HOW TO TEACH E-BUSINESS, AN INSIGHT INTO THE PRACTICE OF THE FH JOANNEUM IN AUSTRIA
The interface between IT law and management gets more and more important. The FH JOANNEUM recognized this at an quite early stage and offers for some time now a master degree programme called IT Law and Management. This programme focuses particularly on the new challenges posed by the rapid development of information and communication technologies at the interface of IT, law and management.
E-business is one of the subjects in this master and it is spread accross the different themes accordingly. This means that the subject e-business turns up as a technical subject, as a management issue and as a legal issue. However, all these different topics are combined by working on one virtual enterprise through the whole study and by that securing that there is only that amount of theorical input that is absolutely necessary to work in practice.
The managerial part of e-business such as analysing why companies get into digital business and which processes are involved. As well as key trends and drivers, you will also study popular e-business sectors and their business models, including customer relationship management, enterprise resource planning, supply chain management, e-procurement and business intelligence management. At the technical part of e-business, areas closely related to e-business, such as enterprise application integration, electronic data interchange and security are introduced. The students have to work out their own business plans and business models and create a prototype of their business. This can be either an app, an innovative web-shop or any other type of e-business with a strong technical share.
The legal part of e-business focuses on the many different legal aspects the different e-business models involve. For their virtual firm the starting point is very often a contract, so the courses start with some basic input on general civil law and continues with more detailed knowledge on contract law with a particular focus on consumers’ rights. Since e-business is by its nature international, aspects of international law are inevitable. Because of their own experience with e-business students are usually really interested in those international legal aspects. With regard to the sources of the legal obligations for e-businesses the most important legal texts are - or at least have their origins in - directives and regulations of the EU. That means, that it is essential for students being able to read these – often long and formal - legal texts. Case law from the European Court of Justice as well as of national courts give a better picture of the problems and disputes that take place when doing e-business. Students learn about different means of dispute settlement, either lawsuits or Alternative Dispute Resolution possibilities available also online (ODR – Online Dispute Resolution) or particularly for online business. In another subject in the IRM programme, namely Mediation and Management of Conflicts, they learn how to negotiate and how to deal with conflicts be it in the real or in the virtual world without or before turning to a court.
During their studies students have to write contracts, information texts that have to be on company websites and papers, negotiate contracts and change of contracts with each other and lear how to settle a dispute.
The combination of all those things enables them to deal with e-business in the real world, be it as an employee in a company or as a self-employed person.