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IST220.003 Networking and Telecommunications



Teaching Team

Instructor: Zihan Zhou

Office: E367 Westgate Building

Office Hours: 2:30-3:30pm Monday or by appointment


TA:  Lin (Christina) Tu

Prasanna Rangarajan

Office hour: 10:30-11:30am Thursday or by appointment

Location: Reese’s Café (Westgate building, 2nd floor)

Course Information

Course Number: IST 220

Credits: 3


  • Time: 1:25 - 2:15 PM Monday, Wednesday, Friday
  • Location: E203 Westgate Building


Required Textbook: Computer Networks and Internets, 6th Edition, Douglas E. Comer, Pearson

Course Description

IST 220 is an introduction to digital networking and telecommunications and their applications in information systems. It is a required core course for four-year Information Sciences and Technology degrees, and is a critical part of the curriculum. Its objective is to provide the students with a basic understanding of the working of digital networks and the ability to apply this knowledge to specific applications and situations.

Course Objectives

Upon completion of this course, each student should be able to:

  • Identify benefits and applications of computer networks;
  • Recognize key components of data communications and their roles in supporting data communications;
  • Plan, design, and build appropriate wired or wireless networks in given application contexts;
  • Evaluate and analyze organizational network architecture; and
  • Assess new telecommunications or network technologies and related applications.

Course Prerequisites

IST 110

Examination Policy

Two midterm exams; one final exam.

Grading Policy

Three (3) homework assignments


Five (5) hands-on lab assignments


Group research assignments


Two (2) Midterm exams


Final Exam15%
Class Attendance and participation10%


Late submission policy:

Submissions after the deadline but less than 24 hours late are accepted but penalized 10%, and submissions more than 24 hours but less than 48 hours late are penalized 30%. No submissions are accepted more than 48 hours late.

Note: A computer system failure does NOT constitute a valid excuse. It represents poor planning on your part.

Final grading:




This table indicates minimum guaranteed grades. Under certain limited circumstances (e.g., an unreasonably hard exam), we may select more generous ranges or scale the scores to adjust.

Attendance Policy

Attending class is required. If you cannot come, please let the instructor or TA know beforehand. Your class participation will count 10% of your final course grade.

Academic Integrity

Individual assignments must be completed independently. Students are strongly encouraged to form study groups and to learn from peer students. However, discussion on homework questions in study group should be limited to general approaches to solutions. Specific answers should never be discussed. Penn State's policy regarding Academic Integrity must be followed.

According to the Penn State Principles and University Code of Conduct: Academic integrity is a basic guiding principle for all academic activity at Penn State University, allowing the pursuit of scholarly activity in an open, honest, and responsible manner. In according with the University’s Code of Conduct, you must not engage in or tolerate academic dishonesty. This includes, but is not limited to cheating, plagiarism, fabrication of information or citations, facilitating acts of academic dishonesty by others, unauthorized possession of examinations, submitting work of another person, or work previously used without informing the instructor, or tampering with the academic work of other students. Any violation of academic integrity will be investigated, and where warranted, punitive action will be taken. For every incident when a penalty of any kind is assessed, a report must be filed.

*Plagiarism (Cheating): Talking over your ideas and getting comments on your writing from friends are NOT examples of plagiarism. Taking someone else's words (published or not) and calling them your own IS plagiarism. Plagiarism has dire consequences, including flunking the paper in question, flunking the course, and university disciplinary action, depending on the circumstances of the offense. The simplest way to avoid plagiarism is to document the sources of your information carefully.

Disability Access Statement

Americans with Disabilities Act: The School of Information Sciences and Technology welcomes persons with disabilities to all of its classes, programs, and events. If you need accommodations, or have questions about access to buildings where IST activities are held, please contact us in advance of your participation or visit. If you need assistance during a class, program, or event, please contact the member of our staff or faculty in charge. Access to IST courses should be arranged by contacting the Office of Human Resources, 332 IST Building: (814) 865-8949.

Students with Disabilities: It is Penn State’s policy to not discriminate against qualified students with documented disabilities in its educational programs. (You may refer to the Nondiscrimination Policy in the Student Guide to University Policies and Rules.) If you have a disability-related need for reasonable academic adjustments in this course, contact the Office for Disability Services (ODS) at 814-863-1807 (V/TTY). For further information regarding ODS, please visit the Office for Disability Services Web site at

In order to receive consideration for course accommodations, you must contact ODS and provide documentation (see documentation guidelines at If the documentation supports the need for academic adjustments, ODS will provide a letter identifying appropriate academic adjustments. Please share this letter and discuss the adjustments with your instructor as early in the course as possible. You must contact ODS and request academic adjustment letters at the beginning of each semester.

Statement on Nondiscrimination & Harassment (Policy AD42)

The Pennsylvania State University is committed to the policy that all persons shall have equal access to programs, facilities, admission and employment without regard to personal characteristics not related to ability, performance, or qualifications as determined by University policy or by state or federal authorities. It is the policy of the University to maintain an academic and work environment free of discrimination, including harassment. The Pennsylvania State University prohibits discrimination and harassment against any person because of age, ancestry, color, disability or handicap, national origin, race, religious creed, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or veteran status. Discrimination or harassment against faculty, staff or students will not be tolerated at The Pennsylvania State University. You may direct inquiries to the Office of Multicultural Affairs, 332 Information Sciences and Technology Building, University Park, PA 16802; Tel 814-865-0077 or to the Office of Affirmative Action, 328 Boucke Building, University Park, PA 16802-5901; Tel 814-865-4700/V, 814-863-1150/TTY. For reference to the full policy (Policy AD42: Statement on Nondiscrimination and Harassment):

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