e-Commerce (ECOM) 420

Project in e-Commerce (Revision 1)


Delivery Mode: Individualized study online

Credits: 3

Area of Study: Applied Studies
(Business and Administrative Studies)

Prerequisite: Permission of the professor. Complete all courses in Bachelor of Commerce (e-Commerce major)

Centre: Faculty of Business

ECOM 420 is not available for challenge.

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ECOM 420 is an independent study course, and serves as the capstone course in the Bachelor of Commerce, e-Commerce Major. You will apply your understanding of strategies, tactics, applications, models, and related issues in e-commerce. Possible projects include planning the development of retail e-commerce stores, business-to-business services, and information or enterprise portals. Alternatively, you may undertake an individual research project to provide insight into specific issues related to e-commerce, and contribute to existing knowledge in the field. The objective of this course is to provide you an opportunity to plan and develop, as you integrate and apply the knowledge and skills acquired in previous e-commerce courses. ECOM 420 stresses the real-world practice of e-commerce.

No tutorial arrangements are automatically made for you. You are required to negotiate support arrangements with faculty on an as-needed basis. Notice the emphasis placed on your responsibilities. An independent study course requires you to take responsibility for designing your own learning or to ensure that your own learning objectives are met. You will also notice the emphasis on collaboration between you and the faculty.

Steps You Need to Take

The course coordinator for ECOM 420 is Houda Trabelsi (houdat@athabascau.ca). Her task is to receive an initial proposal of approximately two pages and to represent the interests of the Faculty of Business. Your first step, then, is to send your proposal to Ms. Trabelsi.

Once Ms. Trabelsi is satisfied that your basic proposal has merit and the adequate faculty resources are available to support your study, you will be registered in the course and matched with an appropriate faculty member. The following are some reasons for rejecting an independent study proposal.

  • No one is available to supervise your study.
  • Your proposal is not deemed to be equivalent to a 400-level study.
  • Your proposal is inadequate in terms of scope, depth, or focus.
  • Your assignment structure does not assess knowledge and skills.

If you are rejected, you may appeal this decision to the Director, Faculty of Business.


Your first assignment (worth 25% of the available marks) is to outline in detail your study plan. This plan needs to cover the following topics.

  • Describe the aim and motivation of your study
  • Summarize the specific objectives of your study
  • Describe your research topic
  • Outline your work plan and timeline
  • Describe the support required from the faculty member
  • Describe the support required from the University Library
  • Outline other sources of support for your study program

This is a very important assignment. It sets out your learning agenda and builds a contract for learning between you and the supervising professor.

Once you have completed this assignment and discussed it with the faculty member, you may continue with your studies in accordance with the agenda and the contract to which you you have agreed.


Normally there will be two assignments.

Assignment 1 (25%)
In this preliminary outline, you will prepare a complete independent study proposal, containing a succinct description of the motivation, objectives, research topic, work plan, supports, and assessments (see above).

Assignment Two (75%)
This will be a major research project set and agreed upon between you and the professor.

This assessment structure can be varied by the professor with the agreement of the course coordinator and the student.

There are no formal examinations for this course. You complete the course by submitting all the agreed assignments and obtaining an overall grade of “C-” (60 percent) or higher.

To learn more about assignments and examinations, please refer to Athabasca University's online Calendar.

Course Materials

There are no formal course materials for this course. You, the student, are responsible for negotiating with the supervising faculty member, a program of study valued at three credits.

Course materials are your responsibility, though you have full access to the University Library.

Athabasca University reserves the right to amend course outlines occasionally and without notice. Courses offered by other delivery methods may vary from their individualized-study counterparts.

Opened in Revision 1, October 17, 2006.

Updated May 10 2016 by Student & Academic Services