NYU Stern School of Business

Undergraduate College

INFO-UB.0001.005 (C20.0001): INFO TECH IN BUS & SOCIETY

Spring 2012

Instructor Details

Walker, Dylan


Thursdays - 2:30-3:30pm



Course Meetings

TR, 3:30pm to 4:45pm

Tisch T-UC24

Final Exam:

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


Course Description and Learning Goals

Information Technology (IT) has radically changed the internal operations of organizations and the structure of the markets in which they compete. As a result, the toolkit of the business professional must include an understanding of the fundamentals of IT and its impacts on the 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. 

This course introduces you to  information technology in business and society. Broadly, here’s what  you’ll learn from the course, and why this learning is important:  
  • First, as a future knowledge worker you will use personal computer systems in your work every day. You need to know how to publish information on the Internet, model and analyze decisions using a spreadsheet, and get information from relational databases. In this course, your in-class conceptual learning of these topics will be complemented by a set of computer-based self-learning tools.  
  • Second, in the digital firm, you will be involved increasingly in decisions about information systems. You will therefore need to recognize the large-scale systems that run modern organizations, understand what drives the success of a company’s IT investments, and learn how these investments facilitate effective business strategy and emerging business models, all topics that we will cover in this course.   
  • Third, you must know how to evaluate and analyze information-based products and services in the increasing number of industries that are being transformed by information technology. In this course, you will learn about the unique economics of information pricing, technological lock-in and network effects, so that you can perform informed business analysis and formulate effective strategies in the digital economy.  
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 through the course will reinforce your learning of how to use information technology to solve business problems. 


Course Outline

Draft Outline - Subject to Change







Introduction to IT in business



IT, strategy, and competitiveness



IT and business transformation: The Future of Netflix



How computers works and the importance of platforms



How the Internet works and Net Neutrality



Web search and advertising



Social networks and the long tail



Wrap-up and midterm review



Midterm Exam I



Computer crime and security I: The basics



Computer crime and security II: Biometrics



Computer crime and security III: The iPremier Case



Databases I: Fundamentals



Databases II: Getting information



Data mining



Information privacy



Intellectual property I: Copyright



Intellectual property II: Patents



Midterm Exam II



The economics and pricing of digital goods



Pricing and technology lock-in



Networks effects and strategy I



Networks effects and strategy II



IT infrastructure and business models: Amazon, eBay, and Walmart



Group Presentations



Group Presentations



Group Presentations



Review Session



Required Course Materials

A required custom textbook titled 'Management Information Systems for the Information Age' is available in aisle 16 of the main NYU bookstore located at 18 Washington Place, New York, NY. It contains the following materials:

  1.  A complete copy of Management Information Systems for the Information Age, 7th or 8th 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.” 

These readings will be supplemented by selected online content, which you can access from the Course Documents section of Blackboard. 


Assessment Components

During this course, you will be assigned five individual assignments and three group projects. You will have one midterm exam (on March 23rd) and one final examination (in early May, dates TBA). You are expected to participate in classroom and online discussions. The breakdown of points (out of a total of 500) is as follows: 

Assignments, projects and quizzes  200 points
Class Participation 50 points
Midterm Examination 100 points
Final Examination 150 points
Total 500 points

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 closed book/notes/computer/PDA/iPod (you get the idea). We will further discuss their format in class.  

In general, homework will be due on Tuesdays or Thursdays by 3:30pm. Late submissions will be accepted and graded, but you will only be given credit for 50% of your score.  

Group projects will be done in groups of 2 students (group project 1) or 5 students (group projects 2 and 3). 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 merely on its frequency. 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.  


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.





We usually will publish the grading guide for the assignments and projects, so that students can learn from their mistakes and judge the fairness of the grade. 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. 


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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