e-Business and Distributed Computing Handbook

Instructor Corner

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The following paragraphs describe how to offer courses through this material (mostly taken from the  book preface). For additional details and sample course outlines,  click here

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How To Offer Courses Through this Material

This handbook is based primarily on the knowledge gained from my active work experience in the government, manufacturing, and telecommunications industries since the early 1980s. My work has mainly revolved around distributed systems (my core background) with several large scale projects in system integration, networks, client-server systems, web-based applications, ecommerce/ebusiness, mobile computing, data warehouses/data mining, emerging middleware platforms, and  data management in heterogeneous environbments. At the same time, I have been teaching graduate level courses in distributed systems, ecommerce/ebusiness, web technologies, and wireless/broadband  networks (no wonder I am so tired!). The organization and level of discussion in this handbook  has been largely influenced by the courses that I have developed and taught for several years.   This material has been  used in academic courses, in corporate training,  as a self learning tool, and as a reference.

The handbook is organized in modules that can be purchased separately to offer courses that concentrate on different aspects of eBusiness applications, the enabling technologies, the management and support issues, and/or a mixture thereof (see Figure 2). While designing courses, please keep the following in mind:

  • There is a great deal of material (more than 30 chapters, most chapters are about 50 pages long) in this handbook
  • On the average, one chapter can be finished in one week (3 hours of instruction). Thus one module roughly equates to 4 weeks of instruction (each module has about 4 chapters).
  • You can teach a complete course by using four modules of this handbook or can use one or two modules to augment/supplement other text books in an existing course (see examples below)

.

Figure 2: Possible Course Tracks

I have developed and taught three main courses(with variants) that cover a possible "Architectures and Intergration of IS" Track in Information Systems Programs. The purpose of this track is to prepare the students in the technical as well as management aspects of building new and dealing with existing systems in eBusiness environments. This is a crucial area of preparation that is not being paid adequate attention (see the sidebar on next page on this topic). The courses are described on the next pages (see Figure 3 for interdependencies)

Course 1, 2 and 3 are the main courses that I have developed and taught several times and that have directly influenced the handbook content. As indicated in Figure 3, these three courses are second level courses that assume some IS/IT background. Course 3 serves as a good capstone course and synthesizes several topics.To fit different audiences with different backgrounds and needs, I have also combined some of these courses into fast paced courses a few times. For example, I have taught Course 4 as a combination of Course 2 and 3. I have also combined Course 1 and 3 into Course 5 -- a very fast paced capstone course. Course 4 and 5 are shown as circles in Figure 3.  I am starting to post selected courses that are being taught from this handbook as they become available. Some of these courses are using different Modules of this handbook in an interesting manner. For example, a supply chain management course used the "Applications" and the "Platforms" Modules, a software engineering course used the "Architectures" and "Integration" Modules, a security course used the "Management" Module, a wireless networks course used the "Network" Module, and several client/server computing courses have used the "Middleware" Module.






These courses are briefly discussed below. For additional details and sample outlines of these courses,  click here
 

Course 1: eBusiness/eCommerce Systems -- Applications and Technologies. I have developed and taught this course almost 10 times since 1998 in schools of business and engineering. The prerequisite is basic IT concepts. An overview or business strategies course on eCommerce is recommended as a pre or corequisite. The course starts with a review of eBusiness strategies and application models and then discusses the enabling technologies that are specific to eCommerce and eBusiness. Examples of the topics include CRMs, portals, ERPs, ASPs, web and XML, web-based platforms for e-ommerce, B2B trade, mobile applications, XML standards for EC/EB, security, and management considerations for ecommerce. The course starts with the "Applications" Module and then relies heavily on "Platforms" Module for EC/EB platforms. It also draws upon web and XML discussions in the "Middleware" and "Tutorials" Modules. This course can also be taught under the following titles:

  • eCommerce/eBusiness -- A Technical Perspective
  • eCommerce/eBusiness Applications and Technologies
  • Web Applications and Technologies

Course 2 (Networks and Distributed Systems). I have been teaching this course since 1986 under the general heading of "Distributed Systems". In contrast to Course1, this course exclusively concentrates on the infrastructure (networks and middleware) needed to support the applications and thus relies heavily on the "Networks" and "Middleware" Modules (obviously!). The course covers the core aspects of web technologies that are common to many applicattion domains, including ecommerce and ebusiness. The "Tutorialsí Module can be used to augment technical background of students in object orientation, distributed objects, and databases. This course has also been taught under the following headings:

  • Internet and the Web Technologies
  • Modern distributed systems
  • Networks and IT infrastructure for eBusiness
  • Client/server environments or Object-oriented client/server Internet environments
  • Networks and middleware for modern enterprises

Course 3 (Enterprise Architectures and Integration). I have taught this course since 1999, with slight modifications, as a capstone course at different universities in the eCommerce/eBusiness programs. In addition, I have taugfht this course as part of corporate training to bewildered managers. This course relies on the eBusiness Applications oriented material (i.e., Applications, Architectures, and Integration Modules) and also uses the "Middleware" Module as refernce material. Since academic programs in EC/EB are still being developed at the time of this writing, this course can be taught with titles such as the following:

  • eBusiness Architectures and Integration
  • Enterprise Application Integration
  • Modern Distributed Information Systems
  • Application Engineering/Re-engineering
  • Software engineering for eBusiness and Ecommerce.

