Course Syllabus

Please note that the specifics of this Course Syllabus are subject to change. Instructors will notify students of any changes and students will be responsible for abiding by them. Even if you print this syllabus, please check the online version often.


IST 440W: Information Sciences and Technology Integration and Problem Solving (3 credits) - Problem-based approach to technology integration by focusing on real-life problems faced by an organization.

This course is the undergraduate capstone for Information Sciences and Technology majors in the Baccalaureate degree. This course requires students to work collaboratively. Each group is given a significant real-world problem or issue in which information technology is part of the solution. Groups will be expected to manage the project effectively and to communicate its results clearly to a variety of audiences within an organization. Major topics include: review of problem-based and case-based learning, overview of project management practices, assessment of organizational and technical issues posed by the scenario, development and testing of work plans and analysis of options, communication within the group, communication within a management environment, and presentation of results to a variety of audiences inside and outside the organization.

IST students need to understand the organizational and social contexts in which technology functions. Indeed, many technology problems are multi-dimensional--they have an economic dimension, a legal dimension, a human resources dimension, and so on. This course will require students to analyze, evaluate, and test alternative solutions and to weigh their advantages and disadvantages for the organization.

Students will be evaluated in three ways: by the effectiveness of their group's solution of the technical or organizational problem, by the quality of the students' written presentations/solutions, and by the quality of their project management and internal communication. At least nine credits (including at least one IST 300-level and one IST 400-level course) in the student's option must be completed before enrollment in IST 440W. 

Course Approach

The sources of information for this course are the readings, videos, and outside research. Projects will consist of group assignments. 


  • ENGL 202C or ENGL 202D
  • Seventh-semester standing (this course is intended for fourth-year students) and the five common course requirements plus at least three of the required courses in an option.


Upon completion of this course, the student will be able to:

  • Use systems theory to analyze IT-based challenges of people, software, and hardware.
  • Identify methods of organizing work to aid in IT development and integration.
  • Compare and contrast different forms of information systems and development approaches.
  • Develop project management, analytical, technical skills to develop system integration plans, and complete data integration tasks.
  • In conjunction with a group, develop, and complete an appropriate information technology project.


  • TBD

Please note that when you compose an email to your instructor, others will likely be listed as "Teachers" from the Canvas interface. This is misleading because only your instructor, possibly TA/LA's listed here, are monitoring your messages. All of your course communications should be limited to those listed here.


Recommended, but not required, group members should consult this text or similar for additional material on the systems development life cycle and related terms:

  • Shelly & Rosenblatt (12th ed. 2019) (OPTIONAL) Systems Analysis and Design. Cengage Learning. ISBN 9780357117811.

Assignments & Grading

Course Grading Breakdown
Grading Category Total
Initial Class Participation 2%
Initial Quizzes 4%
PDR 7%
Progress Reports 12%
Design Specifications 32%
Evaluations 13%
Solution 30%
TOTAL 100%

Course Grading Scale

The following are minimum cutoffs for each grade:

  • 93.00% = A
  • 90.00% = A-
  • 87.00% = B+
  • 83.00% = B
  • 80.00% = B-
  • 77.00% = C+
  • 70.00% = C
  • 60.00% = D
  • less than 60.00% = F


A note about evaluations in this course: they are worth 13% of your final grade. Completion of each of the peer reviews will be based on your instructor's interpretation of the data from the peer evaluations, general observations throughout the course of the semester, and sub-sequential assignment of points.

Course Policies and Expectations

  • Stay in constant contact with your group throughout the semester.
  • Logging into Canvas - Students are expected to log in regularly to check for course updates, announcements, emails, discussions, etc.
  • Emailing through Canvas - Students are expected to use Canvas for all course email communication.
  • Attending virtual meetings - Students are expected to use specified virtual meeting tool(s) for collaboration, meetings, presentations, etc., as needed.

Academic Integrity

Penn State and the College of Information Sciences and Technology are committed to maintaining Penn State's policy on Academic Integrity in this and all other courses. We take academic integrity matters seriously and expect you to become a partner to the University/College standards of academic excellence.

For more information, please review these policies and procedures:

While utilizing additional sources outside of this class is encouraged for gaining a better understanding of course concepts, seeking explicit answers for graded assignments from outside sources (e.g. Course Hero, Chegg, tutoring services like, etc.) is considered CHEATING and will not be tolerated. Sanctions range from failure of the assignment or course to dismissal from the University. Additionally, sharing course content without permission is a violation of copyright and may result in university sanctions and/or legal ramifications. Contact your instructor with questions related to this topic. 

University Policies

Review current information regarding various Penn State policies (such as copyright, counseling, psychological services, disability and military accommodations, discrimination, harassment, emergencies, trade names, etc.) on the University Policies page.

Penn State takes great pride to foster a diverse and inclusive environment for students, faculty, and staff. Acts of intolerance, discrimination, or harassment due to age, ancestry, color, disability, gender, gender identity, national origin, race, religious belief, sexual orientation, or veteran status are not tolerated and can be reported through Educational Equity via the Report Bias webpage (


Find extensive information and links to many Penn State and IST resources (including the Penn State libraries, video conferencing tools, technology and software, writing and research help, and much more) on the Resources page.

Technical Requirements

Standard World Campus computer technical specifications are assumed for this course. Please test your computer for requirements. In addition, a webcam and a headset with a microphone are REQUIRED for the course. These may be used for virtual meetings, virtual office hours, interactions with classmates and your instructor, and group presentations - which are all conducted with virtual meeting tools. No special software is required.


The following schedule outlines the topics covered in this course, along with the associated time frames, readings, activities, and assignments. All due dates reflect Eastern Time (ET). Specifying the time zone ensures that all students have the same deadlines, regardless of where they live.

Course Summary:

Date Details Due