment Components

The final grade will be assigned based on the following:

Class Participation & Assignments

125 points (25%)


100 points (20%)

Group Project

125 points (25%)


150 points (30%)


Group Projects

Guidelines for Group Projects

Business activities involve group effort. Consequently, learning how to work effectively in a group is a critical part of your business education.

Every member is expected to carry an equal share of the group’s workload. As such, it is in your interest to be involved in all aspects of the project. Even if you divide the work rather than work on each piece together, you are still responsible for each part. The group project will be graded as a whole:   its different components will not be graded separately. Your exams may contain questions that are based on aspects of your group projects.

It is recommended that each group establish ground rules early in the process to facilitate your joint work including a problem-solving process for handling conflicts. In the infrequent case where you believe that a group member is not carrying out his or her fair share of work, you are urged not to permit problems to develop to a point where they become serious. If you cannot resolve conflicts internally after your best efforts, they should be brought to my attention and I will work with you to find a resolution.

You will be asked to complete a peer evaluation form to evaluate the contribution of each of your group members (including your own contribution) at the conclusion of each project. If there is consensus that a group member did not contribute a fair share of work to the project, I will consider this feedback during grading.



At NYU Stern we seek to teach challenging courses that allow students to demonstrate their mastery of the subject matter.  In general, students in undergraduate core courses can expect a grading distribution where: 

Note that while the School uses these ranges as a guide, the actual distribution for this course and your own grade will depend upon how well you actually perform in this course.



The process of assigning grades is intended to be one of unbiased evaluation. Students are encouraged to respect the integrity and authority of the professor’s grading system and are discouraged from pursuing arbitrary challenges to it.

If you believe an inadvertent error has been made in the grading of an individual assignment or in assessing an overall course grade, a request to have the grade re-evaluated may be submitted. You must submit such requests in writing to me within 7 days of receiving the grade, including a brief written statement of why you believe that an error in grading has been made.


Professional Responsibilities For This Course



In-class contribution is a significant part of your grade and an important part of our shared learning experience. Your active participation helps me to evaluate your overall performance.
You can excel in this area if you come to class on time and contribute to the course by:




Classroom Norms


Stern Policies

General Behavior
The School expects that students will conduct themselves with respect and professionalism toward faculty, students, and others present in class and will follow the rules laid down by the instructor for classroom behavior.  Students who fail to do so may be asked to leave the classroom. 


Collaboration on Graded Assignments
Students may not work together on graded assignment unless the instructor gives express permission. 


Course Evaluations
Course evaluations are important to us and to students who come after you.  Please complete them thoughtfully.


Academic Integrity

Integrity is critical to the learning process and to all that we do here at NYU Stern. As members of our community, all students agree to abide by the NYU Stern Student Code of Conduct, which includes a commitment to:

The entire Stern Student Code of Conduct applies to all students enrolled in Stern courses and can be found here:

Undergraduate College: http://www.stern.nyu.edu/uc/codeofconduct
Graduate Programs: http://w4.stern.nyu.edu/studentactivities/involved.cfm?doc_id=102505

To help ensure the integrity of our learning community, prose assignments you submit to Blackboard will be submitted to Turnitin.  Turnitin will compare your submission to a database of prior submissions to Turnitin, current and archived Web pages, periodicals, journals, and publications.  Additionally, your document will become part of the Turnitin database.


Recording of Classes

Your class may be recorded for educational purposes


Students with Disabilities

If you have a qualified disability and will require academic accommodation of any kind during this course, you must notify me at the beginning of the course and provide a letter from the Moses Center for Students with Disabilities (CSD, 998-4980, www.nyu.edu/csd) verifying your registration and outlining the accommodations they recommend.  If you will need to take an exam at the CSD, you must submit a completed Exam Accommodations Form to them at least one week prior to the scheduled exam time to be guaranteed accommodation.


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