MD253/MK252 - Electronic Commerce
Spring 2006

Professor:  John Gallaugher  E-Mail:
Class Time: Mon/Wed, 4:30-5:45 Class Location: Fulton 117 
Office: Fulton 352B
Secretary/Mailbox in Fulton 350
or simply
Office Hrs. Thurs. 1:30 PM - 3:30 PM  & by appt. Office Phone: 617-552-2519

Note: podcasts for this course are available at: and via iTunes.

Required Readings:

Other Requirements: Optional Materials Course Overview & Objectives:

It is impossible to ignore the importance of electronic commerce in the contemporary managerial environment. Internet facilitated electronic commerce accounts for billions of dollars in transactions, while trillions more regularly pulse through the veins of non-Internet electronic commerce systems.  Electronic commerce lies at the forefront of modern marketing and strategic management, altering the competitive landscape for large and small corporations alike. The Internet and new media are reshaping industries, creating new opportunities, and challenging existing commercial models and relationships. Managers will need to understand the underpinnings of electronic commerce in order to make informed decisions about the future their firms and industries. Using a managerial perspective, this course focuses on key issues related to e-commerce including strategy development, competitive advantage, current and emerging technologies, pricing, distribution channels, promotion, and advertising.


Expect to work hard and learn a lot.  You should expect the course to be interesting, rigorous, challenging, fun, and valuable!  Students should treat class obligations as they would any other business commitment.  The class environment is informal but is also one of mutual respect.  It is expected that all students will attend all classes, arrive on time and prepared, and actively participate in discussions.  Be prepared to discuss assigned readings throughout the semester - most items in the reading list have questions that can help guide and focus your reading.  It will help you to prepare and review answers to these questions prior to arriving at class.  Arriving late is a disruption - please show your classmates the courtesy of minimizing such disruptions by being on time and turning off cell-phones. Students may use laptops in class, but in-class use for work outside of class (including, but not limited to e-mail, chat, web-browsing, and preparing assignments during classtime) is prohibited. Active participation in class is mandatory and questions are welcome and encouraged.  Your collective experiences are substantial and valuable to others, so don't be shy about sharing!  Occasionally, to keep us focused and on topic, I may request that a topic be handled outside class or will post a related article in the optional Week in Geek readings (WiG).  It is your responsibility to seek out the professor if you have additional questions or need further clarification on class topics and assignments.  Time will be made for all questions, however students who wait until the last minute may not be given priority.


Grades earned will be determined by two in-class, closed book, closed notes exams and a group project.  In addition, the class will collectively provide input on truly outstanding contributors to class.  The top students in combined student/instructor ratings will receive up to a 10% bonus of their end-of-class point total (top contributor gaining 10% bonus, last student rated in the top 10% getting a 1% bonus).  Details on student peer evaluation will be provided later in the semester.  Students who successfully complete all hands-on technology assignments on time and who participate in class will have their final grade determined by the weighting scheme below.

Exam I March 1, 2006 40%
Exam II
May 8, 2006
Group Project
May 1 & 3, 2006
NOTE: check BC exam schedule to confirm before making travel plans)
Class participation (including the timely completion of any assignments and effective preparation for all of our class meetings) is a basic expectation for all.  Students failing to meet this expectation may see their final grades substantially lowered.  We may hold at least one guest-speaker talk outside normal class hours.  Speaker, time, and location details will be provided when this talk is confirmed.  Every student able to make the talk should attend.  An effort will be made to video tape any lecture outside class hours for those few students unable to attend.  All lectures delivered by guest speakers are 'fair game' for the exams.


Exams are always closed book, closed notes.  The exams are comprehensive and will test your recall-level knowledge of managerial concepts, strategic frameworks, technologies, as well as issues and examples highlighted in the readings and covered in class.  Posession of knowledge will be critical to your career - one rarely has an opportunity to 'go back and look it up' when faced with an interview, an internal meeting, or a client presentation and students regularly write back that this level of training has been of great help in their careers.  Format of the exams is usually a combination of short answer, brief essay, multiple choice, and true/false questions   Roughly one week before exams a web page will be posted where students will send in their suggestions of five rigorous, challenging questions (with answers) to be considered for possible inclusion on exams.  These questions are not distributed prior to the exam, but question submission allows for students to be active participants in establishing the evaluation criteria used in class.  And if your question(s) are selected you should (hopefully) get those answers correct!  Rather than 'thinking up' questions at the last minute, many students keep running list of their potential exam submission questions during the semester, then choose their 'best' questions when the submission page is posted.

Class Participation:

Students are expected to attend all classes, to arrive on time, and to have completed all assigned reading prior to attending class.  Be prepared to discuss readings and cases in detail - you may be called upon to share your insights. Examine the course schedule ahead of time and notify the instructor immediately if you cannot make a particular date or assignmentDo not schedule any interviews or trips at times exams or presentations are held. Do not bring doctors notes or any other excuses to me.  Only excuses certified by the Dean's Office will be accepted.  If something bad happens which requires your immediate attention, notify the Dean's Office immediately and have that office notify the faculty.


Teams of students will develop and present an analysis of an industry or market segment impacted by electronic commerce..  The exercise will mimic an activity that many of you will perform during your careers.  If done well, this project should be one that you learn a great deal from, are proud of, and are eager to discuss during job interviews.  Some of you may even be inspired to seek employment in the segments that you study.

Your group project grade will largely be based on a presentation made to the class that will be graded (in part) and ranked by your other class members.  By April 27 th, your group will post a three-page executive summary of your analysis to your group's web site.  Your peers and instructor will read the executive summary prior to your presentation.  Presentations are to be no more than 15 minutes in length, followed by a brief question & answer period.  Presentations will be scheduled during scheduled final exam time.  The body of the web-posted summary must not exceed three printed pages (it is, after all, an executive summary).  Bibliographic references are to be posted in a separate web-based document. You may also include additional supporting material if appropriate. Additional material is not required, nor are student graders required to investigate beyond the 3 page executive summary, however some groups have provided additional material on their web sites in order to create a more persuasive argument for their analysis.  Any presentation materials (such as PowerPoint slides) should be posted to the group's web site within 24 hrs. of the presentation.  Each team will get a copy of peer feedback after the final exam.  Everyone is required to submit one confidential evaluation for each of the other teams.  Exact procedures for project evaluation and grading will be posted to the 'projects' section of the course website.

Also, each member of the project team will be asked to submit a brief performance review of the other team members.  Using these evaluations, a weight will be assigned to each individual's team grade.  Dysfunctional teams and non participating team members will suffer lower grades.  Non-participative group members will receive a zero grade.

Computer Use & Academic Integrity:

Students are expected to comply with the Boston College Computer Use Policy. A copy of this policy is available at

Any and all references to published work must be explicitly made in the group project materials (references and supplementary exhibits are not counted as part of the 3 page maximum on the executive summary).  While it is recommended and encouraged that you consult outside sources, study together, and bounce ideas off one another, all individual and team work must be the sole creation of the individual or team submitting the material.  Team evaluations are meant to be confidential.  Collusion in the evaluation process or misrepresentation of one's identity (in written or electronic form) will be considered cheating.  Cheating, copying the work of others, talking during exams, or any other breach of academic or computing policy will be pursued with the utmost seriousness.  These actions will result in a grade of 'F' and referral to the Integrity Board of the Carroll School of Management for further action. There will be no exceptions made to this policy. Infractions will be dealt with swiftly and severely.

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last modified: April. 25, 2006
© Copyright 1997-2006, John M. Gallaugher, Ph.D.