NYU Stern School of Business

Undergraduate College

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

Fall 2011

Instructor Details

Mantena, Ravindra


MW 11:00 - 12:00

KMC 8-85


Course Meetings

MW, 9:30am to 10:45am

KMC 3-90

Final Exam: A final exam will be scheduled between Dec. 19th and Dec. 23rd.

Schedule exceptions
    Class will not meet on Monday, October 10th.


Course Description and Learning Goals


Course Overview
Information Technology (IT) is the lifeblood of modern organizations and societies. Therefore it is imperative that a modern business professional have at least a basic appreciation of the role it plays in organizations and society. They must be comfortable with the fundamentals of technology and understand its impact on other functional areas, such as strategic management, finance, accounting, marketing, and operations. This course is intended to provide this base set of knowledge and skills.

Course Objectives
This course introduces you to the fundamentals of information technology, especially personal productivity technology, and helps you develop an understanding of its impact on business and society. Broadly, here’s what you’ll learn from the course:

We will also discuss a set of special topics, which will include digital music, information privacy, data mining, digital piracy, and the business implications of online social networking. Assignments, projects and case studies throughout the course will reinforce your learning of how to use information technology to solve business problems.


Course Outline

Please note that the following schedule is preliminary. Both the topics and dates (including those of the midterm exam) are subject to change. An updated version of the schedule will be available by the beginning of the semester.









Introduction to IT in Business and Society




IT, Strategy and Competitiveness I




IT, Strategy and Competitiveness II




IT Platforms and Infrastructures I - Computer Technology




IT Platforms and Infrastructures II -Internet Technology




Web Search and Advertising




The Long Tail




Social Networks




Computer Crime and Security I




Computer Crime and Security II




Computer Crime and Security III




Databases I




Databases II




Databases III




Review Session




Midterm Exam




Datamining and Business Intelligence




Information Privacy




Managing Knowledge Workers




Intellectual Property I




Intellectual Property II




The Economics and Pricing of Digital Goods




Technology lock-in and Consequences




Network Effects and Consequences




Strategy in Network Industries




Group Presentations




Group Presentations




Review Session


Course Materials

Required Software and Materials:

Software: Microsoft Office 2007 (especially Excel and Access)

Other Materials: Most of the required material for this class will be in the class slides and other materials posted on the Blackboard site or handed out in class. However, if you are someone who needs a textbook to supplement the discussion in class, some optional materials are indicated below. Please note that the class will not be "taught out of the textbook" and as such most of the related materials in the textbook should be treated as background reading/reference.

Optional textbooks and software (Please read paragraph above)
A custom textbook titled 'Management Information Systems for the Information Age' is available in the main NYU bookstore. It provides useful background reading for many (but not all) of the topics discussed in class, and contains the following materials:
1. A complete copy of Management Information Systems for the Information Age, 7th Edition, by Stephen Haag, Maeve Cummings and Donald McCubbrey.
2. Chapters 2, 5 and 7 from Information Rules, by Carl Shapiro and Hal Varian.
3. The article “How Competitive Forces Shape Strategy” by Michael Porter.
4. The case “The iPremier Company: Denial of Service Attack.”

In addition, there is also an optional web-based software package, SimNet Online for Office 2007. A registration code for this package is also available for purchase in the main NYU bookstore.


Assessment Components

The grading for the course will be based on the following:

Assignments, projects and quizzes

200 points

Class participation

50 points

Midterm examination

100 points

Final examination

150 points


500 points


There will be several individual assignments as well as group projects. Each assignment and project will provide you with a set of instructions and guidelines. Expect to use Excel, Access and the Web extensively. Examinations are old style paper and pen based. They’ll be closed book. We will further discuss their format in class.

In general, homework will be due on Mondays/Wednesdays by 11:59pm. Late submissions will be accepted and graded (if submitted within 48 hours of their due date), but you will only be given credit for 50% of your score.

Group projects will be done in groups of 5 students. After you have posted your personal Blackboard page, your classmates will know you better, and this will help facilitate the group formation process. During the semester, your TA’s will facilitate this process further, and we will give you a set of detailed guidelines about working in teams. You will also be asked to evaluate the contribution of each of your team members after each group project.

