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 110: Information, People and Technology (3 credits) - The use, analysis and design of information systems and technologies to organize, coordinate, and inform human enterprises.


  • None


Information, People and Technology presents the high points of an education in the College of Information Sciences and Technology. It opens an intellectual journey through the ideas and challenges that IT professionals face in the world. It will address major questions such as: How can we use technology to organize and integrate human enterprises? How can technology help people and organizations adapt rapidly and creatively? What can we do about information overload?

Three perspectives (or facets) address the core issues: information, or the basic science of data encoding, transmission and storage; people, or the interactions among technologies, institutions, regulations and users; and technology, or the design and operation of basic information technology devices. Students completing the course will be confident users and consumers of information technology. Students will develop research and analytical skills to evaluate specific devices and understand how those devices function in larger socio-technical systems. Students will be able to predict and anticipate the impact of new technologies on human institutions as well as understand the potential impact of institutions on the use and design of information technologies.

The course employs an action-oriented approach. Students learn by doing—formulating and solving problems drawn from professional contexts, detecting and recovering from errors related to technology use, and locating, reading and studying materials that support their analysis and problem-solving. Students will accomplish this by participating in group-based learning. The course provides students with the opportunity to use, modify, and evaluate software to search for, frame, and express ideas with fluency. A variety of mechanisms are used to assess student performance. These evaluation methods typically include exams, quizzes, homework assignments, group projects, and peer and self-assessments.

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


  • TBD


  • This course is designed to be used with the COMPLETE edition of Visualizing Technology by Geoghan.

For this course, students may purchase the COMPLETE edition of the 6th, 7th, or 8th edition.  Just please make sure you are purchasing the COMPLETE edition and not the Introductory edition.   Any edition on the following list will be fine for this course. 

Purchase ONE of the following editions of the text: 

Geoghan, D. (2017). Visualizing Technology (6th ed.). NY, NY: Pearson. ISBN 978-0134608204.


Geoghan, D. (2018). Visualizing Technology (7th ed.). NY, NY: Pearson. ISBN 9780134816449.


Geoghan, D. (2019). Visualizing Technology (8th ed.). NY, NY: Pearson. ISBN 978-0135440902.


Assignments & Grading

Course Grading Breakdown
Grading Category Percentage of Final Grade
Chapter Quizzes 30%
Group Project 20%
'Your Choice' Individual Assignments 20%
Essays 15%
Discussion 10%
Peer Evaluations 5%
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:

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