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MSIS 491 -- Winter, 2000
Electronic Commerce

Dr. Vicki L. Sauter

Office: 226 CCB

Telephone: 516-6281

Secretary: Ms. Dena Will, 211 CCB

Secretary's Telephone Number: 516-6267

FAX: 516-6827

Mailbox: 210 CCB
(generally open 8 am - 5 pm, Monday - Friday)

Electronic Address:

Home Page:

Office Hours:

MW 3:45 - 4:15 pm
MW 6:00 - 6:30 pm
or by SCHEDULED appointment

General Information

UMSL Computer Users Rights and Responsibilities:

Computing Information:

Computer Lab Information:

Library Information:

Virtual Library:

UMSL Home Page

Turban, E., J. Lee, D. King and H.Michael Chung, Electronic Commerce: A Managerial Perspective, Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice-Hall, 2000.

Huff, S.L., M. Wade, M. Parent, S. Schneberger and P. Newson, Cases in Electronic Commerce, Boston: Irwin McGraw-Hill, 2000.

Standage, T., The Victorian Internet, New York: Walker and Company, 1998 (recommended).

Supplemental Materials

This Syllabus

DSS Current Page


Web Help

JAVA Script Help

Student Information Form

Group Evaluation Form

Prerequisite MSIS 480: Management Information Systems

Semester Goals In this course, students will examine critical information technologies that provide a basis for electronic commerce, and their application in a variety of sectors and industries. It will begin with coverage of the tools, skills and business concepts that surround the emergence of electronic commerce and the consequences of applying these information technologies to different commercial processes from both an operational and strategic perspective. We will also explore several of the problems surrounding electronic commerce such as security, privacy, content selection and rating, intellectual property rights, authentication, encryption, acceptable use policies, and legal liabilities.


Due Dates: Due dates are listed for each project. In each case, the assignment is due at the end of the class period on the due date. Late assignments will receive a 4 points per (calendar) day (or fraction thereof) late penalty.

Length: All assignments must be typed (or word-processed) and must be double-spaced; use page numbers. Margins must be at least one inch (1") on all sides. Staple assignments in upper left corner; do not provide folders with your work. Where page estimates are specified, they are gauged at a font size of 11; students using a larger font should assume their texts can be about one-third longer. I will quit reading at the end of the page restriction. Hence, if your main point occurs after the maximum number of pages for the assignment, it will be lost.

Format: Not only will I grade on the basis of the content of the material, but also the presentation of the material. I expect the writing to be of the caliber of college graduates; I expect good grammar and accurate spelling.

Individual Assignments

1. Purchase something over the 'net: Purchase an item over the net using your credit card. Best candidates for small purchase: a CD (e.g., CDnow or 1-800-music-now) or a book (e.g., Amazon) or software (e.g, Stream or Cybersource or Internet Shopping Network or atOnce). Or participate in the wave of the future -- an electronic auction (e.g., Onsale). Or, if you enjoy good grape, one of the classic web sites: Virtual vinyards. Write a description of the experience and a short critique. Develop a set of criteria to assess what you encountered. In summary state whether or not you will use the site and/or the Internet (for shopping) again.

Due Date: January 31 / January 26
Length: maximum of 2 pages plus some verification of purchase

2. Create a Web Page: Develop or enhance your Web Page. For this assignment, you will create a personal home page, and put it up on the World Wide Web (WWW).
Your page must have a theme that is displayed in the background, icons and layout of the page. You must include at least two images or graphics on your home page. You may either copy the image to your html directory, or you may create a direct link to the image's original site.
You must also include one or more tables in the design of your page.
You must include a link to the next person in the MSIS 491 chain and to the chain as a whole (more information about this will be provided later).
Your home page must have a title (what the browser displays at the top of the window). I suggest you call it Home Page of <your name>, but you can use any title.
The page must include some basic information about you, and some links to sites related to you and your interests, and must include something interesting about yourself.
The body of the personal home page should have your name and e-mail address. Make use of the available headings to give a professional appearance to your page. The e-mail address should include a "hot link," so that any person with proper settings in their browser should be able to send you a message directly from your home page. Also include a form that allows readers to provide some structured feedback about a topic of interest to you.
Secondly, you will have a section describing yourself. You might entitle it "About Me." In this section you should include links to the WWW page for this class, the IS Area, the College of Business Administration and the University of Missouri - St. Louis. State your education background, and include a link to other colleges and universities you have attended. If you are employed, state where you work, and include a link to the company home page if it exists. You may then include any additional information you would like to share with us (remembering that the page can be accessed by anyone in the world). If there are sites related to this information, include a link to them.
Another section will include information about your interests, hobbies, etc.; you might entitle it "My Interests and Favorite Links." Search the Web and find pages which relate to your interests. You must include at least four more links of your choice.
Another section will include information about your professional interests. This might be technological pages you believe to be interesting. Or, it might include information of interest to your current employer, job or industry. You must include at least four more links in this area.
You are free to add more and make your page more interesting and "cool."
Your personal home page file should be named "index.htm" or "index.html." If you created the page in Windows, you will need to transfer it to the html directory on your Admiral account. This directory is the public directory. You can do this transfer using the FTP program demonstrated in class. However, remember that every time you make changes to your page in Windows, you must transfer the page again to your Admiral account.