The classroom discussion presents a unique opportunity for you to develop and enhance your confidence and skills in articulating a personal position, sharing your knowledge, and reacting to new ideas. All of you have personal experience with information technology that can enhance our understanding of the subject, and that we want to encourage you to share. The grade we assign for your class participation is a careful, subjective assessment of the value of your input to classroom learning. We keep track of your contributions towards each class session, and these contributions can include (but are not restricted to) raising questions that make your classmates think, providing imaginative yet relevant analysis of a situation, contributing background or a perspective on a classroom topic that enhances its discussion, and simply answering questions raised in class. Emphasis is placed on the quality of your contribution, rather than airtime. A lack of preparation, negative classroom comments, or improper behavior (such as talking to each other, sleeping in the classroom or walking in and out of the class while the lecture is in process) can lower this grade.

Participation and Attendance

This course, like many other courses at Stern, uses learning methods that require active involvement (e.g., participation in discussions and exercises). Not only is this the best way to learn, but it also develops your communication skills. Regular attendance and participation are very important. Active participation requires good preparation—thoughtful reading of the assigned material and completion of assignments, quizzes, and projects before class is essential. We recognize that expressing viewpoints in a group is difficult, but it is an important skill for you to develop. We will do what we can to make this as easy as possible. If you feel that contributing on-line is easier for you than contributing in-class, please feel free to do so. Remember though that only regular and insightful contributions will be rewarded (e.g., asking a question about the homework will typically not increase your class participation grade).

In addition to in-class participation, you should also participate in the discussion board on Blackboard, where we will discuss topics ranging from relevant developments in the news to issues related to the class material. The participation should be substantive: read what others have said and reply to their remarks, but do not repeat their points. You can also ask questions of each other. This will help you learn and prepare for exams. The discussion board will also be used to ask the instructor or TAs questions about assignments and exams as well as to facilitate group formation. All administrative questions should be posted there rather than sent to us in email. If you like, you can post feedback anonymously.

Academic Honor Code

Consistent with Stern's honor code, your exams and quizzes should be completed individually. On individual assignments, you can only discuss the assignment with the TAs, or with the instructor. On group assignments, you can only discuss them with your teammates, with the TAs, or with the instructor. All external sources such as web pages, periodicals, books, etc. should be properly cited in your work. Any attempt to represent the work of others as your own will be considered plagiarism and will be referred to the Stern Discipline Committee. Penalties determined by this committee range from academic probation to expulsion. It is in your best interest to submit nothing or a partial assignment, rather than an assignment copied in violation of the honor code.

Communicating with us electronically

As far as is possible, rather than emailing us, you should post your questions on the relevant Blackboard discussion boards. This is far more efficient than individual back-and-forth email. Usually the question should be posted to one of the following two discussion boards:
1. Administrative questions about the course
2. General questions and comments about what we cover in class.

Before posting a question, make sure that you read through the course content on Blackboard, and the questions other students have posted. Often, you will find the answer to your question in one of these. In the event that you feel the need to email us directly with a question, please make sure to put ITBS at the beginning of the subject line, so that we recognize that the email is from one of you, and so that our spam filters do not accidentally delete your message. Please avoid sending email attachments.

Individual Consultation

We encourage you to meet with the TAs or with the instructor at any point during the semester to discuss your progress or any problems with the material or the assignments. We would prefer if you could come during the office hours, but if you cannot, please see the instructor after class, or send an e-mail, and we can schedule a time to meet. Please talk to us if you have questions or problems. We are here to help.


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 that the grade you received was unjustified, you can appeal the grade. To appeal the grade you must write a one page explanation as to the reason for your appeal and hand it along with your graded assignment back to the TA responsible for that assignment. Please think twice before appealing a grade: the TA will completely re-grade the assignment, which may increase your grade, but may also lower it (e.g., if the TA catches more mistakes the second time around). If after re-grading you feel that your grade was again unjustified, you can appeal the grade with the instructor.


Professional Responsibilities For This Course


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. 

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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