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Module [Module Number] Schwerpunktmodul Information Systems I [1277SInSy1]
Regular Cycle One-time course offering in the summer term 2020
Teaching Form Seminar
Examination Form Portfolio
Teaching Language English
Instructor Prof. Dr. Jan Recker
KLIPS Summer Term 2020 (Second Registration Phase)
Syllabus Download



Firms find themselves at the crossroads between digital innovation, transformation, and entrepreneurship. New and emergent digital technologies, such as artificial intelligence, IoT, blockchain, or microprocessors, offer new opportunities for the creation of new infrastructures, products, processes, business models and organizational forms, and reshape traditional ways of organizing and working. At the same time, digital technologies are also increasingly more affordable and accessible to everyone, embedding themselves into society and altering the environments of firms. This fusion of digital technology within firms’ environments produces ongoing changes in customer expectations, the competitive landscapes, and regulation. Windows of opportunities are created for new forms and modes of entrepreneurship involving the creation of new ventures and the use of new ways of working. At the same time, the lowering of entry barriers and proliferation of new digital ventures, in some cases involving new platform business logics that have the potential to disrupt existing industries, puts large established firms under significant competitive pressure to transform their legacy systems and reshape their business strategies and processes. It is no longer only startups who innovate digitally and are leveraging the new opportunities provided by digital technologies, new ways of working, and the associated market changes. Large and small incumbents across a great diversity of different industries and geographies are embracing digital innovation activities, and as they scale them, they transform their entire organization. Within and across organizations, digital technologies give rise to new ways of collaboration, leveraging resources, development, and deployment over open standards and shared technologies. Firms are moving from stand-alone organizations to open, collaborative eco-systems in which multi-firms’ networks collaboratively innovate with partners, suppliers, customers, and even competitors.

This course will provide information systems students who possess an aptitude for research to become acquainted with the latest studies, theories and empirical insights about the phenomena and issues surrounding digital innovation, transformation and entrepreneurship. The course provides students with a broad-based exposure to research that occurs in the Cologne Institute for Information Systems but also globally, specifically research around digital technologies, innovation, transformation, and entrepreneurship- Taken together, this course will give you a broad exposure of the kind of research that is possible to conduct in a Master and Ph.D. program.

Course Design

*** UPDATE MARCH 18, 2020 ***

Because of the COVID-19 pandemic and the changes to teaching and learning implicated, we updated the design and conduct of this coure. The entire course will be held online, using digital formats for teaching and learning. This allows maximum flexibility in learning the contents and preparing your deliverables at your own leisure and pace.

The overall design of this course consists of a number of different elements:

  • Inclusion of lectures and interviews with faculty inside and outside the institute, so that students can learn about digital innovation, transformation and entrepreneurship from the world's leading scholars in these areas.
  • A relatively large reading list, to ensure that students have the opportunity to develop a broad perspective on the topic areas.
  • No exams to worry about, but plenty of pressure to keep up with the readings; the need to be well prepared for the class discussions and presentations.
  • Three kinds of deliverables required from the students (see assessment below).

Learning Objectives

Students …
  • analyze current issues in specific topic areas of information systems.
  • describe and apply fundamental Information system theories.
  • acquaint themselves with the scholarship of world class research faculty in the areas of digital innovation, transformation, and entrepreneurship.
  • learn some of the leading issues, theories and methodologies that characterize research in in the areas of digital innovation, transformation, and entrepreneurship.
  • develop new ways of thinking, especially in terms of how they approach, critique and construct research papers.

Structure and Timeline

The entire course will be held online, using digital formats for teaching and learning. The course is structured into four topic areas:

  1. Digital technologies
  2. Digital innovation
  3. Digital transformation
  4. Digital entrepreneurship

In each topic area we will cover three to four aspects of the topic, each portrayed through a different study or paper.

Each topic area will include readings, a digital presentation, lecture or interview by a renowned faculty speaking on one of the aspects, plus student video presentations on selected papers covering other aspects. Each topic area will be summatively assessed through a short quiz.

As in a regular course format, we devote roughly one full day of learning hours (about 8h) for each topic area. But because the content presentations (in whatever format) will be available online, you are free to study each topic areas as you see fit. You can use the time allotted on the day to study the materials, or study at your own pace and leisure.

On each of the four days we will have a joint online meeting for two hours (13:00-15:00) using a video conferencing solution (Adobe Connect), where we can discuss questions and complete the mini-quizzes for each topic areas.

The syllabus provides more details on topics and papers assigned to each day.


Portfolio (Kombinierte Prüfung: RE, HA): Grading in this course is on three main components:

  1. One Digital Presentation (30%)

    You need to prepare a digital presentation and critique about an article that is assigned to you. You are free to present the paper in any way you see fit, as long as your message will be delivered effectively to the audience. The presentation format must be digital – you will not present the paper in person. Suitable formats could be an online presentation, a video, a podcast, an interview, or a webpage. Other formats are possible as well. Be creative in communicating the article’s message and your critical appraisal of it.

    Generally, you will need to show mastery of the paper that goes beyond a pure summary, a critical appraisal will be expected! What is the impact this paper has had? Why do you think it was published? Are there things (e.g. approach, analysis, and discussion) that you would have done differently? What’s missing in the paper? Which research would you do next based on this paper (i.e. show your future work ideas; potentially also applied to your own research)?

    To grade the deliverable, a grading assessment form will be used. It will be made available on ILIAS.
  2. Topic Area Mini-Quizzes (20%):

    In each of the topic areas, the lecturer will prepare a short mini-quiz to query students’ knowledge of the required readings. During the online meeting time on each relevant date, you will need to complete the quiz and submit it electronically to the lecturer. There are four quizzes in total with five questions each. Each question is worth 1 point (i.e., 4 quizzes with 5 questions each = 20 points in total). The quizzes are not difficult or deep, they are merely used to ensure students study all assigned readings.

  3. One Written Research Essay (50%):

    Everyone has to prepare and hand-in a concise seminar paper after the course has finished. I will circulate a detailed list of potential topics in the form of research questions to choose from after we have gone through all topic areas. In the paper I expect you to (1) give a concise introduction into the topic and state why it is relevant, (2) describe the state-of-the-literature in this field, (3) develop a sound but concise line of arguments to answer your research question and (4) give an outlook of potential further research to be done in your area. As I want you to learn how to structure your thoughts and be as concise as possible, your essay should be to 10 pages (single-line spacing, 11pt font size, excl. references and appendices). This will challenge you to really think through what you want to communicate. The submission will be due at the end of the semester (17 July), to give you sufficient time to develop the paper.

    To grade the deliverable, a grading assessment form will be used. It will be made available on ILIAS.

Required Readings

All readings in this course are compulsory. They will be made available via ILIAS prior to the start of the course. You can find a list of the required readings in the syllabus.

Readings assigned under Video Lecture will be provided in digital paper format (PDF) and in a digital format (video or podcast).

Readings assigned under student presentations will be provided in digital paper format (PDF). Assigned students will also prepare a digital format (video, presentation, podcast, webpage or similar).

For all readings, it will be required that all participating students study both formats. For each of the key dates for each topic areas, it is expected that all students have studied all papers. On these key dates, students’ knowledge of the papers will be assessed through a mini quiz, which we will complete during the online meeting scheduled on the days.