UB University of Baltimore
Merrick School of Business

INSS315 - Information Technology
Spring 2014

 Tuesday 5:30- 8:00 PM every other week - BC 025
and on the Web  every other week.

Professor Al Bento

office BC 468 v-mail (410)837-5272
e-mail abento@ubalt.edu URL http://home.ubalt.edu/abento

Office hours: Thursdays 4:00 - 5:30 PM and TBA

[assignments] [ project][mid-term exam][final exam][outline] [SAKAI]


PCs were introduced over twenty years ago and are now a commodity. PCs are shipped to end users with little, or no, documentation for as little as $300. Most organizations restrict to the minimum what the users can setup in their PCs, for security an maintenance reasons. The rhythm of technology innovation has not slowed, however. Therefore, there is a pressing need to provide high quality PC systems support for end-users. One aim of this course is to provide an advanced foundation in information technology (IT) capable of enabling students to support IT users in selecting, acquiring, customizing, optimizing, maintaining and upgrading their IT hardware and system software (operating systems).

Another important aim of this course is to provide hands on knowledge of  Web 2.0 and Social Media.  Learning how to create a business blog in WordPress, add RSS feeds,  including  You Tube video, Flickr, Tweets, and a  Facebook page feeds are an integral part of  a semester long group  project  with well defined steps to be completed.  This is becoming a key area of IT system support for business.

Learning teamwork is an integral part of the course. No IT professional works all by him/ herself. On the contrary, she/he works constantly interfacing with users and other IT professionals. In this course, the assignments, the mid-term and final exams, are to be done individually. But the main semester long project is to be done in groups of 4 to 5 students. The ability to communicate verbally and orally is also a must for an IT professional. The groups will write reports and make presentations in some steps of the semester long project. Group discussions and contributions to the project should be documented in the SAKAI group Forum.

Understanding professional and ethical standards in IT systems support is a key component of the course. It is estimated that the software industry loses more than twenty billion dollars a year because of software "piracy" -- unauthorized copies of software. Since the Fall of 1992, violating copyright law is a felony (criminal justice case), not simply a civil justice case. An IT professional, specially working in IT systems support, should know and guarantee that business organizations, end-users and her/himself follow copyright laws, and stand for the highest levels of professionalism in the use of IT.

Specifically the course aims to enable each student to have the ability to:

  1. describe in detail the main PC hardware and system software, including graphical user interface (GUI) operating systems.
  2. diagnose malfunctions and bottlenecks related to PC hardware and system software, including GUI operating systems.
  3. perform PC hardware upgrades, including selecting new equipment (PCs, Laptops, Tablets), adding cards and peripheral devices, as applicable.
  4. create a Word Press blog for a business, add RSS feeds to this blog, and tweet about it.
  5. create a Facebook page for a business and connect it to their WordPress blog.
  6. describe operating systems structure, task and memory management, including multi-tasking GUI operating systems.
  7. create Virtual Machines to install guest operating systems, and describe Cloud Computing  as virtual servers and organizations.
  8. describe basic ethical and copyright law aspects as applied to IT, and IT system support.

The PCs studied in this course are based on Intel and AMD processors. The operating systems studied in this course are Windows 8, and Linux. This is neither an endorsement or recommendation of these products. Other processors (ARM) and operating systems (Android and iOS) will also be discussed in this course.


Class handouts will be available on the Web at the following address of the course syllabus: http://home.ubalt.edu/abento/315. The course syllabus will be linked to the class materials. You can see and print the class materials at the UB Labs, your office or home using a Web browser (Firefox, Internet Explorer, Chrome or similar).


Assignments (4) 20%
Semester-long Project  (5 steps) 30%
Mid-term Exam 20%
Final Exam 30%


Assignments are practical experiencial activities to be done individually to apply hardware and operating systems concepts.

Group selection

The project is to be done in group (3 to 4 students). I created the groups in SAKAI, please reply to the group you want to join with the subject "yourname joins group y." If a group already has 3 students join another group, if all groups have 3 students, select one to complete 4 in the group.

