ISQS 3349
Fall 2000


Introduction to Data Communication Networks

Instructor: Zhangxi Lin
Office: BA 708
Phone: 742-1926 (office)
Class meetings: TTh 12:30-1:50p, BA 157
Office hours: TTh 9:00-11:00p 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 the student with a conceptual foundation for the study of data communications using the Open Systems Interconnection (OSI) layered architecture model; and, 2) allow the student 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, the student should have a good understanding of data communications technology and know how it can be used to fulfill companies' organizational and functional needs. This knowledge will be useful to them to pursue other relevant courses as well as they enter the workforce as application developers and ultimately, join the ranks of information technology management.

B. Textbook:

Business Data Communications and Networking, 6th edition
Jerry Fitzgerald and Alan Dennis
John Wiley & Sons 1999.

Additional reading materials will be posted on the course's web site.

C. Grading Policy:

  • Five quiz from six, whichever with the lowest score is to be discarded (25%)
  • Two Exams 50%
  • Group Project 25%
    • Written report 40%
    • Presentation 40% (content 30%, communication 30%, slide 20%, Q&A 20%)
    • Web Updates20%
  • Total 100%
  • Extra bonus credit up to 5%

D. Attendance:

Attendance will be taken in group presentations. Missing a class will cost one point (1%).

E. Examinations:

There will be two exams and no final exam. The exams will be closed book and closed notes. You are required to take the test in the class room 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.

Make-up test may be available 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. Homework Assignments:

Exercises are available for each chapter. No need to submit the them and you can check the answer keys from the class web site. However, the quiz are closely relevant to the exercises. Working seriously on the exercises will guarantee you high outcomes in quiz, which are counted 25% in total.

G. Group Project:

Groups of 3-4 students would work on a semester long research project addressing a state-of-the-art network technology, product, service, or distributed application. Your group can choose a topic from one of the three different categories:

  1. Technology research. You need to research the latest data communication technology or network application development from the Internet. Your report will provide comprehensive introduction of the technology.
  2. Company interview. You will visit a company to investigate their network application and management, or e-commerce.  Your report will cover the interview process, the company's business, the technologies the company is using, the market status, etc.
  3. Network application system prototyping. You can develop your own e-commerce site with web and database technology. The system is demonstrable. Your report will contain the technical specification of the system.

Further information and instruction about group project will be available soon.

There will be project deliverables throughout the semester. Your group must go through three phases:

  1. prepare a project proposal (2-3 pages double-spaced) for review,
  2. present your project in the class, and
  3. submit a project report (10-25 pages double-spaced) by the end of the semester .

Both printouts and electronic files of the report are required. 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.

H. 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.
The maximum number of credits is five (5%).

I. 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 6 mini-presentations can be scheduled through the semester

J. Course Homepage and Discussion Group:

A homepage for the course is available ( Please bookmark this URL for your convenience. A newsgroup ( is available to both ISQS 3349 and ISQS 6341 classes. Students are expected to join the group to exchange information.

K. Interacting the Instructor:

You may contact me with any of the following methods:

  1. See me immediately before class in the classroom.
  2. Drop by during office hours.
  3. Email me at at any time. I check the email frequently.
  4. Call 742-1926 during business hours (8:00a-5:00p) to schedule an appointment.

All important announcements will be made via e-mail also. You are responsible for checking your e-mail everyday for any communication from the instructor.

L. Civility in the Classroom:

Students are expected to assist in maintaining a classroom environment which is conducive to learning. In order to assure that all students have an opportunity to gain from time spent in class, unless otherwise approved by the instructor, students are prohibited from using cellular phones or beepers, eating or drinking in class, making offensive remarks, reading newspapers, sleeping or engaging in any other form of distraction. Inappropriate behavior in the classroom shall result in, minimally, a request to leave class.

M. Disabling Conditions:

Any student who, because of a disabling condition, may require some special arrangements in order to meet course requirements should contact the instructor as soon as possible to make necessary accommodations. Students should present appropriate verification from the Disabled Students Services, Dean of Students Office. No requirements exist that accommodations be made prior to completion of this approved University process.

N. Course Schedule:

See here.

O. Important Dates:
  • 9/5 - Form project group
  • 9/12 - Choose project topic
  • 9/19 - Group homepage due
  • 9/26 - Project proposal due
  • 10/10 - Exam 1
  • 11/21 - Exam 2
  • 11/30 - Project report due