U of A Courses

The Sam M. Walton College of Business Department of Information Systems at the University of Arkansas established the Blockchain Center of Excellence to discover and disseminate innovative uses of the emerging technology and to teach students its importance to the future of business and digital security.

Blockchain Technology Courses

ISYS 4173 - Blockchain Fundamentals
Course Description:
This course provides the fundamental concepts underpinning blockchain technologies. This course focuses on blockchain applications for business. Students will learn about the overall blockchain landscape—the investments, the size of markets, major players and the global reach—as well as the potential business value of blockchain applications and the challenges that must be overcome to achieve that value. Students will learn enough about the underlying technologies to be well-prepared to develop blockchain applications in future courses.

Prerequisites: (WCOB 2023 or ISYS 2103) and (ACCT 2013 with a grade of C or better) or CSCE 2004 each with a grade of C or better.

Goals of Course:

  • Understand the history of blockchains (BC)
  • Understand the global BC landscape—size of market; major consortia; major players; major consultants; investors; geographies
  • Understand the different components of a BC application: Consensus protocols, distributed ledgers, digital assets, smart contracts, cryptography (understand pros and cons of choices for each component)
  • Understand the strengths and weakness of different types of blockchains—permissioned vs. permissionless; public vs. private
  • Identify the potential business value of BCs in general
  • Understand the criteria for ideal use cases (BCs vs. traditional distributed databases)
  • Business understanding of various protocols & platforms (e.g., Hyperledger, Quorum, Ethereum, Bitcoin)
  • Identify major technical challenges and emerging solutions
  • Identify major business challenges and emerging solutions
ISYS 4453 - Blockchain and Enterprise Systems
The focus of this course is to expose students to working with mainframe computer systems, large-scale data, and blockchain software & technologies. This course provides the opportunity for students to gain valuable insight into mainframe coding concepts, SQL, and data in a mainframe operating environment.

Pre- or Corequisite: ISYS 4173

ISYS 4463 - Blockchain Development
Accurately capturing and storing business transactions is an important processing function in many businesses. This course provides students with the necessary understanding and skills to develop blockchain and other large-scale data applications in a mainframe environment with high volume.

Prerequisite: ISYS 4453 with a grade of “C” or better

ISYS 5173 - Blockchain Fundamentals
Course Description:
This course provides the fundamental concepts underpinning blockchain technologies. This course focuses on blockchain applications for business. Students will learn about the overall blockchain landscape—the investments, the size of markets, major players and the global reach—as well as the potential business value of blockchain applications and the challenges that must be overcome to achieve that value. Students will learn enough about the underlying technologies to be well-prepared to develop blockchain applications in future courses.

Goals of Course:

  • Understand the history of blockchains (BC)
  • Understand the global BC landscape—size of market; major consortia; major players; major consultants; investors; geographies
  • Understand the different components of a BC application: Consensus protocols, distributed ledgers, digital assets, smart contracts, cryptography (understand pros and cons of choices for each component)
  • Understand the strengths and weakness of different types of blockchains—permissioned vs. permissionless; public vs. private
  • Identify the potential business value of BCs in general
  • Understand the criteria for ideal use cases (BCs vs. traditional distributed databases)
  • Business understanding of various protocols & platforms (e.g., Hyperledger, Quorum, Ethereum, Bitcoin)
  • Identify major technical challenges and emerging solutions
  • Identify major business challenges and emerging solutions
ISYS 5133 - Blockchain and E Business Development
This course is designed for you to learn about the basic architecture of both traditional enterprise data management and services as well as the emergence of distributed data architectures such as blockchain data structures and distributed applications. This course will focus on setting the foundation for your understanding of enterprise-level systems, the various stack of technologies needed for larger enterprise-level applications, and the managerial decisions needed when determining the business value and strategy for initiating proof-of-concepts, especially in the context of blockchain technologies. This course will focus on exploring and developing enterprise-level proof-of-concepts to be used for data integration, reporting, transactions, hosting, and web services to allow integration of various data sources into a larger, organizational IT architecture.

