INFS 640: Introduction to Electronic Commerce [3 credits] Fall 2016

GMU Catalog Description
Studies electronic commerce from both managerial and technical perspectives. Topics include e-commerce models and concepts; Internet and web protocols and infrastructure; e-commerce marketing and branding; security protocols and standards; e-commerce payment systems; and case studies of business-to-consumer, business-to-business, consumer-to-consumer, and e-government. 

INFS 501, 515, and 519; and SWE 510 or equivalent

Topics covered:
The topics covered correspond to selected chapters in the textbook, Electronic Commerce, 11th Edition, by Gary P. Schneider.There will be additional readings made available through GMU's Digital Library, including articles from the ACM and IEEE Digital Libraries, and supplemental material presented during class sessions.

  1. E-commerce Concepts
  2. E-commerce Business Models
  3. E-commerce Infrastructure
  4. E-commerce Web Technology
  5. E-Commerce Security, Encryption and Payment Systems
  6. E-Commerce Marketing & Advertising
  7. E-Commerce Social and Mobility Characteristics
  8. E-Commerce Ethics & Political Issues

Required Textbook:
Electronic Commerce, 11th Edition, by Gary P. Schneider.
There will be assignments from the textbook; digital copies are available.
Student resources from textbook are here.

Course dates: Thursday, August 29  through Thursday December 20 (No class on Thanksgiving Day, Nov 24)
Location: Innovation Hall, Room 134
Meeting day & time: Thursdays, 7:20pm to 10:00pm. Please arrive at class on time. We will start on time, have a short break in the middle of each class session, and will finish not later than 10:00pm.

Blackboard: All assignments, class announcements, schedules, files and presentations will use Blackboard.

Instructor Information: John D. McDowall, Ph.D. (GMU 2015)

Professor's email:
In the Subject line of your email, use the prefix INFS640;
For example:  Subject: INFS640: Question about Assignment #1

CS Office location: Nguyen Engineering Building, Room 4300 (see administrator)

Office hours: Call or email for appointments.

Phone: 703-346-5181 (Okay to call at any time and leave message on voice mail)

Teaching Assistant (TA): None

Grading Policy
Student grades will be determined based on class participation, assignments, research paper review, research paper, and final exam.

Grade Component Weight
Class participation (in class and online discussions) 10%
Assignments 30%
eComerce Project  30% 
Final Exam 30% 

Grading guidelines: Note that some assignments are evaluated subjectively:

A: means consistently above and beyond the course/assignment requirements
B: means meets and occasionally exceeds the course/assignment requirements
C: means minimally meets the course/assignment requirements
F: means fails to meet the course/assignment requirements

Some assignment components are evaluated objectively:

A  : 95-100%
A- : 90-95%
B+ : 85-90%
B  : 80-85%
C  : 70-80%

Honor Code
All work performed in this course will be subject to GMU's Honor Code. Students are expected to do their own work in the course unless a group project is approved by the instructor. In papers and project reports, students are expected to write in their own words, rather than cutting-and-pasting from sources found on the Internet. When you do cite material from books, articles, and the Web, enclose the material in quotes and provide a reference. If a paragraph is used then it should be indented in the text (both left and right margins).

Format: PDF is preferred, but I will accept: plain text, HTML, StarOffice/OpenOffice, Open Document Format, MS Office. Upload all assignments to Blackboard.

Style: Research papers should follow either the IEEE or ACM format and use the Chicago Manual of Style for guidance on citation style, usage, etc. (If you prefer a hard-copy reference, don't buy the big CMS.  See the smaller A Manual for Writers by Kate Turabian). The easiest way to manage references and source citations is to use a citation manager such as Zotero.

Student programming projects must adhere to the CS Honor Code.

There a several Computer Labs available for general use by IT&E students, which are located on the Fairfax campus.  For more information go to the web site at

Class Participation: Contribute to the in-class discussions, participate in online discussion topics posted on Blackboard. Some online discussion topics might be selected for grading.

Other Notes