ISQS 3349
Spring 2004


Introduction to Data Communication Networks

Instructor: Zhangxi Lin
Office: BA 708
Phone: 742-1926 (office)
Section 1: 11:00-12:20p TTh, BA 053;Section 2: TTh 2:00-3:20p TTh, BA 157
Office hours: MW 9:30-11:30a or by appointment

A. Course Content:

This course is an introduction to the fundamentals of data communications and computer networks. The course is designed to: 1) provide students with the foundation for the study of data communications using the Open Systems Interconnection (OSI) layered architecture model; and, 2) help students to explore leading edge distributed applications, products, or services that are being used in today's business and home environments. Both technical and managerial aspects of data communications and networks will be covered.  After completion of this course, students should have a good understanding of data communications technology and know how it can be used to fulfill the operational and functional needs of different types of organizations. This knowledge will be useful to them to pursue other relevant courses as well as application developers and ultimately, join the ranks of information technology management.

B. Textbook:

Required Textbook:

Business Data Communications and Networking, 7th edition
Jerry Fitzgerald and Alan Dennis
John Wiley & Sons.

ISBN 0-471-39100-X; 2002

Optional Material:

Business Data Communications, 4/e
William Stallings
Prentice Hall 2001, 558 pp.
ISBN 0-13-088263-1

C. Grading Policy:

  • Two exams and one final exam. One of the exams will be dropped, whichever having the lowest score. Total 200 points.
  • Three quizzes. One of the exams will be dropped, whichever having the lowest score. Total 60 points.
  • In-class exercises 30 points.
  • Group Project 100 points
    • One short project, 30 points
    • One major project, 60 points (report 30 points, presentation 30 points)
    • Group web site, 10 points
  • Class participation 10 points
  • 400 points in total
  • Extra bonus credit up to 20 points

D. Class Participation:

Attendance of regular lectures will not be monitored. Past experience has indicated that regular attendance results in around a 10% increase on exams over those who try to do the course on their own. However, students must attend all group presentations in which attendance will be checked.

Factors that may affect the credits of class participation include: sign-up/update of personal information on the class website, sign-up/update of group information on the class website, responsiveness to the requests sent by the instructor or your group members for the issues of the course or the group project.

E. Examinations:

There will be two exams and an optional final exam. Exams are close-book and close-notes. The first two exams are based on recent 2-3 topics lectured. The final exam is comprehensive. You are required to take the test in the classroom at the scheduled date and time, unless you have disabling conditions. In which case, alternative place and time may be discussed. Most questions will be chosen from the questions at the end of the chapters and from the supplemental materials distributed in the class.

No make-up test for quizzes. Make-up test may be available for regular exams in the case that you could not take the test at the specific time due to medical emergencies or unexpected travel plans. If you need to reschedule a test, you must contact the instructor before the scheduled test.

F. In-class Exercises:

In-class exercises allow a student to exam his/her understanding of the lecture with the instructor's help. In-class exercises are normally held on Thursday when there is no other schedule, such as an exam. Students are required to answer a few questions independently in 10-12 minutes. Then the instructor will provide answer keys to let students self-evaluate the performance. The grade of thse exercises will not affect your total scores.

If you miss up to two in-class exercises there is no effect on your credit. Missing an extra in-class exercise will cost you 3 points. However, if you have taken all the exercises you will be rewarded 3 bonus points. No make-up exercise is allowed after the class.

G. Homework Assignments:

Homework assignments are available for each chapter. Submission is not required and students can find the answer keys posted on the class web site. Working seriously on the assignments will lead you to better performance in exams.

H. Group Project:

Groups of 2-3 students would work on three short-term projects addressing state-of-the-art network technologies, products, services, or distributed applications.

There will be project deliverables throughout the semester, at least including:

  1. web site updates,
  2. group presentation in the class, and
  3. a project report/summary (3-8 pages) .

The report should reflect your original work. Both printouts and electronic files of the report are required on the scheduled date. Programming is encouraged, particularly when it is needed to complete your project, but not mandatory. Each member of the group is expected to co-operate with others and contribute equally. Your contribution in the project will be evaluated by your peers.

I. Extra Bonus Credit:

In the following cases you may earn extra credits:

  • Presenting a topic in mini-presentations, one credit each time. Available to those experienced students.
  • Active involvement in class discussions.
  • Any recognized contribution to improving teaching and researching for this course.

J. Mini-presentations:

Mini-presentations are assigned to those experienced students. A mini-presentation normally lasts 5-10 minutes focused on a specific topic and scheduled at beginning of a class meeting. Presenters need to contact the instructor in advance to discuss the presentation topic. At most 4 mini-presentations can be scheduled through the semester

K. Course Schedule:

See here.

L. Others