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COT 490
Digital Communications Capstone

Revised: January, 2015
Credits: 3
Instructor: Ed Nickel
Office: HTC 133
Phone: 753-2241 (office with voice mail)
E-mail: due to increased spam my email address will be provided the first day of class
Class Web Page:
Textbook: The World Is Flat: A brief history of the Twenty-First Century, either the 2nd (ISBN 978-0374292799) or 3rd (ISBN 978-0312425074) editions, by Thomas L. Friedman, Farrar Straus Giroux. This book is also available in eBook and audio versions which are also acceptable if you prefer. Search using the title, author, or ISBN for pricing at various discounters/used book dealers.


CATALOG DESCRIPTION: This is a capstone seminar covering the common theme of data communications among the BAS in Digital Information Technology emphasis courses. Relationships between data organization, digital multimedia, data presentation, data security, and data communications will be covered. Students will finalize the digital portfolio of their accomplishments while completing this degree program. (Prerequisite: senior standing or instructor's approval)

Welcome to COT 490, Digital Communications Capstone. As the course title implies this is a seminar style capstone class in which we will have broad ranging discussions of material covered throughout the digital information management classes of the BAS-DI degree. The text will be used to initiate discussion each week. In addition, you will be expected to have researched alternative ideas, methodologies, and techniques relevant to each week's discussion prior to class. Issues to be discussed include but are not limited to: globalization, outsourcing, data networks, data analysis, mixed media systems, data security, software development, data presentation, and data management.

In addition to the seminar discussions each student will be required to complete a class project. The project consists of developing a complete integrated business information systems plan. This plan can be either an upgrade to an existing IS infrastructure or a completely new IS infrastructure. It shall include acquisition of multiple data types, organization, storage, analysis, presentation, and security for the data. The projects will be due in the 12th week of the semester. Copies of each student's plan will be made and given to all the other students to read and review. During the last three weeks of class we will perform an in depth appraisal of each of these plans. A more thorough discussion of this project will be presented in the first class lesson and a review of each project's status will occur in week seven.

METHOD OF INSTRUCTION: This class may be taught in a live classroom setting, online via WebCampus, or as a hybrid class. You are expected to participate in weekly discussions, exercises, as well as various quizzes, projects, and other class activities. The schedule of reading and assignments is found below. Additional assignments may be given verbally, as handouts in class, or via the WebCampus lesson modules.

CLASS PARTICIPATION: In the on-line version of this class, you are expected to post at least one original discussion and one response to other classmates' posts every week and your posts should relate to some aspect of the material we are covering during each lesson or some related issue. In the live version you are expect to be similarly prepared for and participate in every class discussion. Whether live or online, participation in class discussion is a significant portion of your grade as it indicates how well you understand the concepts being covered.

INSTRUCTOR CONTACT: I can be reached either at my office phone number shown above or via the WebCampus email, you can drop in during my office hours, or make an appointment to see me at other times. Office hours are posted on my office door and on my web site. The schedule of reading assignments, homework and tests is found below. Additional assignments may be given verbally or as handouts in class.


As a capstone class, the primary objective is to wrap the information technology concepts from your prior Digital Information courses into a unified and, within the confines allowed in a single semester, comprehensive context.

The successful student in this class will be able to:
  1. show comprehension of implementation and integration of disparate business information systems;
  2. articulate significant social, ethical, and legal issues concerning information systems in business;
  3. appraise various information systems and their appropriateness to specific tasks;
  4. design complex information systems including complex databases, detailed data analysis, multimedia information, globally networked resources, and appropriate security;
  5. develop an information systems plan to accomplish specific needs while accommodating future scalability and potential expansion of functionality.
Learner Outcome Assessments
Assessment Method Learner Outcomes
Class Discussion 1, 2, 3, 4
Class Project 1, 4, 5
Presentation and Review of Class Projects 3


GRADING POLICY: Your grade will be based 40% on the class project and 60% on participation & discussion. This is a letter grade class, an A=90-100%, B=80-89%, C=70-79%, D=60-69%, F=59% or less or W=Official Withdrawal if done before the withdrawal deadline. There is no curve in this grading scale. All assignments will be due one week from the time they are given.

ATTENDANCE POLICY: The instructor must agree in advance to any excused absences unless there are strong extenuating circumstances. Three (3) unexcused absences can result in a failing grade, in an on-line class an absence is one week when you do not participate in class or contact the instructor.

OTHER POLICIES: The student rights & responsibilities policy stated in the current GBC Catalog apply to this class. Plagiarism and other forms of academic dishonesty will not be tolerated and can result in a failing grade. This syllabus is not a contract and is subject to reasonable changes as the class proceeds.

ACCOMMODATIONS FOR STUDENTS WITH DISABILITIES: Great Basin College is committed to providing equal educational opportunities to qualified students with disabilities in accordance with state and federal laws and regulations, including the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973. A qualified student must furnish current verification of disability. The Director of Services for Students with Disabilities will assist qualified students with disabilities in securing the appropriate and reasonable accommodations, auxiliary aids and services. For more information or further assistance, please call (775) 753-2271.

CAMPUS SECURITY: GBC is committed to the safety of our students and has a duty to promote awareness and prevention programs for violence on campus under the Jeanne Clery Act as well as the Campus SaVE (Sexual Violence Elimination Act) and VAWA (Violence Against Women Act), which are amendments to Clery. Acts of violence include, but are not limited to, sexual assault, domestic violence, dating violence, and stalking. Acts of violence can occur on the physical campus or centers of GBC in addition to field placement sites, clinical practice settings, and other places where college or class activities occur. As well, the online environment at GBC is considered a GBC site. If you experience any incidence where your safety has been threatened or violated, or if you feel threatened or harassed, immediately report this to me, any center director, faculty, or staff member, or directly to the Director of Environmental Health, Safety & Security (775-753-2115) or the Vice President for Student Services (775-753-2282).


You should have read and be prepared to discuss each week's topics by the beginning of class. We will have significant hands on experiences with many lessons.

Readings, topics, & class project deadlines
(Please note: the following schedule is subject to change based on class progress)
Week 1: background class introduction, background review & IT's "imagination quotient"
Week 2: 3rd pg.1-77
2nd pg.1-76
introduction to information systems globalization
Week 3: 3rd pg.77-136
2nd pg.76-136
work flow software, uploading, outsourcing & more
Week 4: 3rd pg.137-199
2nd pg.136-200
implications of off-shoring, supply chains, "insourcing" & more
Week 5: 3rd pg.200-259
2nd pg.201-260
long term implications of the Internet to businesses both large & small
Week 6: 3rd pg.263-307
2nd pg.261-300
information technology competition pressures never before seen
Week 7: 3rd pg.308-373
2nd pg.301-359
IT creativity & maintaining the competitive edge
Week 8: 3rd pg.374-400
2nd pg.360-392
social and ethical implications of IT systems
class project proposal due
Week 9: 3rd pg.404-474
2nd pg.393-456
coping with globalization, outsourcing, offshoring, etc. in IT
Week 10: your data class project progress review
Week 11: 3rd pg.533-579
& 477-488
2nd pg.457-514
intended and unintended restrictions of the grand IT plans
Week 12: 3rd pg.580-635
2nd pg.515-575
a wrap for the text
Week 13: handouts some of the many legal snares in which IT managers can be trapped
Week 14: projects continue class project
Week 15: projects class project due
Week 16: projects class project peer reviews

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Original content on this website created by Ed Nickel
is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0
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based on a work at
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