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 220: Networking and Telecommunications (3 credits) - Introduction to digital network topologies; transmission media, signal modulation, digital packet switching and routing, systems integration, communications management, and security.

Online IST 220 will provide students with a foundational knowledge of the telecommunications and networking industry, as well as the basic concepts inherent to the application of data communications and computer networks in a digital age. This course focuses on the design and development of data communication networks using problems and labs to facilitate student learning. The content provides an introduction to and history of data communications, an overview of different types of networks and network layers, and the future of the industry with a focus on the relationship to e-business and the digital global economy.


  • None


Upon completion of this course, students will be able to:

  • Introduce the role and application of data communication networks hardware and software.
  • Describe the network architectures, components, and other key terms associated with the physical layer.
  • Discuss the foundational concepts associated with data transmission.
  • Discuss networking terms and characteristics, motivations for networking, and the major network applications.
  • Implement multiple network designs.
  • Discuss LAN and WAN Hardware and Software alternatives and selection.
  • Describe LAN and WAN topologies, protocols, and transmission services.
  • Discuss WAN implementations and international and global networks.
  • Describe network interconnections, shared media technologies, and interconnection utilities.
  • Define network management issues, the operations of a network management system, and management tools.
  • Discuss the issues related to network security, error detection, backup systems, and recovery plans.
  • Identify future trends in data communications and networking.

Note: Individual lessons objectives come from the corresponding chapters in the course textbook.


  • TBD


  • FitzGerald, Dennis, Durcikova  (2018). Business Data Communications and Networking (13th ed.). Wiley.
  • This course may use a lab component which requires a minimal fee for usage. If so, your instructor will provide purchasing details in the course syllabus when the semester begins.

Assignments & Grading

Course Grading Breakdown
Grading Category Percentage of Final Grade
Assignments 30%
Group Project 30%
Quizzes 20%
Discussion 10%
Final Exam 10%
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

Course Policies and Expectations

  • Logging into Canvas - Students are expected to login 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:

WARNING: In addition to other policies, using any material in any media format - from “answer sites” (such Course Hero, Chegg, and all others) and/or other types of sources - is considered CHEATING and will not be tolerated. Sanctions range from failure of the assignment or course to dismissal from the University. 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.


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