Course 4: Web Technologies, Protocols, and Applications. This is a combination of Course 2 and 3 that I have developed and taught in the Telecommunication Engineering Program at the University of Pennsylvania. This technical course introduces the main concepts of Web technologies with special emphasis on the interrelationships between Internet and the web. It basically is taught in three sections: the web technology section, the web applications section, and the web engineering section that looks at interrelationships between IP and HTTP, and addresses web traffic engineering issues. The course relies on outside material but uses the Middleware and Architectures Modules.

Course 5: eBusiness and 3G Distributed Systems. This is a combination of Course 1 and 3 to serve as a fast-paced synthesis course. It discusses eBusiness from a distributed systems point of view and shows how the EB applications can be architected and integrated by using the modern IT infrastructure. The course consists of four parts: EB applications, enabling IT infrastructure, architectures, and integration and covers some chapters of the Applications, Middleware, Platforms, Architectures, and Integration Modules.

Course 6: e-Business Security for Managers. I have taught this course twice. It covers the technical as well as administrative aspects of security and information assurance that are vital to IS management. The course starts with management issues with an overview of security principles and techniques that are needed to address the corporate security requirements. It then shows how the security technologies and approaches can be used to build a security architecture at an enterprise level. Topics include Internet security, Web security, application security, database security, wireless and mobile computing security, information assurance in web environments, and other emerging cyber information issues.

Table 1 shows what chapters were discussed in what courses. There is some obvious overlap between these courses to re-inforce the basic ideas and to synchronize student preparation. The extent of coverage can be adjusted and new material can be added, if needed. The course outlines are given on the next page.
 

"Architectures and Intergration of Information Systems " Track

Increased demands for flexibility, pressures to respond quickly to market conditions, intense local and global competition, and continued business process re-engineering and improvement for enterprise efficiency are the typical characteristics of modern enterprises. To meet this demand, IS professionals of today and tomorrow must be able to architect new systems and integrate these systems with existing (in some cases, legacy) systems. Architectures and integrations involve issues at several levels; business level (e.g., business process re-engineering), application level (e.g., enterprise application integration), middleware level (e.g., use of middleware plaatforms to architect and integrate applications), and network level (e.g., network architectures and interconnectivity, integration of wireless with wirelined networks). 

IS programs need to train students in this crucial area. Instead of multiple courses on one topic (e.g., databases), courses should emphasize synthesis of concepts, tools, and techniques across disciplines. The following diagram shows a suggested sequence of courses for this track. The courses are described in this preface. 


 



 
 

Table 1: Chapters Discussed in The Courses

 

Handbook Chapters 

(Abbreviated Titles) 

Course 1

EB App. & Tech.

Course 2

Network & Dist systems

Course 3

Arch. & Integration

Course 4

Web Tech.

Course 5

EB & 3G

Distrib. Systems 

MODULE (OVERVIEW): 

Chapter 1: eBusiness & 3G Distributed Systems 

Chapter 2: Case Studies and Examples

X

O

X

O

O

O

 

O

O

MODULE (APPLICATIONS):

Chapter 1: eBusiness- Strategies & Applications 

Chapter 2: eBusiness Applications 

Chapter 3: Application (Re)Engg Methodology 

Chapter 4: Enabling IT Infrastructure Overview

X

X

X

X

 

X

X

X

O

 

X

X

X

X

MODULE (ARCHITECTURES): 

Chapter 1: Solution Architecture Overview 

Chapter 2: Enterprise Application Architectures

Chapter 3: Enterprise Data Architectures 

Chapter 4: Architecture Implementation 

 

 

X

X

X

X

X

X

X

X

X

O

O

MODULE (INTEGRATION)

Chapter 1: Integration Overview

Chapter 2: Enterprise Application Integration

Chapter 3: Data Warehouses and Data Mining 

Chapter 4: Migration Strategies & Technologies

 

 

X

X

X

X

 

X

X

O

O

MODULE (NETWORKS):

Chapter 1: Principles of Comm. Networks 

Chapter 2: Network Architectures & Connectivity 

Chapter 3: Wireless and Broadband Networks 

Chapter 4: IP-based Networks and the Internet

 

X

X

X

X

 

 

 

MODULE (MIDDLEWARE)

Chapter 1: Basic Middleware Principles 

Chapter 2: Web, XML, Web Services

Chapter 3: CORBA, J2EE, .NET, SOAP, & EJBs 

Chapter 4: Enterprise Data & Transaction Mgmt

O

X

O

X

X

X

X

O

O

X

X

X

X

X

X

X

O

MODULE (PLATFORMS): 

Chapter 1: Mobile Application Servers

Chapter 2: Ecommerce Platforms for C2B Trade 

Chapter 3: B2B Platforms and Standards 

Chapter 4: Application Servers & Multimedia 

X

X

X

X

 

 

X

X

X

X

X

X

X

O

MODULE (MANAGEMENT):

Chapter 1 eBusiness Management Overview 

Chapter 2: Network and Systems Management

Chapter 3: Security Management 

Chapter 4: Security solutions

X

X

X

O

X

X
 
 

O

 

 

MODULE (TUTORIALS): 

Chapter 1: Network Technologies Overview

Chapter 2: Object-Orientation, Java, and UML 

Chapter 3: Database Technologies and SQL 

Chapter 4: Web Engineering & XML Processing 

Chapter 5: CORBA -- A Closer Look 

O

O

O

X

X

O

X
 
 

X

X

 

Legend:

X = Required (covered extensively), O = Optional (overview, may be assigned for background reading)

The last two columns show the courses that are a combination of Course 1, 2 and 3. For example, Course 4 is a combination of Course 2 and 3; Course 5 is a combination of Course 1 and 3.