Throughout the course students will gain hands-on experience working with enterprise levels systems including IBM’s z14 mainframe, various Linux distributions, Hyperledger Fabric blockchain, and various database management systems (e.g., SQL Server, MySQL). Lectures, videos, and practical exercises will be provided to guide students through the development of applications integrating various data sources, the development and management of blockchain technologies, and the system architectures and business processes needed to service these proof-of-concepts.

Following initiatives at the University of Arkansas, this course will provide a deeper look and development of blockchain technologies. Blockchain technologies are the distributed ledger technology that serves as the foundational architecture underlying cryptocurrencies (e.g. Bitcoin, Ether, LiteCoin, etc.) as well as distributed applications and databases. While blockchain technologies are seeing accelerated adoption and interest in the current market, the underlying technology and use-cases that provide value to organizations have come to the forefront of industry questions. This course will provide a managerial view focusing on helping organizations determine the scenarios under which blockchain technologies can (and should) fit into the organizational IT architecture to provide increased benefits.

ISYS 5453 - Blockchain and Enterprise Data
The focus of this course is to expose students to working with distributed and service oriented architectures for different applications as well as the IT infrastructure needed. The course provides the opportunity for students to gain valuable insight into blockchain as a distributed system and cloud architecture platforms with the goal of developing enterprise applications.

Prerequisite: ISYS 5133

ISYS 4243 / FINN 410V - Introduction to Cryptocurrency

This course introduces students to the continuously evolving topic of cryptocurrency as a blockchain-based application. The course will focus on a brief history of money, Bitcoin and the origin of cryptocurrency, blockchain-based currency system fundamentals (cryptography and consensus algorithms), real-world application with software clients and wallets, as well as assessing the current regulatory environment, financial applications and exchanges. Students will leave with an understanding of what constitutes as money and how this phenomenon is transpiring within an economic, legal and financial context. No previous knowledge of Cryptocurrencies or Blockchain technology is required. Students will be well prepared to learn more about specific financial industry applications, make judgements on viability of certain crypto projects and speak to challenges facing the future of cryptocurrency.

Prerequisite: Junior or Senior Level Course

Department of Information Systems Programs of Study

Undergraduate Blockchain Programs

All programs subject to change under Department of Higher Education approval.

Bachelor's Degree in Information Systems

The Information Systems major is for people who want to solve problems businesses face and create new opportunities by using the latest computer technology.

Students choose from one of three concentrations including Blockchain Enterprise Systems.

Blockchain Enterprise Systems Minor

Blockchains are currently used by many companies for applications ranging from strategic management of data to day operations to customer insights to retail analytics to developing and maintaining a competitive edge.

Additional Minors for Business Students

The Department of Information Systems also offers a Business Analytics Minor or an Information Systems Minor for Walton College students desiring more knowledge of information systems and analytics.

 

Graduate Blockchain Programs

All programs subject to change under Department of Higher Education approval.

Master of Information Systems

The full-time MIS program can be completed in one year. The part-time program, designed for working professionals, can be completed in less than two years.

Students can choose to pursue a concentration in Blockchain Enterprise Systems, among others.

Information Systems Graduate Certificates

Students can select a Blockchain Enterprise Systems Concentration within the Enterprise Systems Graduate Certificate. Students will have exposure to fundamental principles of blockchain, enterprise information systems, and techniques for management and development of blockchain projects.

Information Systems Ph.D. Program

Students selected for Walton College Ph.D. programs are supported with strong financial, physical and intellectual resources in an unparalleled collegial atmosphere.

Take courses in Blockchain and collaborate with IS faculty on Blockchain research.

I am excited to join the Information Systems Department as Director of the Blockchain Center of Excellence. The faculty, staff, administrators, and industry advisors have built something extremely relevant for our students, for Arkansas, and beyond. I’ve been studying blockchains since the summer of 2016. Based on interviews in over 30 organizations, two surveys, and participant observation in a blockchain consortium, I am convinced that blockchain technologies could generate trillions of dollars of value, but there are technical and managerial challenges that need to be addressed first. I hope that the Center of Excellence helps our students and industry partners address these issues to deliver real business and social value. Mary C. Lacity

Director, Blockchain Center of Excellence and Walton Professor of Information Systems, Sam M. Walton College of Business