Grading of the semester long project

Your grade on the semester long project will depend upon the content, structure of the documentation, and the degree of professionalism demonstrated on its social media implementationof the project.  Each group will select an existing organization  to create a fictitious social media presence for this organization disguising its name and location.  The semester long project will have five different steps to be completed  and posted on the Web, each step will be grade individually.  In a first step you will prepare a presentation about the organization and  one  group member will post it in SAKAI.  In the other four steps  one  group member will post the  URL (Web page address) of the completed step  in the ASSIGNMENTS area of SAKAI corresponding to the project step.  The five steps of the project are:

  1. Create a  PowerPoint or Prezi presentation about the group selected organization 
  2. Create a WordPress blog for the selected organization
  3. Add RSS feeds, including a YouTube video  for the WordPress blog of the organization
  4. Create a Facebook page for the organization and link to the  WordPress blog of the organization
  5. Add micro-blogging (tweeter) and Flickr to the  WordPress blog of the organization 

Mid-Term exam

The mid-term exam will be an on-line multiple choice exam covering all topics discussed up to March 12, but excluding social media topics part of the semester long project. The exam opens March 13 morning and your individual answers are due  by the end of the day of March 14  in SAKAI. You can  submit your exam only once. You will have two hours to take the exam, save it (not post) as you go along. Each student will see a different random sequence of the same twenty questions in the exam, so that question 1 for one student may be question 13 for another, and so on.

Final exam

The final exam will be an in class, open book, multiple choice exam covering all topics discussed in the course after the Spring Break (again the social media topics part of the semester long project are not included in the exam). You can only submit your exam once. You will have two hours to take the exam, save it (not post) as you go along. Each student will see a different random sequence of the same twenty questions in the exam, so that question 1 for one student may be question 13 for another, and so on.



On reserve:

Day Topics Assignments
01/28 Course overview. Motherboard, CPU and memory (2,3,4,5,6). ARM Processors. RISC vs CISC in postPC era.   Introduce yourself (due 01/30) and group selection (due 02/03) in SAKAI
02/04 Web Class: Review of using PowerPoint up 2003 and for PowerPoint 2007. References: (a) Office tutorials for the Macs, and (b) PowerPoint for PCs by Act360 both for PowerPoint 97-2003 and 2007. Prezi a new way to do great presentations. Project step 1, due 02/10
02/11 How to create a Web page, your UB Web space and using Kompozer remotelyVideo display, cards, memoryDisplay aspect ratio (12) Assignment 1, due 02/17
02/18 Web Class:  Blogs and Using WordPress. [4, A] Project step 2, due 03/04

02/25 I/O interfaces, hard drives (7,9) and CDROM and DVD, sound boards (11,13) Scanners, flash drives, digital cameras, solid-state drives (10,14) and Storage buying guide, .  Assignment 2, due 03/11
03/04 Web Class: RSS feeds and Blogs [2,3,B]   Project step 3, due 03/24
03/11 Tablets and smartphonesMobile tutorials  ,   Laptops and Ultrabooks, and Apple TV vs Google TV then and now, Roku stick Mid-term on-line exam opens  03/13 due 03/14
03/18 Spring Break Spring Break
03/25 Web Class: Social networking: Facebook and Linkedin [6] Project step 4, due 04/08
04/01 Hypervisors: VirtualBox and VMware,    Windows 8 overview and Hardware Management.  Lab information, and overview of Assignment 3. Meets in MISLab. Assignment 3 due 04/14

04/08 Web Class:  Networking concepts and hardware (17)  
04/15 Linux overview, Lab information, and overview of Assignment 4. Meets in MISLab. Assignment 4 due 04/28

04/22 Web class:  Micro blogging and Media Communities [6,8] Project step 5, due 5/05
04/29  iOS and Android and Ethical aspects and copyright law 
05/06 Web class: Cloud Computing
05/13 Final exam Final exam
It is a good practice to print the class notes before coming to class.

This page is maintained by Al Bento who can be reached at abento@ubalt.edu. This page was last updated on October 15, 2013. Although we will attempt to keep this information accurate, we can not guarantee th accuracy of the information provided.