After you create your home page, ensure that all of the links are working properly. Once your page has passed the final quality check, send me an email message providing me with the location of your page. On or before the due date, print a copy of your home page and turn it in.

Due Date: February 7 / February 2

3. Business Resource Page: Develop a business web-page that looks at information gathered from the web focusing on a particular type of business (a resource guide for that type of business). This assignment is designed to familiarize you with the effective use of search engines on the web. The resource page should include links to appropriate sites with a descriptive statement regarding the site as a resource. The guide must link to at least 10 resources. The resource guide can focus on a particular industry, product or country. The choice must be approved by me. Your page will be linked to the class Resource Guide.

After you create your page, ensure that all of the links are working properly. Once your page has passed the final quality check, send me an email message providing me with the location of your page, and link it to your home page. On or before the due date, print a copy of your home page and turn it in.

Due Date: February 14 / February 9

4. Discuss the integration of e-commerce and WWW site advertising with mainstream advertising and commercials: Identify 2 companies, and their respective commercials they use for a product. Each commercial used (TV/radio commercial, newspaper or magazine ad, or billboard) should have the company's web site clearly identified. (Example: Ford TV commercial, and at the end of the commercial it shows Provide a copy of the "commercial." If the "commercial" is a newspaper or magazine ad, then include a copy of the ad. If the "commercial" is a billboard or TV/radio commercial, write a description of the salient issues.

Go to the web sites and view them. See if the information on the web site relates to the commercial, or maybe the web site is just a general site for the whole company. Find out of the product advertised in the commercial is similarly described in the web site. Explain, in each case, if the mention of the web site is helpful to the commercial, or not necessarily helpful.

Print out the first page of each web site, and include it with your commercial (see paragraph one). Discuss how the two forms of advertising complement one another. Make sure you clearly identify in your covering note what company and what product goes with which URL.

Due Date: March 8 / March 13
Length: maximum of 2 pages/company plus documentation (web page, ad, etc.)

Group Assignments

Students will work in groups of 3-5, which will be created randomly by the instructor. However, she will take into account students' preferences for group members. No later than January 24, each individual must email the instructor with a list of names of individuals with whom he or she does want to work and a list of names of individuals with whom he or she would prefer not to work. Groups should be announced no later than January 26.

1. Case Discussion: Each group will lead a class discussion on one of the cases identified in the syllabus.

Due Date: see schedule at the end of syllabus
Maximum: 15 minute discussion

2. Web Page Evaluation: Explore three commercial Web pages in a particular industry or segment. Complete the Home Page Evaluation sheet for each and provide a critical appraisal of what you find at each site. This critique should include answers to at least the following questions.
What is the purpose of the company in developing the site?
Does the site convey a positive or useful message for the company?
Who is the intended audience?
What information content is provided?
What business model is the site following?
What functions are provided?
Does the company generate revenues from the site? How?
What costs are associated with generating those revenues?
Is the site well designed from the point-of-view of clarity, ease of use, speed of access?
How well does the company use design and layout features?
Is the site aesthetically pleasing?
What are the benefits of the structure provided by the company?
What does the company do to provide a competitive advantage?
What features supporting ecommerce (security, transaction management, information collection, navigation, search engine, site map, index, help, easily available policies) does the site support?
How broad is the coverage of the content?
What currency (ies) are accepted? How are they accommodated?
You might also consider the questions at (Questions to Analyze when Developing a Web-based Business)

Summarize what you have learned by examining the different sites. Consider the following questions.
Are the sites useful?
Are different strategies being employed?
Would you recommend any company's approach over the others?
How do you think these sites will evolve?
Can you develop a general framework that will help other companies in this industry design their Web sites?

Due Date: February 23 / February 28 (Presentations in class on date due)
Length: maximum 5 pages plus the evaluation sheets

3. Web Portal Evaluation: Explore a Web portal and/or community. Complete the Portal Evaluation sheet and provide a critical appraisal of what you find. Consider the issues discussed in the Web Page Evaluation (described previously). In addition, consider some of the questions regarding portals, including:
How does this virtual community generate revenue?
What are the critical factors in generating these revenues?
What types of companies or entrepreneurs are best suited to participate in this portal?
Additional specific issues to evaluate will be discussed later in the semester.

Due Date: March 20 / March 22 (Presentations in class on date due)
Length: maximum 5 pages plus the 3 evaluation sheets

4. Web Project
a. Create an Internet Business Plan (see information at for guidelines)
b. Implement that plan on the Web

While I support the use of real businesses as guinea pigs, keep this one point at the forefront of your mind - the University's servers cannot be used to conduct real business transactions or any other commercial uses. We are merely using our server to develop the sites. Any other use breaks our site license software agreements.

Due Date: last day of class; project will be accepted until May 3 without penalty; Presentations in last two class periods

The site must have the following features, at a minimum:
Company background page listing location of corporate headquarters or equivalent;
Business Policies, if transactions are conducted, including;
complete and easy to understand rate charges if the business provides a service
shipping policy and charges
tax policy
return policy
Privacy Policy
Security Statement
Issue at least one cookie
Use at least one form
Use at least one search feature
Use at least one image
Interact with a database in some form, such as
displaying records
querying records
collecting data and writing it to a database, this can be combined with the form requirement
Provide space for at least one banner advertising. (We will NOT use any banner exchange programs, as we do NOT want to draw "real" visitors to these simulation sites.)
Provide a webmaster e-mail function on each page

In designing your site, the following aesthetics must be considered:
Appropriate use of colors and contrasts
Appropriate amount of information on each page - do NOT clutter your pages
Appropriate use of images (so that load time is not too high)
Consistent corporate image throughout the site

Exams: There will only be a final exam.
Section G-01: May 8, 7:45 - 9:45 pm
Section G-02 : May 10, 7:45 - 9:45 pm

Make-up exams will be provided only if Dr. Sauter has been notified prior to the exam and if you have an acceptable reason for missing the exam. Under all other circumstances, a grade of zero (0) will be assigned.

Grading Policy The following proportions will be used for grading.

Net Purchase

3 %

Web Page

6 %

Business Resource Page

9 %

Integration Assignment

9 %

Case Discussion

7 %

Web Page Evaluation

13 %

Portal Evaluation

13 %

Site Development

20 %

Final Exam

20 %

Approximate letter grades will be assigned when exams and projects are returned. Students should remember, however, that the term average is a weighted average of the numerical grades, not an average of the approximate letter grades.

Drop Policy: For the purposes of this policy, the "effective drop date" is the date which I am informed of the drop or the actual date of the drop, which ever is later. Students can and may inform me by leaving me a note in my mailbox, leaving me a message (on voice mail or email) or by speaking to me in person or over the telephone.

A student may drop this class until February 25 with a passing grade. (Note the University policy states that you may drop until February 4 without receiving a grade; this policy is simply an extension of the University policy.) Between February 25 and April 7, a student will receive either a passing grade (excused) or a failing grade (F) depending upon his or her performance (current grade) in the course. A student may withdraw after April 7 only with and solely with the approval of the dean of his or her division. If you want to withdraw after this date, go directly to your dean; do not ask for my signature -- my signature is not needed and I will not provide it. Under no circumstance may a student drop this class after May 1, 2000.

Academic Honesty: According to the University Standard of Conduct, Section 6.0101,

The Board of Curators recognizes that academic honesty is essential for the intellectual life of the University. Faculty members have a special obligation to expect high standards of academic honesty in all student work.

Students have a special obligation to adhere to such standards.

For the purposes of this class, cheating will include: plagiarism (using the writings of another without proper citation), copying of another (either current or past student's work), working with another on individually assigned work or exams, unauthorized marking on a graded paper or exam, or in any other way presenting as one's own work that which is not entirely one's own work.

Any student who is caught cheating on any assignment or exam will receive a grade of zero (0) for that assignment or exam. Further, a recommendation will be made to the appropriate university officials that additional disciplinary action be taken.







E-Business and E-Commerce


Is this New?

History of the Internet


Projections for Development


Search Engines

What are they?

How do they work?

How do we take advantage of them?

3 - 5

Why Have a Web Presence?

2, 10

2 -Hong Kong (1/26;1/31)

Planning for a Web Presence

5-Job Net (2/9;2/14)

Designing an E-Commerce Presence

Intellectual Property

Acceptable Use

What's Behind the Graphics and Text?

6 - 7

Business to Consumer E-Business

3, 4

6- Internet Liquid (2/16;2/21)

Models of E-Business

8- MetroLife (3/1;3/6)

Coordinating with other aspects of business

Collecting Data

Using Data

Data Privacy and Security


Web Portals

What are they

Who uses them

Who affiliates with them

Designing them

9 - 10

Business to Business E-Business


9-Medisys (4/3;4/5)


10- Natl Libe (4/10;4/12)

Collecting Data

Using Data

Data Privacy and Security


Intranets: Business Within a Business


Designing them

Data Privacy and Security


Global Business Issues


13 - 14


* Approximate allocation of time to topics.

Student Information Form

MSIS 491 -- Winter, 2000 Section


Student ID Number:

Home Telephone Number:

Work Telephone Number:

Preferred E-Mail Address:

Do you have a Web Home Page now? No Yes
If yes, what is the URL? http://

Program (please select all that are relevant):
M.S. in MIS
MBA with MIS minor
M. Accounting
E-Commerce Certificate
Other please indicate your major

Hours to Graduation (not including this semester):

Current Occupation:

Intended Occupation:

Computer-Oriented Courses Taken (please list and indicate where and when you took them):

Computer-Oriented Experience:

What do you hope to learn in this class?

Describe your experiences in shopping via the Internet.

How good are your skills in surfing the Web?

How good are your skills in creating Web pages?

Do you have any handicaps of which I should be aware?

If yes, please specify:

Other information of which I should be aware:

Electronic Commerce
Class WebRing
site is owned by
Vicki Sauter

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